Thursday, 13 March 2008

Jane's got a brand new bag

Today I will attempt the second part of my report on the Skipnorth weekend. What strikes me is is how much we managed to do in a relatively short period of time. I came back richer in experience, knowledge, friendships ...and booty.

However, I know that what you really want to know is... what's in that big bag?

Now I think that I was quite restrained this year but got off to a very good start on Friday night without going anywhere near a shop thanks to Natalie.

From left to right we have, merino bamboo yarn for me to try and think about the sort of pattern it might lend itself to and yellow sock yarn, just because I love yellow. The next two skeins are this month's sock club yarns. Interestingly, the solid yarn is dyed in a dilute mixture of all the other colours which I think is very clever, and thrifty! Finally, a skein of pink merino and one of the much coveted Mysteron merino for another pair of Cranford Mitts.

Next on the programme was a visit to the Skep which yielded this clutch of fabrics. of course I now have all kinds of plans for sock bags and needle rolls...

Then a new stop, discovered by Alex last year, Bonds Haberdashery. I don't think I have ever seen a place quite like it - an old fashioned haberdashery with everything from shirring elastic to replacement bra straps and beyond spread over three rambling floors, complete with outside toilet according to a member of staff! But what a complete treasure box it was.


This amazing collection of ribbons and braids were absurdly cheap and of beautiful quality. I just want to play with them.

The next stop on the programme was the Knitting and Crochet Guild where we had a very warm welcome and the opportunity to examine a small part of their collection of historic knitted and crocheted articles. Wearing white gloves we got to handle work of such exquisite detail that reminded me how much I have yet to learn and how important it is to be aware of the history of our craft.

The KCG isn't all about history.There are also shopping opportunities! First, their famous 1p per gram yarn mountain which is a great lucky dip of yarn donated to the guild and sold to raise much needed funds for them to continue their work.


I managed to unearth some lace weight and sock weight yarn for the princely sum of £1.08.

So enthused was I with the beautiful fine knitting that I had seen I invested in a small stock of laceweight yarn. I have knitted lace in heavier yarns before but this will be a new departure. I may require the application of a cold compress...

On Saturday night I was in my element. My grateful thanks to Chris for helping me get to grips with my top whorl drop spindle, to Isabella for showing me how to blend fibres with hand carders and to Natalie for allowing me to play with her beautiful Majacraft Suzie Pro spinning wheel. I can't get over how smooth and sensitive it is. Actually, I'm not sure whether to be grateful to Natalie or not as I feel a large pain in my purse coming very soon!

After all that spinning, a visit to Wingham Wool Work on Sunday morning was very timely.

Last year I went into their rainbow merino shed and just feasted my eyes on all the huge bolts of merino roving in a vast number of colours. This year I tore handfuls of colour into bags for my own experiments in colour combining, an earthy mix of oranges and yellows and a vibrant set of bluey greens. I also bought a few small bags of silk fibre for blending.

Winghams also have a fine selection of different fibres so I chose some Falkland and Corridale, just to build my spinning experience.

Alongside all these shiny, pretty things there need to be sensible pieces of equipment. Here we have a tensioned lazy Kate, a flexible ruler, needle gauge and a Wraps per inch tool. There is a great pleasure in having the right tool for the job.

Looking back over all these things I am having second thoughts about whether I shopped modestly. I did stay within my budget and do have plans for everything though.

I haven't even shown you the books yet.

Let's get back to the knitting. The Moroccan Carpet socks are finished. They were great fun to make and I'm very pleased with how they have turned out.

Mind you, this isn't the first time I have used this pattern. Last year I used the same stitch pattern in the green and pink socks here.

I am fascinated with how the same stitch can look so different depending on the choice of yarn.The high contrast in the green and pink socks gives distinctive stripes whereas the Moroccan Carpet socks have a much more blended look to the fabric as the two yarns have shades in common.

After this mammoth post I really need to dash off now.My sock system is in a state of some disarray as now I only have simple socks on the needles -time to cast on something more interesting!

10 comments:

Sussex Yorkie said...

All I can say is Wow. I was contemplating Skipnorth but it may be too dangerous for me!

LittleBerry said...

Loved reading about your shoping experience and I like your haul... It's years since I went to Bonds and I was only wondering a few weeks ago if it was still going :o) it's truly an amazing place...

Your socks look very nice and are almost tempting me to do a non-plain sock **deep breath & palpitaions**

Thanks you for your comments on my lace... my advice is this... it's not the stitches people find difficult it's holding the yarn or lack of it so start with something like the Fiddlesticks (or a yarn approx 8m per gram) and work finer and even just put a little bit on the needles and do a st-st swatch; But I am quite sure, you will have very few problems with patterns or stitches...

Saffron said...

OOoo... Look at all that fibery goodness! :) I was scrollind down through that yarn wondering... 'where's the spinning fiber' ;) You made some lovely selections! I'm sure you'll have fun with all of it!! :)

Jenny said...

Jane, you sure know how to have fun!!! The SkipNorth trip sounds like a blast.

Ali said...

Such a haul! I am so jealous!

Look at all that fibre! *drool*

Mrs J said...

Awesome! What a haul- sounds like you had a great time!

Rosie said...

the socks look fabulous, oh, and all that yarn and fibre, all that potential....

Mandella said...

I've really enjoyed reading about your exploits at Skipnorth and all those fibres from Wingham Wool Works are making me quite faint. They're coming to my guild in September and I hope to be a good enough spinner to take real advantage.

picperfic said...

my goodness...what a lovely time you have had, this trip sounds like a little bit of heaven, I will learn to spin, I just know it! Are you saying that my sock pattern is simple? *wink*

Knitman said...

The Moroccan socks are terrific.