Friday, 9 May 2008

The big yarn adventure part 1 - Knitters go wild in Frederick

Is it really Friday already? I think I've been wandering around in an over tired, over stimulated wool fume induced daze ever since I got back. But it was worth it!

Where to begin...

The beginning for me would be 4.30am on Friday morning, which as far as I am concerned is the Middle of the Night when the taxi called to take me to Heathrow to catch the early plane to Washington. I decided that in my bleary state the most sensible plane knitting would be non challenging. I have been in need of new wash cloths for some time but always found the prospect a little dull. When they are the only project that you have in your hand luggage you find that you have finished two, run out of yarn and are twiddling your thumbs for the final 3 hours of the flight. I know... running out of yarn - every knitter's nightmare...

I used the Aruacania cotton that I bought at Skipnorth which is another big plus for this project - using up the Skipnorth Stash before next year!

My friend Anne picked me up at the airport in our cantankerous hire car that we soon named Christine and we headed off to her parents house in Frederick, about a 45 minute drive from the festival site. Being the dedicated yarn hounds that we are we said our brief hello's and headed straight into town for lunch and a yarn crawl. The first shop we came across was something of a surprise as it had only been open for five weeks.

The Artisan's Cache was an absolute treasure trove with rooms and rooms spread over three floors of a lovely old house with all kinds of textile art as this flyer describes.

And just look what I got:First, some lovely old Tunisian crochet hooks, just in case I want to learn another skill but they were a bargain at 50c each. But the best was yet to come...

Antique sock blockers. One in a child's size with beautiful shaping for the calf and ventilation holes to help the sock dry more quickly and just look at the man's...

In this photo I have put it next to one of my average sized ladies' blockers just so that you can see how big it is. I wouldn't like to be the woman who had to knit the socks for him!

After this unexpected excitement we set out for the LYS, Eleganza Yarns. Just to give some perspective, Frederick is a small town, about the size of Newport, Isle of Wight where I was brought up, yet this yarn store has a larger stock than the best London yarn shop.

With the knowledge that we were about to spend two days at the biggest sheep and wool festival in the world I did my best to shop modestly.

There was a wonderful stock of patterns that I haven't seen in the UK before. So these designs by Beth Brown-Reinsel came home with me.

Next came some new Fiber Trends patterns, a sock which I think might make a good stashbuster spiral and a shrug plus a Cabin Fever jacket which I admired being knit by Tutley Mutley at Skipnorth.

Finally, a couple of very pretty shawl patterns.

Despite my resolution, I couldn't leave the store without a little yarn. I planned to seek out locally produced, yarn from small suppliers which I haven't seen elsewhere so this gorgeous naturally coloured alpaca had to come home with me. The farm is in Lovettesville, just down the road from Frederick and the yarn so soft and beautifully spun. It is fingering weight so the two skeins are enough for a small shawl.

Apart from the washcloths I decided to take two sock projects with me, my simple sock and the scroll lace. I decided not to take the other member of the sock family, Miss Mattie's Stashbuster Spirals with me as the three balls are a little difficult to manage on the road. Miss Mattie isn't speaking to me right now and refused to participate in a group photo with the other two due to her apparent lack of progress.

The first Apple Laine vanilla sock is moments from completion. My search for variety in photographic settings is an excuse to show you how well my red cabbages are growing.

I thought that the scroll lace would be a very time consuming project but the pattern flows along so naturally I have made much better progress than I thought I would. I can heartily recommend the pattern - it really does produce a very pretty fabric.

Well,that's all for now - next post will be about....

... the main event!


Queen of the froggers said...

That shop sounds amazing. Your socks look good!

LittleBerry said...

loved reading that post and you got some nice patterns, the lace ones look nice..... I'm looking forward to reading about the festival though

Nikki said...

What a nice prefestival haul!

Mia said...

I live in Frederick and hadn't seen this shop. Now I will have to go exploring to check it out.