Huge thanks to Lixie and Nic for their impeccable organisation. It was wonderful to meet so many new people and put names to Ravatars. I just wish there had been more time as I felt like there were some people I hardly got the chance to catch up with at all - next time!
First of all I did want to show you one of the highlights of my shopping. As a relatively new spinner I was saving most of my budget for our visit to Wingham Wools on the Sunday. I had in mind that I wanted some interesting blends and some coloured roving for dying and was leaving one shed sideways due to the size of my shopping bag when Wye Sue asked if I'd seen the batts. Now I have never spun from a batt before but chose myself 460g of mostly pink and grey merino with some silk slubs which looked beautiful. I was advised to simply tear off strips from the batt and spin them end on end.
The moment I got home on Monday did I unpack and get the first load of washing on? Not on your life! I got the wheel out to have a go with my batt and was absolutely captured. It is so much fun and virtually spins itself if you don't mind a lively lumpy, bumpy characterful yarn with random flashes of colour. Thanks for the recommendation, Sue!
This is my first 100g of singles, spun in the matter of a couple of hours. I can't wait to see what the yarn turns out like - I am aiming for an approximately aran weight and am thinking of turning it into a little vest maybe.
One of the other things that surprised me was, despite this being a whole weekend devoted to knitting and spinning, how little of either I managed to get done while I was away. My main achievement was the progress I made on my diagonal lace socks. I started these so that I could teach Judy's Magic Cast on at my little workshop on Friday which I think went quite well. Everyone made a very good job of the technique anyway.
I have to say that I am very impressed with the new skills that I have learned in making this sock and if not a complete convert, I can see at least an equal number of toe up to top down socks in my life from now on. The reverse flap and gusset heel works beautifully and I have also finally mastered the sewn bind off so I no longer have to worry about how to finish a toe up sock without the cast off being too tight. Thankfully the pattern in these is a simple one so I can concentrate on getting all the new techniques under my belt - next time perhaps something a little more complex...
Finally, on our way home, to take the edge off the return to reality, Laura and I visited Saltaire, a woollen mill and model workers' village from the 1850s which is now an Arts and Shopping centre.It's an amazing place with the old mill providing the most enormous space for galleries and restaurants, book and houseware shops as well as an historical exhibition charting the history of the establishment of the village. I can thoroughly recommend a visit.