Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Has anyone seen Alice?

I'm afraid I'm by no means the first blogger out of the blocks with my report on the Iknit two day knitting extravaganza so I feel liberated from the need to write a blow by blow account and can ramble at my ease through some of the impressions of the days.

I was there literally, from when the doors opened and the knitters started to gather and when we were finally asked politely to vacate the premises thanks to the timings of classes and the numbers of people I found to catch up and chat with. Every year Iknit feels more and more like a great big party of all the people I know from the various corners of the knitting universe that I inhabit.

As in previous years my dear friend Natalie came down to stay with me - not as her yarn dying alter ego The Yarn Yard but as herself so that she could have as much fun as me with everyone who wants to chat with her and to enjoy recharging knitting batteries with courses and talks from some of the best in the business.

So- here we all are then on Friday morning, eagerly entering the Horticultural Halls.

As usual, Gerard and the Iknit team had made sure that there was plenty of space for the charity projects that knitters are involved in. As regular readers may know, I have been working with the P/Hop campaign raising money for Medecins Sans Frontiers and they were able to have a stall in the main hall. Knitters up and down the country donate books and yarn and make shawls and blankets to raffle, patterns and skills were P/hopped and field staff were there to talk about the work the money funds.

In this photograph, I am struck by the juxtaposition of the warm, cosy knitted goods with and the image of the armed man. Sobering.

The good news is that we raised over £800 from generous knitters. Thank you to everyone who donated.

In other news, one of the lovely things about events like this is to be inspired by the incredible work of other knitters. It was wonderful to see Roo's beautiful beaded wedding shawl in person - here it is meeting another Aolian sibling made by Gill from the Woolly Workshop. I know this photo is slightly blurred but that Gill just doesn't stand still and its such a happy scene.

One of the best things about this event were the wonderful knitting teachers who we had the opportunity to learn from. On Friday I took a lace class with Annie Modesitt. Yes, THE Annie Modesitt! She filled the room with her personality even though she must have been exhausted and gave a class which was informative, idiosyncratic, entertaining and memorable. Here is my desk, complete with swatch and copious notes. I am determined to improve my lace knitting this winter and maybe I'll be pirouetting my work at the next Iknit Weekender!

On Saturday, I took a sock knitting class with Marjan Hamminck, alias Yarnissima. Her style could not be more different to Annie's with all of us busily working away on our mini sock projects and Marjan moving quietly between us, gently correcting mistakes and answering queries.

Here is my sock knitting work.I am now proficient in right slanting and left slanting lifted increases which I will certainly add to my repertoire.

At the end of the class as I was packing up my things I mentioned that I would have to hurry if I was to make my Alice Starmore colour work class, the highlight of the weekend. I leave you to imagine how I felt when my neighbour pointed out that according to my list, I should have attended that class the day before.
Idiot, idiot, idiot.


Pom Pom said...

WOW! Look at all those knitters having a ball!

tea and cake said...

I felt sick as I read your last lines about the Alice Starmore workshop, poor you!
iKnit looked amazing and I must try and get details and GO THERE next time!

Lol said...

Wasn't it great! I almost had a similar Alice Starmore experience - I had mistimed my trains and arrived half an hour late for what should have been the 12pm session on Friday. I asked a lady for directions to the workshop, which she gave luckily for me it hadn't started and then I found out that the lady who gave directions was Alice herself!

What a wonderful person she is. At one point she passed around her current knitting project - the look on everyone's face! It was like King Arthur tossing Excalibur onto the round table and saying, "go on lads, have a swing of that!"

I now proudly say (usually to people who have no concept of whatit means) that I was taught how to do two colour knitting with a strand in each hand by Alice Starmore.

A wonderful wonderful day.

littlelixie said...

Oh no! Can sympathise since my back going twang again meant me missing my alice starmore and debbie new classes on the saturday. so sickening!

Lily said...

Oh No!! I didn't realise you missed one of your classes. Darn, I can't begin to imagine how gutted you must have felt! GAH!!

Linda said...

It looks such fun!

Suse-the-slow-knitta said...

sorry you missed Alice Starmore's class, but I know what you mean about Annie Modesitt- she is wonderful, what a character!

Rani said...

That looks like so much fun! Too bad about the missed class, but look at what you enjoyed instead. And a teeny-tiny sock to boot.

Rosie said...

Oh, Jane, can't believe you missed the class with Alice Starmore. Maybe she could be tempted back next year?