Sunday, August 31, 2008

Forgot my Ravelry button at Creative Stitch and Craft...

This weekend saw the biannual Creative Stitch and Craft Show at Manchester Central which apparently was once called GMEX. Being new to the area and a craft addict, I thought I would toodle around for the day there while I waited for my final German guest (this month) to come back from his speaking engagement in Liverpool.

Manchester Central is a really impressive venue for shows: it was once one of three major train stations in Manchester. For me, there is just something about the massive expanse of the slanting roof, complete with cast iron, milky glass and a big fat clock at the apex. Then again, I am always taken by repurposed buildings. I wish we did more of that in America. Pictured here are some random skeins. I thought they were purdy.

I must say that I was slightly disappointed with Creative Stitch and Craft. It was heavy on the card making, scrapbooking and jewelry making, but left much to be desired in the way of fibre. Nonetheless, it was creatively inspiring and in the end, less tempting for the yarn junkie that I am. 

Yes, I managed to walk away having only bought a package of rubber point protectors for my sock DPNs. Can you believe it? I barely can. The point protectors were a need, not a want, since Bearski's Caribbean Socks were literally jabbing me in the hip through my purse. With my RSI, I don't need any other knitting related injuries. The stand I bought them was a really cool little shop called Web of Wool that specializes in self-patterning yarns. Cool concept, nice people, nifty yarns.

I was also really inspired by the booth featuring a Japanese embroidery group. There were some amazingly beautiful pieces on display and I was really dazzled by the kimono hanging behind the embroiderers. See for yourself:

Very nice, very nice. These works are so beautiful, I may just have been persuaded to pick up another needleart form.

I was also really happy to run into Serena, a campaigner at Oxfam who has organized a knitted petition: a blanket of individual squares, each representing a mother who has died due to lack of adequate health care. I chatted with her about what else she has planned for the blanket's presentation and stitched together a few bundles of squares. The organizers of the show, Trident, should be commended for their support of the campaign, allowing Oxfamers and their volunteer stitchers a contingent of free tickets and the space to do it. 

The last highlight of my day was the workshop I attended on a whim. An announcement came around 2:45 for "Knitting for the Home". I didn't know what it was, but though 'what the heck'. In a really small group of 3, we got a private lesson in knitted home accessory design from the fabulous and talented designer Jo Hoddinott. For a whole hour, I got to soak up design tips and learn to look at things the way a designer does. It was really interesting and Jo is a great teacher. If you read this Jo, thanks! I had a great time.

And really, that was my day out. Next Friday is I Knit London Day. To go or no to go. That is the question. And then there is Twisted Thread in Birmingham in two weeks. So many shows in such a short span of time. Yes, that was a squeal of delight you heard in the background.

Well, only a few more hours til with my article goes live. I will attach a link tomorrow. Knit well and knit often. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Entertaining Whilst Knitting, Article, Socks Rock

Entertaining Whilst Knitting

Yes, my absence has perhaps been noticed by you, my faithful readers, but I have been out adventuring and entertaining these past weeks. Any time I could have spent knitblogging I actually spent knitting, and that is what it is all about, no?

The month of August has brought non-stop creative adventures as well as non-stop entertaining (I am afterall the flexible freelance writer who is home all day and available to keep guests occupied). The first week of this month I spent in Glasgow with one of my closest girlfriends being a lady of leisure hot on the decorative and architectural trail of Charles Rennie and Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh as well as galavanting (meaning puddle jumping) about the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.

While in both the first and second Scottish cities, Lisa and I stopped by several LYSs, Marjory's (south Glasgow) and K1 (Glasgow and Edinburgh). If the Glasgow style were not enough to spark my further creative endeavours, than K1 did. I am now incubating a book idea thanks to these braches of a fantastic LYS concept, the yarn boutique.

With rows of wee buckets affixed to the walls, K1 quirkily and uniquely displays its unique wool selection. Scrummers. The Edinburgh shop is twice the size as its Glaswegian mother and boasts friendly sales assistance who also immediately invite you to pull up a chair and wip out your WIP. Unfortunately, there was a knitter down: Lisa had slammed her right index finger in a toilet stall door, so we left our projects at home. Too bad, too, because there were some homemade cookies....

Two days after my adventures up north, Matthias and I received Tine and Bernhard, my sister- and father-in-law for an extended weekend. I am thankful knitting soothes nerves. Now our best man, Erik, has come from Germany to spend his two-week vacation with us. And although we visiting a fair share of August's cultural itinerary, there are moments when the boys want to go out and do boy things (like motorcycling and golfing) which provides me with a little working and a little knitting time.

Yesterday we trapsed around the Northern Quarter here in Manchester and today we went to Liverpool to see the Klimt show at the Tate. Both days, Sabine Geschwandter's new book, KnitKnit, kept smiling at me at various book and gift shops. Guess that will go on the wish list.

My darling sister-in-law Jen and brother Beau sent me a belated birthday gift. But the best things come to those who wait. In the beat up box fresh off the plane from the States, I was surprised to find a gorgeous Lantern Moon-esque palm leaf bag, a couple knitting mags and three balls of some funky chunky yarn. Finally, a proper knitting bag:

The Spumoni Scarf had to be kept hush-hush virtually post-completion as the receipient, Lisa, is an occasional reader and knew I was knitting here bday pressie. My second albeit it simplistic own design delighted her. She rewrapped it after carefully opening it - she wanted to open it again on her actual birthday.

I just managed to finish the Bigga Baby Blanket in time for my sister-in-law Tine to cart it back to Germany for our girlfriend Conny's new bundle of joy, Clara (no, I didn't want to ship it...I want to spend my money on more yarn). Wow, come to think of it, it is another original BrittKnit design. Article

Yipee! I am finally getting published in my favorite knitzine. With much hope and a lot of help from friends and strangers alike, I researched, drafted and polished an article on starting your own local community knitting project. The article is based on a project I put together while living in Vancouver, BC, and interviews I carried out with community knitting mavens Ann Rubin from afghans for Afghans, Amy Berman of Mother Bear Project and Mary Colucci of Warm Up! America. I thank them all sincerely for the work they are doing and for their contribution to the article which will hopefully inspire and empower readers to make a difference in their local communities.

Socks Rock

Alas, I only have one project on the go at the moment and I am feeling the need to start a few more...perhaps a sexy purple shrug with the Debbie Bliss Silk Cashmere in the most sensuous of plums which appears to be a trend color this fall.

But Bearski's Caribbean Socks are coming along quite nicely and the pain that I once felt while doing my first sock as subsided with the valuable guidance of Ann Budd. I have added a few photos.  Next to Budd's book, the finished sock doesn't look that big, but for comparison's sake here is a photo of the sock next to my left hand. My husband truly has pedes of legendary proportion.

Now I think I understand why so many knitters are hooked on socks. Quickly knit, useful, and one a basic pattern is memorized, easily cutomized.

Knit well. Knit often. And read my article come September 1st!