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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things I learnt at Knit Camp

Steeking is easy and fun.
Irregular colourwork when worked backed and forth is neither easy, nor fun.
The "itch factor" of a yarn depends on both the diameter and length of the fibre (short fine fibres may feel more itchy than longer, coarser fibres).
I have been cooking American pancakes at too high a heat (I could never figure out why the butter always burnt). I am now the queen of American pancakes based on the way people were wolfing them down although that may also have been to do with the strawberries and ice-cream topping (for breakfast folks!).
All the cool kids are wearing these shoes - expect to see my new pair in forthcoming sock FO posts.
Knitting really is where all the great women are (to quote Felix).

Enough waffling though, I know what you really want to see is the yarn.

Blacker Designs Ryeland and Cotswold yarn

I came out of Deb Robson's class even more convinced that knitting from British breed specific yarn was the way to go. We used mostly Blacker Designs yarn in the two sessions of Deb's class on Friday and as soon as we hit the lunch break we headed over to Sue Blacker's stand to say thank you and to buy yarn.

I bought 5 balls of the Cotswold dk yarn on Friday to knit another seamless hybrid lace sweater (I already have some lace motifs picked out from Mikal's Vogue stitchionary) and I bought a single ball of the raspberry coloured Ryeland on Saturday with no particular plan in mind - it was just such a pretty colour.

New Lanark dk yarn

Earlier in the week I had continued the British yarn theme (if you can continue something in advance) by buying yarn for the Cloisonne Jacket from New Lanark Mill. This is such lovely stuff. It's knitting up very quickly too, I'm already onto the sleeves of the jacket and keep breaking off from this blog post to work on the crochet reinforcement for the steek.

Finally I bought some gorgeous sorbet coloured fibre from Old Maiden Aunt. I love Lilith's colours and deliberately went for something a bit outside my usual range (plum through to wine coloured).

Old Maiden Aunt fibre

The colours are a bit brighter than they show up in this photograph - I'm sorely tempted to spin them both up the same weight and then stripe them!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reporting from Knit Camp - part #2

Tuesday 10/08/2010

Tuesday was mostly spent in knitting and mooching (due to my class with Deb Robson being rescheduled to Friday).

Cloisonne take #1

I cast on for my Cloisonne Jacket and made reasonably good progress. In the evening after dinner Ellen, Aspen, and I headed over to the university for the knitting pub quiz (a.k.a. the pub quiz that time forgot). The atmosphere was a bit better than on Monday but it really did drag on. We stuck it out until the end of the quiz which largely consisted of questions which I'd have to have been Elizabeth Zimmermann's stalker to be able to answer but it was a relief to head back to the much more mellow atmosphere of the Knit Pad.

Wednesday 11/08/2010

As neither Ellen or I had classes on Wednesday afternoon we headed up to Stirling Castle for a bit of history.

Ellen at Stirling Castle

You can see our flat from up here!

Stirling Castle

There's a great view from the other side too. I reckon this cannon is trained on the Wallace Monument.

The highlight of the castle for me was seeing the work that was going on in the tapestry weaving studio where a team of weavers from the West Dean Studio are working on a recreation of the Hunt of the Unicorn series of tapestries which will be hung in the 16th century palace once the restoration is complete. It was amazing to see the weaving in progress and I'm really keen to have a go the next time we have a workshop at the guild. We weren't allowed to take any photos in the weaving studio but I did get shots of two of the three tapestries which are already hanging in the castle buildings.

Hunt for the Unicorn tapestry

Hunt for the Unicorn tapestry

After the castle we took the tour around Argyll's Lodging which was very engaging and informative before heading back to the Knit Pad to cook dinner and meet the BNKs (that's big name knitters) who were joining us for the evening.

Thursday 12/08/2010

On Thursday it finally felt like Knit Camp got going for me as Felix and I had our first class "Planning your own aran" with Jared Flood. It was a great class, really informative, very clearly presented, and I tried my first ever steek!

My first steek


My first steek

After (this is actually Felix's swatch - my yarn didn't change colour!). It's a bit of a blurry photo - maybe my hands were shaking after cutting my own steek?

After Jared's class I was completely inspired to rip out the Cloisonne Jacket which I was working back and forth (irregular colourwork is a right pain to work on the wrong side) and restart it in the round. I'm very excited to try my first steek on an actual garment.

In the afternoon Felix and I headed up for a bit of a stomp around the Wallace Monument.

William Wallace

Sir William Wallace.

Felix at the Wallace monument

Felix taking in the view.

After the monument we headed over to Kilmahog to check out the Kilmahog Woollen mill which was frankly not worth the trip but on the way back we made a small detour to view the Bracklinn Falls which were so worth it. I love a good waterfall.

Felix at Bracklinn falls

Felix at the Bracklinn Falls.

Bracklinn falls

Bracklinn Falls.

Puddingstone rocks at Bracklinn falls

Amazing puddingstone rocks.

Last report to come tomorrow - once I've taken photos of my Knit Camp spoils!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reporting from Knit Camp - part #1

I've just got back from the most fabulous week up in Stirling. Like Woolfest last year it's left me with almost too many thoughts to gather up and far too many to convey in coherent prose but I'll have a shot with the aid of my photographs.

Sunday 08/08/2010

Journey up to Stirling

(Attempted) blogging and flickr posting via smart phone whilst driving on our epic 9 hour road trip from Reading via Oxford and Woodstock up to Stirling.

Journey up to Stirling

Felix started and finished a Clapotis in Swaledale rope yarn (officially the hairiest yarn in the world) between Stoke on Trent and Carlisle services. Admittedly it was only 13 stitches across but still an achievement. I spent most of the time in the back feverishly knitting on a full size Clapotis which I had rashly cast on the preceding Sunday.

Arrived at the palatial Knit Pad (we had eschewed the official Knit Camp accommodation in favour of luxury self-catering organised by the fabulous Mel) around 4:30. Mel and Nicky* headed out to buy supplies whilst Ellen, Felix and I explored the flat and marvelled at the number and variety of bathrooms and the amazing view.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle - pretty much as seen from our living room window.

Knit Pad

The Royal Gardens (laid out in 1628). This is the view from the castle walls - you can see our apartment circled in green. Not bad, eh?

Monday 09/08/2010

Felix, Ellen, and I headed out to New Lanark Mill for a bit of yarn and culture. We did the full tour including the Annie McLeod experience which involved sitting in egg shaped pods travelling through a series of displays whilst a small girl told us how child labour wasn't all that bad really. My favourite bit was the textile machinery room. I am just a sucker for anything connected with the industrial revolution and it was fabulous to see a Spinning Mule in action (it took me right back to primary school trips to visit Hall'ith Wood, Samuel Crompton's home, in Bolton).

Waterwheel at New Lanark Mill

Felix with massive, great water wheel.

Waterwheel at New Lanark Mill

Ellen with massive, great water wheel.

New Lanark Mill

Scenic mill stuff.

Textile room at New Lanark Mill

Spinning Mule.

Textile room at New Lanark Mill

Felix enthusing over Spinning Mule.

Once we felt that we'd paid our dues to social history we hit the gift shop - by which I mean the yarn shop. Ellen bought a pack of New Lanark dk in a lovely shade of indigo for a sweater, Felix bought some yarn to finish the sweater that she suddenly had realised she was knitting (originally we all, Felix included, thought that it was going to be a hat), and I picked up some New Lanark dk in brown and cream to knit the Cloisonne Jacket from the new Interweave.

Once we got back to Stirling we picked up our Clapotis and headed off to the university to campus to register for our classes and attend the Clapotea party. The unversity campus is very pretty.

Stirling University campus

I think if I studied there I'd spend all my time looking at the view rather than reading!

The Clap-o-tea party was not a great success for us. No tea(!) for one thing (which seems like the cruellest form of bait and switch) and a rather odd strained atmosphere. It was good that we attended as we picked up some rather crucial information about how to find out about how our classes has been rescheduled due to the work permit snafu but it was a relief to get back to the much more mellow Knit Pad (with actual tea).

Finished Clapotis

I finished the knitting on my Clapotis (if not the dropped stitches) in time for the Clapotea party. It's a beautiful scarf and deserves its own post in due course.

Two days down - six to go.

* if you read this please do let me know if I'm spelling your name correctly. I started to write this post and realised I had no idea if it's "c-k-y" or "k-k-i" or "c-c-i" or what. Sorry!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Almost ready for Knit Camp


Just some yarn to wind, salad to chop, and half a Clapotis to knit. Luckily it's a really long journey from Oxfordshire to Stirling.

There's been a fair bit of (negative) brouhaha about UK Knit Camp but I'm not going to add to it here. I'm just really excited about heading up to Scotland (mountains Gandalf!) to hang out with my friends, do a bit of walking, eat some good food, and hopefully attend a really fun knitting event.