Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I needn't have worried about noone turning up - we gridlocked Lustleigh! It was a lovely, sunny, autumnal day so the walkers turned out in force - but we also had a good crowd appear for the K-TOG. We stuck several laminated posters on the railings outside to draw in the punters and Annie the Sheep from Alison Murray's Gingerbread house greeted everyone at the door.
WE also tried to keep everything really affordable - £1 entrance and only £4 extra for the sockknitting and felting workshops. Here's Jill keeping busy...There was a really happy atmosphere - knitters wondering around with smiles on their faces and children trailing long lengths of fingerknitting behind them...

This is Rosie the blue sheep, hiding under the entrance table...

I didn't take any of the photographs - all credit is due to my young friend Kate.

As you all know, our 'stitch 'n bitch' group had been planning this event for ages - although it's not easy when you only meet up once a month. The planning was helped considerably by the fact that one of our members - Mary - has lots of experience at organising this kind of thing. She's an Honiton Lace Maker as well as a knitter and crocheter of some distinction - and is often asked to judge competetions. She was there good and early to help me set up the hall - but pointed out that we should have had plenty of young men to help us do the manhandling. Point to remember if we ever do it again. Other members turned up later - Jill and Ruth (and Ruth's dh who DID do a lot of manhandling before he went off in his walking boots with the Dartmoor Explorer map to discover Lustleigh Cleave) and Kathryn - with her wonderful knitted bunting. (Again - no pics of bunting - but it's inspired - knit triangles in garter stitch starting at the point and increasing one stitch every row - all different sizes and colours depending on your stash! - we attatched it to a length of fingerknitting and Kathryn sewed beads to the points of all the triangles).

My friend Cath also turned up early to organise the tea squad - She'd asked her mum to bring flowers to decorate the tables - what a star! Here she is standing with her back to us, talking to Sue and Dawn from my bookclub - over half the bookclub supported the K-TOG - yay!I'm busily knitting sock bookmarkers to thank all the helpers. You can get the pattern here
All proceeds went to South Devon Womens Aid - and Christine (the manager of the charity) turned up with a bundle of leaflets and annual reports, to tell people all about the refuge and what the charity does. WE made a grand total of £120 to give them - here's a pic of the raffle prizes - with the first prize being a place on the Christmas Decorations workshop at Spin-a-yarn (lunch provided) --It was won by a local lady from the village.
As well as Annie and Rosie the sheep, we also had a miniature version of a 30ft high Christmas tree on display. This was Alison Murray's project a couple of years before the Gingerbread house. It sat in Atlantic Village shopping Mall in Bideford and raised thousands of pounds for North Devon Children's Hospice and Great Ormond Street Hospital. The Herald Express Article here gave the impression that we would have lots of items from the Gingerbread house and several people came thinking we'd have the entire thing! We WERE hoping to get more objects from the the House but, unfortunately, Anne and Alison had been offered free lockup storage for the house and most of it was inaccessible. It would have been inpractical to put up the whole thing (it's huuuge!) just for the afternoon, so we had to be content with the two sheep, the tree and several knitted cakes intermingling with the real ones that friends donated to the cause! Nice cakes guys! - apart from the one where Sue forgot the egg - hmm - interesting.
Knitted cakes- an interesting new weightloss product.
WE had lots of yarn put out in the Stitch 'n Bitch cafe: that's Mary demonstrating finger knitting on the front right, and Kate the photographer holding Josh the knitting recipient on her knee in the background. Here's a picture of Vinny in green: and some of her pals from Plymouth.The cafe made over £100 - that's a lot of cups of tea!
Here's a picture of moi battling with giant knitting needles in the cafe. Had to be done. And, before you ask, no I didn't knit my cardi - spotted it in a charity shop for a fiver - I recognise good workmanship when I see it - all hand knitted with no seams and pewter clasps to boot.I'd brought my knitting library down so folk could browse in the cafe - The Alice Starmore book on 'Fishermans Sweaters' could have been auctioned off at a grand price if the amount of knitters asking if it was for sale was anything to go by. That's Jill from our S'NB group guarding the books!

WE also had Mary from Ashburton doing spinning demonstrations, ably assisted by Sue (in the foreground who came to my spinning workshop and has come on leaps and bounds since then!)

Lookit Shaun watching the goings on.

Mary had brought her own items to exhibit including this cute sheep (think it must be Shaun's nephew).

The exhibition part of the exhibition must be the least successful part of the afternoon - we weren't able to stick anything on the walls - though we did manage to hang coathangers from the picture rail. I'd hired stands from the Bovey tracey Society of Artists - cheap and cheerful at £5 per stand - but then I lost my double sided tape (found it after it was all over!) which left Ruth and Kathryn trying to be resourceful with needle and thread. I'd also make laminated posters of some of Yarn Harlot's sayings to amuse: eg "sweater 'n': a garment put on the child when the mother feels chilly".

Joyce (our local yarn store proprieter from Spin-A-Yarn) had brought along lots of samples:

Mountains of luscious yarns and goodies - which is, after all, what it's all about!

LYS - speaking of which, I went up to Get Knitted t'other day - what a wonderful place! Spin-a-yarn expanded into supermarket size! I digress.

So we didn't display our knitted items very well - in fact lots remained in bags awaiting labelling as I didn't want to risk losing them! Some of my favourite items were knitted during the second world war: this christening shawl was knitted for a baby that was born on VE day, whilst Churchill was making his famous speech! I also had some (darned) lace stockings knitted during the war. I love the knitted wire and bead bangle I was given by Yvonne - displayed
We also had a WIPS table, which displayed Mary's unblocked lace tablecloth - the one she's been knitting since we started our S'NB group! But Kate didn't photograph it :-(
We also had a list of internet resources and some patterns for people to take away free: French market bag was very popular.
Most popular of all were the feltmaking workshops : Sara (my neighbour and 'environmental artist extraordinaire) explained how to put together a brightly coloured little felt square.

Bright bright dyed fleece. Someone made a green man!

No pics - but Anniken also led a successful workshop on how to knit socks: I saw some gorgeous miniature socks being clutched by pleased owners. Anni also brought along some of her beautiful handdyed yarn and donated a couple of hanks to the raffle.
Then our very own Chris did some wonderful demonstrations and answered lots of queries on dyeing wool yarn with acid dyes in the microwave oven.

Finally we had so many people let us know what a good time they had and wanted us to let them know when we were doing it again. Many non-knitters felt inspired to take up the pins and get knitting.
I think we achieved our aims.

Thanks to Jill, Kathryn, Mary, Ruth and Chris from our Stitch 'n Bitch group, and Chris (Ruth's partner - who helped mantle and dismantle the stands!) . Thanks to Joyce from Spin-a-yarn, Anniken from Cornwall, and Mary from Ashburton - for all your hard work. Also Cath, Sue next door, Sue from Bovey, Dawn, Gill, Cheryl and Caroline from my bookclub who all helped with the teas. Mike and Kirsty from the Village Hall committee also deserve a mention for pitching in at various points during the day and Pete Harvey for fetching and carrying all those stands from Bovey Tracey. That's a lot of little socks for me to knit!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Interweave Press 'Knitting Daily' post is having a UFO count.

I took a big breath and counted up. NINE UFOs. Not quite all my fingers. You want pictures???

Ha, while I was digging out UFOs I discover one more - so that's TEN UFOs (like green bottles hanging on the wall). But then I discovered longest lasting UFO really IS being eaten by moths so in the bin it went. 17years is rather a long time not to finish something anyway - it just wasn't meant to be. So we're back to NINE multicoloured UFOs hanging on the wall.

1) One guernsey languishing in the attic being eaten by moths. I don't think I had enough yarn to finish it. This has been sitting there for getting on 17years. Time to frog it. As noted above - when I fetched it out of the attic to photograph - it was indeed irretrievably moth eaten and holy - in the bin it went, after a pic for posterity. See - blogging DOES have its uses.
2) One guernsey being knitted from a rather attractive tweedy yarn frogged from a jumble sale find. I do like recycling. This has been sitting around several years but not quite as long as UFO number one had.

Both of these are from my own patterns so it takes a bit of figuring out when I go to pick them up again as to where exactly I am, what I'm supposed to be doing and what my name is.

3) The great Kaffe Fassett Tumbling Blocks bedspread. I don't mind that this is a WIP - it's being knitted from all kinds of leftovers from my stash so it doesn't really matter how long it takes. I think. AM I deceiving myself here?

4) The Lars jumper - being knitted in a yarn I got given for last Christmas that I don't really like, or even like knitting with. Probably why I'm not getting on with it. Is there such a thing as a UFO counsellor out there?

5) The Cabin Fever Swing Coat knitted from the top down. Now what HAVE i done with the pattern???

6) Travelling socks. Knitted on teeny tiny needles in 3ply and very hard to see what the hell the pattern is supposed to be doing and where I am. And the diagram doesn't make sense. Or I'm not doing it right. Am I making excuses? Much harder than I thought they would be.

7) Karen's KAL gloves. Suffering from second glove syndrome. Started the second one, but then stalled as I got distracted by the next project.

8) Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Cable Jacket. Yum. I'm zooming on with this and will finish it before the year is out. It's looking really great and I'm pleased with it. I'm doing it with as few seams as I can get away with...

9) One Sock for DS Seth. Oh dear - he's got huge plates of meat and I don't think it will fit - not the length but the width! I added stitches to the original pattern too :-( So I've nearly finished the first sock but they've stalled.

10) The one I forgot when I was counting up - I was messing around with knitting plastic bags over a year ago (when I started blogging I think) - and mixed the plastic with some dire pink acrylic yarn I had hanging around in my stash (I hate pink) - I think I was knitting a peg bag - plastic being fairly indestructible.

Well this is dreadful. I need to really get down to business and finish what I've started. But then I've been looking at Astrid's Dutch Obsessions and hankering after Kauniyarn after seeing at the Harlot's place. I want to knit Ruth Sorenson's Rainbow cardigan (and I've ordered the yarn slap my wrist with a wet lettuce leaf). And this! I've always wanted to knit one of those jackets - Resistance is USELESS!
That all took an age - Blogger playing silly b*****s and refusing to upload pics. Got there in the end and more knitting time wasted...
Thanks for all your welcome backs - mucho appreciated.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

OLD STUFF - Spinning workshop at Spin-A-Yarn:
My secret Pal Terri sent me a £20 voucher to put toward anything I like from my favourite LYS - so I spent it on a spinning workshop with Mary (who will be doing the spinning demonstrations at our K-tog). That's Mary, seated at the wheel I used, in her white pullover at the back of the shop.
Four of us learners altogether (no picture of me coz I'm taking the pictures of course). Joyce is behind the counter.
Two of us brought our own wheels but I loaned a traditional Ashford wheel from Mary -
We plunged straight in by being taught to card the fleece and then spin it...

And I had a skein of plied wool by the end of the first day! We were also shown how to use a drop spindle but I was so keen to go home with some wool all ready to knit up that I didn't have a go.

Joyce serves up a wonderful lunch of quiche and salad all included in the price - with scrummy puds on offer too - not so good for my figure :-(
The second day was spent perfecting our new skills - and, voila!, I had a second skein of slightly less nobbly yarn to show off! That's the dark brown ball in this picture. What to do with it? I decided to knit Tychus from Knitty - I had a skein of purpley grey handspun yarn from Woolly wormhead with green silk in it in my stash so decided this would probably make it doable. It was - I had exactly enough to knit 4 panels which was plenty big enough and just enough to add a tassle and it only took an afternoon to knit. It's exceptionally warm and I love the result of my first spinning attempts. I'm now hoping to get a spinning wheel for my birthday (do you hear dh? hint hint)