Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Skip North 2009

And it was all over so quickly ~

I started off a day earlier this year, though, with the usual last minute pack and late arrival at WyeSue's place in Hereford (driving down country lanes in dense fog is not my idea of fun). We began the adventure the next morning, standing on her bed looking at the wildlife in the garden: two wild ducks shagging on the pond. I kid you not. DH reckons that Mrs Duck got off lightly with the mild ducking that she received during the procreative act: apparently if there are more than one suitor, she can drown!

Here is WyeSue trying to load the car - and this is BEFORE we even get there! Yep, she's having yet another destash...
We made good progress and got to Texere about half an hour before it closed. I didn't buy much here, but made notes for a future visit - just a big piece of soft leather which I thought might be good for soles on knitted booties.

Then we headed up to Mankinholes - which is a youth hostel set in beautiful countryside above Hebden Bridge not far off the Calderdale and Pennine Ways and just how I imagined Yorkshire would be.
We were joined by the 'Edinburgh crew' (that's Nat, Isabella, Margarete and Sally with WyeSue in the pic) who had also journeyed down early to visit Texere and here we all are after supper in the dining room, enjoying an early start to Skipnorth examining spoils, drinking wine, knitting (of course)...

Next morning up bright and early to be greeted by mist and the view of Stoodley Pike Monument on the hill behind the YH. After breakfast and clearing up, WyeSue and I decided to hike up to it -not as far as it looks, but a steep climb.

We strolled past brand new lambs as the sun began to warm the air and clear the mist.

The monument is covered in graffiti... How did they do it? I managed to climb up to the first level but the rest defeated me. Nice view, and here I am, modelling my finished Bettna.Quicker coming down than up, and we are greeted by these less than woolly sheep back in Mankinholes.

SkipNorth proper takes place at another youth hostel in Haworth - a far more urban setting, but a beautiful building (used to belong to the local Mill Owner). I led my first ever knitting workshop - with a colour theme - that afternoon and got positive feedback. Several participants had done colour classes with some well known knitters and reckoned my class was superior (head swells). There was a good selection of workshops on offer: dyeing, lace, filet crochet, colour and modular knitting.

And in the evening we spread out into four rooms (including the dining room) and brought out the knitting and spinning, cake and wine... There's nothing quite like getting together with a bunch of likeminded people and knitting. There was a LOT of enabling going on!

This work of art belongs to and is being demonstrated by the Spinning Fishwife - it's a spinning wheel operated by a pendulum. There's more about it on her blog.

Saturday and we pile on two coaches, appropriately labelled 'knit' and 'crochet' - there were double the number of us this year. I was a little apprehensive about the large number of folk but I needn't have worried - everyone was very happy to mingle and the group seemed very inclusive.

First we went to Coldspring Mill - Then we were in the second bus getting lost on the way to Lee Mills. We caused an obstruction on a major highway whilst awaiting directions... Once there we were shown a little selection from the Knitting and Crochet Guild collection - and the display was propped against the banana boxes - what other museum shows you around the warehouse? It doesn't really show the Guild in its best light...And yet, they have some wonderful treasures tucked away: We also visited the Skep - a small knitting shop and this wonderful haberdashers - which hasn't changed its contents since the 1950s I shouldn't wonder.

Later that same day, we celebrated Kiwi Sue's 50th birthday... And I can be found picking up signals from alpha centauri...The final Sunday I took no pictures - I was too busy perusing the treasures at Winghams. As you can see, I managed to contact an alien species the previous night, who accomplished the transplant of several large breasts onto my chest whilst I wasn't looking. Either that, or they're the ones LittleLixie gave me for our Baby Friendly Initiative project... Must give them to the Health Visitor. Breast Feeding Week coming up!

All in all, a bigger and even better SkipNorth than last year thanks to LittleLixie and Nickerjac's fab organisational skills, and I'll go again next year if I'm still around.

What spoils did I bring home with me?:I bought this chunky auracania to knit a jumper from ColdSpring Mill, and those rather lovely knitting needles from the Skep. The couple balls of Noro Shikisai became Ishbel as a present for Bev in thanks for dogsitting. There's some sock yarn from Coldspring there too, and 200g undyed lace weight yarn from the KCG yarn mountain. The knitted thing is flat feet for socks (thanks Nic) ... All lying on that large piece of leather I got from Texere.

Moving on - this is the stash I swopped or acquired over the weekend from other SkipNorthers... Some of it was for The Yarn Yard p/hop charity Medecins Sans Frontieres UK - and I've made a donation to the cause (see widget in side bar to watch the astonishing progress toward £2000 - better still donate - tiz an excellent cause)

A lot from the following pic came from Winghams - and some bits are a present for a Ravelry swop 'focus on Handspun'. There's also some dyes, buttons from the haberdashers, and books from the KCG.Finally, fleece! That grey ball is North Ronaldsay sheep fleece and was a present from Isabella and is already spun up and awaiting knitting. It's wonderfully soft. The green brown fleece is from Wye Sue's destashing. There's some scottish llama top left corner and next to that is undyed BFL. I also bought 100g of yak/silk which is so amazingly soft it feels like bunny. And I nearly forgot - that's Spunky Eclectic (aka Abby's yarns) batt in there too - looking pink/brown which I got from Margarete (TA!). It's very soft and shiny with hints of red in it, and seems to have all sorts of natural fibre from alpaca to silk thrown in. My batts look nothing like this! I've already spun that one up too.There are some little carders down the front from Winghams which have turned out to be just the thing for flick carding the shetland fleece I bought at Wonderwool last year.

Here's what I've been doing with that baby carder - I've been trying to spin the shetland as fine as I can to knit a shetland lace square for this year's Weaver's, Spinner's, Dyer's, Guild shetland challenge. That's my wee Golding spindle which is just right for spinning fine.

All in all, I had a fabulous time and it was so good to meet up with old friends and make new.

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