Walking in the World

Knitting

Labyrinth Knitting

Yesterday was Worldwide Knit in Public Day which is usually a chance to meet up with other knitters in some public place to unapologetically pull out our needles and yarn. As our local knitting group meets in the village pub every Wednesday, knitting in public seems pretty normal to me, but I love being extra-obvious and blatant about it every June. We were busy with a labyrinth event up in Cambridgeshire yesterday (which you can read about here and here), and as I was one of the organizers and speakers, I needed to keep my attention fairly focused, but I did manage to slip away for a few minutes of peaceful labyrinth knitting, thus successfully combining my two passions!

11 Jun 2017

Spring Knitting Show

Knitnstitchshow

Labyrinths and wool rolled in to a single day! Part of my birthday celebration this year was a trip to Olympia in London to attend the Spring Knittting and Stitching Show. As we had some shopping and lunching that we wanted to do while in the city, we purchased late entry tickets but headed in on an early train. By the time we saw these colourful posts welcoming us to the show, I was more than ready for anything and everything stitcherly! I had a few little things on my shopping list, but primarily I was looking for people with stories. I am choosing to spend my wool budget with small businesses who are working heartfully to succeed in a competitive field. Unlike Unravel, this show primarily featured larger merchants, but I found a few indies!

Romney Marsh Wools

Kristina and six generations of her family have been raising sheep on the Romney Marshes in Kent, only about an hour from us. Their Romney Marsh Wools are lovely and their focus on sustainable farming is equally admirable. I brought one one skein of wool, a pattern, and a couple of bottles of the lotion they make from the lanolin from the sheared wool. I’ll be ordering more wool soon as I’m already working on some ideas for future projects.

Latvian Mittens

And this is Inese who works in London now, but comes from Latvia where she was involved in a friend’s business of creating Latvian Mitten kits. She says that knitting those mittens are her passion now, and how could I possibly resist attempting a pair myself? I chose my wool, but am feeling a bit awed by the super-tiny needles I’ll need to use to make them. (Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath…)

Latvian Mittens

There was an overall emphasis on creativity and craftivism which I loved seeing, but I didn’t really have the opportunity to spend much time at any of the public knitting booths – that’s for a future visit, I guess. Nevertheless I felt very proud of the craftiness that flows through my veins and connects me to so many people with big hearts, nimble fingers, and good intentions! And I certainly enjoyed some of the creative projects on display!

Knitting Show exhibits

No trip with Jeff would be complete without finding a labyrinth or two. He actually enjoys these kinds of shows more than he lets on, and always manages to make some interesting discovery…. like these Indian labyrinth wood blocks tucked in amongst all the creative offerings at this immense show:

Indian labyrinths

And, of course, London’s Art on the Underground makes finding labyrinths an easy quest these days, and it is always fun to spot them while dashing through the subterranean stations:

Labyrinths on the Underground

(clockwise from top left: Stratford, Tottenham Court Road, Olympia, and West Ham stations)

06 Mar 2017

Unravel 2017

I can’t let February slip away without sharing one of the highlights of my month, a knitting show that left my heart soaring and my fingers itching with creative energy. My most knitterly of friends, Emma Anderson, and I drove around London to Farnham Maltings to attend Unravel 2017 as a joint celebration of our February birthdays and our shared passion for knitting. Oh my! It was pure magic from the moment we drove into town…

As knitters, we were well-welcomed; the charming venue oozed with character and good taste, and artistry and humour were apparent everywhere you looked:

Just beyond the entryway lined with beach huts, there was a delightful knitted aviary where most of the pieces were available in a silent auction with the proceeds going to charity – a reaffirming of my growing awareness of the good that can grow out of a dedicated knitting practice.

I even found something for Jeff, but my budget didn’t quite stretch to purchasing this lovely sequined lobster by Kate Jenkins – although it would have been worth every penny! I enjoyed her entire exhibition in the Long Kiln Gallery, which you can experience here.

There was a nicely curated schedule of classes and workshops and presentations, but we only attended one, the taping of an interview with Nancy Marchant, the Queen Mother of Brioche Knitting, for a Pom Pom Quarterly podcast (which you can download here).

As it was my birthday weekend, the great marketplace that held the greatest allure. The delight for me was that these were small independent artists/designers/dyers/entrepreneurs – no big name acrylic yarn producers to be found. I have recently decided that life is too short to allow myself to spend time with the squeaky yarns or boring construction techniques that typify the offerings of mass production. To be honest, I have always felt this way, but these wondrous little indies are fairly new to the British knitting scene, and this is the first time I have been to a show like this. (This was the Hill View Farm stall – Natasha offers her lovely hand-dyed wool in different skein sizes to fit our varying pattern demands. An amazing woman, she’s so new to this particular business scene that she was using hand written cards that her daughter had made. To learn about her retreats and the story that lead her to them, click here.)

I was so busy looking and touching that I didn’t manage to get many photos, but I might have found time to purchase a few mementos to keep me knitting until at least this time next year: And who doesn’t need a set of mitten blockers? And a leather ruler bracelet? And stitch markers… consider them essential knitter toys to accompany the scrumptious yarn!

Ten days on and I’m still flying high, still stroking my precious fibres!

28 Feb 2017

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