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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Knit Nation & London

We had a FANTASTIC weekend in London and I took very few pics, actually I took no pics. Mainly because I lent Simon my camera on Friday & then forgot about it.

Our trip got off to a very bad start and at one point I wondered if we'd be able to leave the house at all. Just as I turned my lights off on Wednesday evening I started getting some stomach pains. They weren't too bad and I didn't think much of it. I woke up after 2 hours sleep and the pains were much, much worse. They were so bad I was too uncomfortable to stay in bed. I went downstairs. I didn't really know what to do with myself. I tried watching TV and knitting but was in too much pain. At 5 am Vanessa came downstairs. I was lying on the sofa cold and in a huge amount of pain. I was so bad I couldn't really move. Vanessa got me a big shawl but I was still cold. I eventually made it upstairs and told Simon how bad my night had been. He suggested it could be colic and that I should try moving and stretching. I did wonder if it was indigestion or constipation but if it was it was a 100 times worse than anything I've had before. After a little bit of breakfast,some gently moving around I managed to get showered, dressed and ready to go a little bit later than normal. I was still in too much pain to do any driving and struggled to walk upright. Simon decided that whatever it was walking around was good for me so on the way up we stopped at Dyrham Park National Trust property near Bath. We walked through their beautiful grounds and did a tour of the house which was disappointing compared to some of the amazing stately homes near us.

By the time we arrived in London my stomach pain was much better and by Friday morning it was gone completely.

We had an early start on Friday as I headed to Knitnation and Simon and the girls headed off for a day of sightseeing and a play at The Globe Theatre. I had a spinning class with Judith McCuin at 9am. I had heard that Judith was good but I didn't realise how good she is. I was shocked at how fine yarn I was able to spin.

Judith gave us a variety of fibres to spin with. We started with merino and went on to try merino/silk, 2 types of Tussah silk, alpaca, cashmere/silk, cotton and bison. We were also given some silk noil but I didn't get time to try that.
This shows samples of my spinning on the day:
By the way, it's so dull today the pics are turning out very, very dark and even editing them aren't helping much. I had to use the SLR camera which I don't know how to use very well as my camera is still in Simon's bag.

I was amazed at how much my spinning improved under Judith's tuition and it was all down to playing with the settings on the wheel. Last night when we go home I unpacked my wheel and spun during the Tour de France round up. Here's a comparison of the Optim fibre I spun before I left for London and last night:

Impressive isn't it?! I didn't finish spinning the second bobbin before we left but it's so uneven and I'm not sure I could finish spinning it the same so I'm going to ply what I've done and I've divided the rest of the fibre and I'm going to spin a small skein of laceweight with it instead. I'm so excited about my spinning now. If you ever get the chance to take a class with Judith go for it!

The other ladies in the class were lovely and I was especially pleased to meet Chrissie who'd come all the way from Singapore. Chrissie has been one of my regular customers for a while now and it was great meeting her. I didn't realise it was her until the end of the day when I was in a hurry as Simon and the girls were waiting for me. Sorry, Chrissie, I didn't have time to talk for longer.

I had planned to attend the evening preview of the market place but Simon and the girls were exhausted after standing up during a 3 hour Shakespeare play and were desperate for me to join them so we could get a meal and head back to the hotel.

On Saturday Vanessa and i headed off for a day of girlie shopping on Oxford Street. It was wet and buy but we had a lovely day. We walked into Liberty wet and hot and looking a bit dishevelled and a 'Trish McEvoy' consultant offered us a make up lesson so we both had make overs. I wish I'd taken some photos as we both looked so much better afterwards. I learnt a new trick or two as well. The Trish McEvoy products were lovely but unfortunately not easy to buy in the UK. I did buy 2 Rowan yarns at Liberty for some design swatching:

Sunday we went to a service at Holy Trinity Brompton which we'be been to before. As it was just around the corner from Knitnation I headed straight there after the service while Simon and the girls went to Harrods and to do some other sightseeing on their own.

The Knitnation market place was smaller than I'd expected but the quality of the stalls was excellent. Several sellers there I already knew but some I'd never heard of before. I had the chance to meet and chat to several people I've only spoken to by e-mail or online before. I only had a couple of hours there and would have loved to have spent longer looking around and chatting to people but we had plans for the afternoon.

My first stop was John Arbon. His new range Knit by Numbers is fantastic. Pure Merino yarns in amazing toning colours. They start with a colour and then add varying amounts of white to create toning shades. And it's all spun in Devon. I've got some plans for this yarn and I'll be swatching later.
Wollmeisse has had a cult following in the last few years. I did buy a skein at Loop last year. I wound it and then mislaid it before I got a chance to swatch with it. So I was keen to get another skein to try out this yarn and see what the fuss is all about. It's a pure merino yarn, dyed in saturated colours and I'm looking forward to swatching with it.
I have just recently knitted a magazine design in one of Artisan Yarns gorgeous yarns. I can't say any more about it right now but it's gorgeous. I was keen to look at the rest of their gorgeous yarns. I was especially interested in their gorgeous range of plant-dyed yarns which includes some really amazing colours. I've got a skein of Linen Lace to swatch with for a possible new design.
This is an undyed colourway but do take a look at their colours. I LOVE them and I'm wondering how this would knit up on my machine. I'd love a linen summer top.

Habu Textiles yarns are difficult to get hold of in the UK. I bought a cone of silk stainless steel at Woolfest and although I've not had time to swatch with it yet I was tempted to get a cone of their wool stainless steel. I have got some exciting plans for this yarn:
A fairly new American company I've read a lot about lately is Quince & Co. I was tempted by several of their yarns but ended up getting a skein of Tern which is a merino/silk 4ply. I've already started swatching with it for an American magazine submission. I specifically looked for some American yarns this weekend as it may increase my chance of success with American mag submissions if I use yarns easily available in the US. I did make a note of a few brands I may get in the future.
As you can see I'm already swatching with this yarn. The needles are new too. I'd been tipped off that ChiaGoo needles are amazing and as good as Signature Needle Arts which are the 'rolls royce' of needles. I'm not sure if the're quite as good as Signature but I do like them and i'd like to get a couple of more sizes. They're smooth with long tapered points and lovely cables which keep their shape apparently. I'll let you know how i get on with them.
I needed some more stitch markers for smaller needles and I prefer plain smooth ring ones and Atomic Knitting had the perfect ones. While I was browsing their range I was tempted by some cute fish ones and some flower crochet markers too.
I've been looking for a dpn case for my workshop dpns and I couldn't resist this 'love hearts' fabric by The Bothered Owl.
And finally, I got 2 new lace books. Both books look fantastic and I'm already inspired just by looking through them a couple of times. They both contain a lot of very useful info as well as stitch patterns.
After Knitnation we went to another service, at Hillsong this time. We're all fans of the Hillsong music and it's certainly a very popular church and services are held in a theatre. I wasn't impressed at all. They spent a lot of time promoting Hillsong products and the sermon had very little substance at all. The best about this service was being able to relax in fairly comfy chairs for over an hour.

We'd promised the girls we'd go on the London Eye as Vanessa has never done it. I was in agony with my back by the time we got to the London Eye and the Q was long. I decided I didn't fancy queing as I've done the London Eye several times before. So I sat relaxing with my knitting while Simon took the girls. Now, here's something that really annoys me. Vanessa is now 16 and we had to pay adult price for her. Due to the cost of the London Eye we decided to let the girls go on their own. They're 16 and 13 and very responsible, sensible, well behaved girls. Vanessa was asked about her age as they joined the Q. She admitted she was 16 and she was told Emily could only go with someone over 18. So why do we have to pay adult price for Vanessa when they're not accepting her as adult. If they're going to charge adult prices shouldn't she be allowed to take her 13 year old sister on the London Eye with her?!

We had planned to go into London again on Monday morning before driving home in the afternoon but we were all exhausted and I was in a lot of pain so we left London after a late breakfast. I was asleep before we got on the M25 (and we stayed about 5 mins away) and woke up in Bristol.

I had planned a shop update today but I need to take photos of the yarn and it's so dark today I can't get good quality pics so I'll try and get it done tomorrow instead. Well done if you're still reading this, sorry this blog post has been so long.


Sarah Knits said...

Thank you for sharing your knitnation and London weekend with us, it is really great to hear what you got up to and see how much your spinning has changed! Love the yarns you chose and will look forward to seeing what they become. Sx

Dori said...

I'm sorry to hear you were in pain and that the Eye people were so bullheaded. Love hearing about your spinning and Knitnation.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I knew my back would be bad. Spinning all day, walking a lot (like you do in London) and carrying heavy shopping on Sunday (why did I buy 2 books!) was a recipe for disaster. I think 3 days in London is my limit! Loved it though.

Ann said...

That sounds like a fantastic trip. I would love to attend that spinning class - one day.