Thursday, March 22, 2012

What I Did This Weekend

I had a day off on Saturday so I got to go spend it with some great people at a great place.

I went to the British Alpaca Futurity 2012. What's that I hear you say? Well it looks a bit like this....

It was in a big hall at the NEC and in the middle of the hall there were alpacas as far as the eye could see - that's a lot of alpacas, trust me. It's kind of like Crufts but for alpacas and the alpacas were all being judged in the ring in the middle. And all around the edge were stalls and tables where people were offering services to alpaca breeders and selling alpaca stuff and teaching people what you can do with alpaca fibre. That's where I came in. I was with my spinning group - the lovely Walsall Handspinners and Weavers and we were there to demonstrate how you can spin alpaca fleece into yarn, and teach anyone who wanted to learn. We had a blast and met lots of lovely people.

There were some great vendors there too - Janet from the Threshing Barn was there with her huge stall of temptation, filled with fibrey goodies and beautiful colours and equipment. There was a stall selling weaving looms (Greg Meyer Looms) - and there were just brilliant. They had an 8 shaft table loom that folded up and went in a backpack. How cool is that. They had developed the looms themselves and I was very impressed. They were lovely people too. Classic Carders were there with their great range of drum carders. And Fleecewitch who had organised the craft demo area and was so helpful and friendly.

We had a fantastic day. And honestly who wouldn't when you were surrounded by this -

And then to top off the weekend I got the most amazing Mother's Day present from the Evilpixie. She's just back from a few days in New York and I may have suggested to her that there was a yarn shop just a few blocks from her hotel, and that 100g of sockyarn would make a wonderful present if she thought she might looking for a little Mother's Day gift. Well, she excelled herself.

Look what she bought me -

There's a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in a beautiful colourway called Playa which looks like dirty denim - it's all blues and browns, a copy of Whimiscal Little Knits 2, some Lantern Moon sheepy stitch markers, and it all comes in a little Knitty City tote bag. I am very pleased indeed. Remember that she's not even a knitter and she got all this. She said the people at Knitty City were absolutely fantastic and really helpful. I am one happy mother.

The book update should follow soon but I'm off to Bath for the day on Saturday so I'll try and do a little bit of touristy reporting - it'll all be bookshops and secondhand shops though, no Jane Austen stuff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weaving FO

Yes, I have an actual finished object for you.

This is a scarf in mercerised cotton which I have been weaving for EVER. Well, maybe not quite that long, but at least 18 months. It has a sister, done on the same warp but with a different tie-up and a different colour weft. (For non-weavers that means it has a different pattern to it and the cross-threads are another colour from the burgundy I used for this one). This is my favourite though. It made me fall in love with weaving again, not that I'd fallen out of love with it, but I'd been busy with other stuff and there are only so many hours in the day, right? Someone should do something about that. More hours would be a big help to me.

Because I am all about the weaving at the moment I immediately wanted to start another woven project. I couldn't find the right yarn in the right colours for what I wanted so I bought undyed 6/2 from Weavers Bazaar and today I have dyed it. In the end I dyed it in purple and burgundy plus a spray-dyed skein with both colours on. I probably could have bought those colours but I've changed my mind several times since I bought the yarn and it was only today when I got the dyepots out and had to actually make a final decision that it became clear what I needed to do.

Here's all the yarn drying in some lovely welcome sunshine.

The burgundy warp has swung round to the back so you can't really see it. It's going to be an L-shaped shawl with the purple, burgundy and multi as the warp and them more of the purple as the weft. The pattern is from the Ashford Book of Weaving for the Four Shaft Loom. I have to say I'm looking forward to weaving with a nice thick yarn, instead of the very, very fine cotton I used for the scarf above.

If you're in the Midlands and are looking for something to do this weekend then come and visit me at the British Alpaca Futurity where I will be demonstrating handspinning with my spinning group. The event is at the NEC on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th March. I shall only be there on the Saturday but it looks like a great event - lots of alpacas and handcrafts and a real bargain at just £5 for a family ticket for 4 people.

Apologies for the lack of links in this post. For some reason blogger won't let me select any text to insert a link. Both the British Alpaca Futurity and Weaver's Bazaar can be found through Google.

Back soon with a book update.