I admit I wasn’t planning to go to this new British yarn & knitting show.
Then I read the exhibitor list.
The Unwind team organised a truly amazing line-up. I’m now so glad I went. I met friends old-and-new – of the people and yarn variety.
I know it’s hard to believe, but I do actually go to shows with a shopping list. Top of my list for Unwind was a skein of Juno Fibre Arts new Milly Sleek, in beautiful Sapphire. Is this a colour for Midsummer or Midwinter? Both? Either? Ice cold and summer sunshine. Warm wool and smooth silk, ready to wrap around your neck or drape loosely around shoulders. A super-soft yarn with a double life.
My find-of-the-day had to be Nature’s Luxury. I could have taken the whole stand home. Choosing was almost impossible. I did seriously consider just shutting my eyes and grabbing any skein; I know I’d be happy with it! The camel/silk is gorgeous, the silk is perfect for summer, there was qiviut (I kept away), cashmere softies, and all in mouth-watering colours. They also had a small, well selected, group of Madelinetosh colours, including an exclusive shade just for them. It was their own-label colours I wanted, though.
Part-way through the day, a friend from my knitting group texted me with a yarn emergency. She’d gone home from the show without the linen yarn from Scandinavian Midwinter Yarns, but was now obsessing about it! I was directed to their stall for a little personal shopping, and I was happy to oblige. It’s very reasonably priced, so I found myself buying a cake for me too!
The weather may say it’s midsummer here, but I fell for some colours that will take me into Autumn. I found some juicy shades of Shetland Wool from Old Maiden Aunt. I’m looking forward to playing with some colourwork in different combinations. Incidentally, they also had the best ice cream recommendation (thanks for that).
Similarly Autumnal, but much softer, were these variegated beauties from Skein Queen. Most of the yarns at Skein Queen were lovely semi-solids, which is perhaps what made these multi-tonal skeins stand out. Whatever the reason, they are interesting combinations. They’d be great for the Slipstream mystery knitalong patterns, I realise.
I wanted to look at so many other new-to-me exhibitors, such as L’Oisive The, and friends have come back talking of Tom of Holland and Polo & Co. I couldn’t take it all in, plus catch up with yarn and knitting friends. I thought a day would be plenty to see such a compact show, but it was so densely packed with quality exhibitors that it just wasn’t long enough. The workshop list looked wonderful – a who’s who of knitting.
Shall I name-drop a bit? As well as the lovely people mentioned already, I was lucky enough to meet Erika Knight, Woolly Wormhead and Bristol Ivy, and catch up with friends Sue Stratford and Jeni Hewlett (aka Fyberspates). It really was a star-studded event, even though I missed some serious knitterati at the Saturday night party – those who are recognisable by first name only – Veera, Joji, Ysolda… Next time, eh? I am glad to have met with precious friends who are less well-known, and that’s the joy of any good knitting event.
Jacqueline Sava of Soak was here in person to launch her new Yuzu and Fig fragrances. I have a pile of blocking to do, so I had the perfect excuse to browse the range. I chose Soak in classic, fresh Aquae and Flatter in citrus Yuzu. I do a lot of steam blocking, so I plan to use Flatter to spray projects down before attacking them with some heat.
I was sorry to miss seeing Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia, but I petted the yarn. I love the deep and rich colours. Ultraviolet is a personal favourite, and I loved the Mulberry from this Autumn’s new colours.
At the older end of the spectrum were vintage needles. I’m a sucker for all things vintage, especially knitting-related. I have a growing collection of vintage needles and other knitting equipment. I was thrilled to find Yellow Bear Wares and their jewellery made from colourful plastic needles. I have to thank Amy Singer for the recommendation (apparently I’m not done with the name-dropping), who waved her new/old ring at me in the marketplace.
Yellow Bear Wares also had a few odd needles for sale. These were ones that don’t suit being turned into jewellery. Luckily for me this included a few “tortoiseshell” needles. It was hard to leave any of them behind since they have such personality in the colours, but I felt lucky to be able to choose those in the best condition.
Obviously I also needed to buy a bakelite needle box in pristine condition (just so I could carry those precious needles home safely, you understand). The box has a needle gauge which goes down to old UK size 16, which is two sizes smaller than a modern 2mm/US 0! It’s probably 1930/40s (a similar vintage to my Viyella needle gauge, in fact).
My last bit of shopping was with Tilly Flop. I chose some hilarious knitting (temporary) tattoos, which I am saving for a future yarn/gift swap, and some cards. Knitters’ fun.
We did escape the yarn fumes briefly. We headed out for sandwiches and ice cream. I couldn’t choose just one flavour of ice-cream (same problem as with the yarn, I feel) so I drastically over-ordered (also feeling familiar, I fear). I probably could have skipped the perfectly delicious salt-beef sandwich and just had a vat of ice cream! Gelato Gusto claim to be “artisan” and they are indeed.
Now all I want to do is cast on with the new yarn. Well, that and eat a lot of salad by way of calorie compensation. However, I suspect there are a few people out there who are rather hoping for a blog post with a mystery knitalong clue, rather than a pile of swatches.
Yes, Clue 3 in the Slipstream Mysteries is out tomorrow.