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Woolfest 2012

The school summer term finishes early in Scotland, and this year we finished even earlier than usual, with the pleasing result being that my summer holiday started on Friday! So expect the usual holiday-induced return to blogging for the next few weeks.

I kicked off the holiday in true knitterly style with Woolfest. It’s four years since I last went, and when my neighbour asked if I wanted a place on the bus that the Stirling knitting group had organised I jumped at the chance, and persuaded my friend Tor to join me (which wasn’t that hard!). So it was that I was up at the crack of dawn on the first day of the holidays, instead of a much-needed lie-in, and on a bus leaving Stirling at 7.30.

It was worth it. Woolfest would have been fun had I gone just for the shopping and to see all the sheep, alpacas and angora bunnies, but the people made it fantastic.

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Tor and Antje. (Antje owns The Yarn Cake, Glasgow’s foremost purveyor of yarn and home baking. If you are a knitter, like cake, and live anywhere near Glasgow you should go there!)

Speaking of people, I also got to meet Kate for the first time, despite having corresponded occasionally online for years. Being a bit of a fangirl, I had selected my Manu cardigan to wear because I knew she would be at Woolfest! It was great to finally meet her (and see the original samples of her gorgeous patterns – Rams and Yowes especially!).

Being a little overtired from general end-of-term-itis and the early start, we took a break for tea and knitting, and I managed to finish my current project.

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It’s Age of Brass and Steam, in a Skein Queen merino/cashmere blend I got at the Glasgow School of Yarn. It was a very quick knit, and only took a week. I must get round to blogging (and Ravelling) my recent knitting at some point soon!

I didn’t actually do that much shopping, and I didn’t even buy yarn! I did, however, manage to buy some new stitch markers, a cute project bag, and a yarn bowl.

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There was also a bizarre-but-wonderful art installation, consisting of many, many pompom sheep.

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We headed home after a very full day, and despite some technical problems on the way home (a fuel cap that wouldn’t come off and not enough fuel in the tank to get the bus home!) a great time was had by all.

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On Saturday I went to Woolfest with my friend Helen and her Mum. It was my first fibre festival and we happily spent nearly the whole day looking at stalls and sheep (and other woolly creatures).

Wensleydale, Gromit?

A Wensleydale sheep. Check out the dreads!

Herdwick

A Herdwick sheep. Apparently they are born black, turn brown at a year or two old and end up white! How clever is that?

Alpacas

Alpacas! With added straw.

It was quite amazing to see the number of Ravellers at Woolfest. Many people sported badges – I felt positively naked without one! I complimented someone on her Ravelry bag, and after the surreal experience of introducing ourselves by our Ravelry names I had a new friend in the shape of Princess Pea. In an even more surreal moment I recognised Wazz from Needled by her monkey shrug! I was too shy to say hello, though – it felt a bit weird to say, “Hi, I lurk on your blog and I recognised your knitting!”

Oh, I also managed to buy some stuff (excuse the flash – the weather’s been driech every time I’ve had time for photos lately).

Dye kit

A natural dye starter kit from DT Craft and Design, with some undyed merino/nylon sock yarn to test it.

Marble

Krafty Koala superwash merino/bamboo sock yarn in “Marble”.

Midnight

Krafty Koala BFL/nylon sock yarn in “Midnight”.

Both these sock yarns are gorgeously soft and also machine-washable. I think I foresee more purchases from Krafty Koala in the future!

My main aim for Woolfest was to find some laceweight for my first proper lace project, which is going to be Muir from Knitty. I’d never had the urge to knit lace before, but as soon as the Fall 07 issue of Knitty came out I just fell in love with the pattern right away. I had decided I wanted to knit it in a variegated silk yarn, with shades of green and brown. I haven’t been able to find exactly the colours I had in mind anywhere, but at Woolfest I came across Knitwitches Yarns. I’d never heard of them until Susan blogged about buying some of their undyed laceweight for her wedding stole, but trust me, the dyed stuff is just as gorgeous. I ended up abandoning my plans for a green Muir when I saw this:

Laceweight silk

This, my friends, is Knitwitches 2-ply pure silk in the colourway “Lush Seas.” I had to keep taking it out of the bag and petting it on the way home. It’s seriously, seriously gorgeous stuff. The colours are beautiful, vibrant blues and teals and the tiniest bit of purple (the flash washes it out a bit in the photo). And since it was 3 skeins for £35, I also adopted this single orphaned skein of “Mulberry leaf”:

Mulberry silk

No idea what that’s going to be, but it’ll be beautiful, whatever it is.

Finally, I decided yesterday to spend those Get Knitted vouchers. To my great surprise, today I returned home to find a decidedly non-squishy parcel waiting for me. Talk about efficient! I *heart* Get Knitted. Here they are:

Knitpicks Options

I haven’t played with them yet, mostly because I don’t know what to cast on first. Muir, with the blue laceweight? Or my planned, modified I Do in Louisa Harding Grace? Decisions, decisions…

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