Twice a year, the Stylecraft Blogstars gather at the mill in Yorkshire for a weekend of yarnery, laughter, samples of the yarns of the future, fine food, deepening friendship, yarn industry news, stunning scenery, a trip out somewhere interesting, a workshop, wine, and luxurious hotel rooms where absolutely nobody tiptoes in at 2am to ask, “Mummy, how long do kestrel eggs take to hatch?” Or at least if they do, you can say, “Sorry kid, that’s an excellent question but I’m not your mummy; I think you’ve got the wrong room,” before rolling over and sinking back into gloriously peaceful sleep. (Besides, I have no idea how long kestrel eggs take to hatch.)
All of this is exactly as dreadful as you’d imagine it to be.
The latest such event happened earlier this month, and it might just have been the best one yet. In case you’re newish to these parts and would like a photo-tour around the old mill, there’s a post here. I’ll add links to posts about the previous Blogstars weekends at the end of this piece.
Some of us kicked off the weekend with a private tour of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near(ish) to Wakefield. I’d never been before, but… wow.
We only got to explore a small proportion of the vast site but what we did see was inspiring. Take this several-metres-tall hare-person by Sophie Ryder:-
If you look closely, you’ll notice the gadgets, cogs, children’s hands, and other everyday objects that are cast in its bronze surface:-
Courtesy of Barbara Hepworth, there was a cluster of family members. Look!
(I have fond memories of the Barbara Hepworth Museum in Cornwall visited during my honeymoon with the Stoic Spouse, so I may be a tiny bit biased.) Anyway, onwards with the tour:-
There were several Henry Moores on a hillside, the largest of which was being used by some sheep who wanted to shelter from the rain, but I didn’t get close enough to take any decent photos. And I wished we could have got closer to the unnerving and wonderful perspective of this head by Jaume Plensa:-
Then, we came across an old, disused chapel. Noticing that the space was no longer filled with music, artist Chiharu Shiota had created her own melodies:-
It was beautiful!
There is so much else that I could show you, but time was a-ticking and we had a hotel to get to, where the rest of the Blogstars were waiting for us. It was so good to see everybody again. I think we’ve all progressively relaxed and got to know each other better over the past couple of years. We shared the kind of supper where nobody batted an eyelid if you knitted throughout. Best of all, we finally got to meet Angela of GetKnottedYarnCraft. Angela inconsiderately lives on the other side of the planet so usually joins our meetups online. But this year, she’d hopped on a plane to come and join us in person. You know that feeling when you really just take to someone?
The next day began at the mill, with news of what we’ll all be knitting and wearing in the near future. It’s interesting to see the themes that will be around in coming months. There are three moods that’ll be hitting our consciousness in autumn/winter 2018-2019, and the one that really caught my imagination is called ‘Spice Market’. Here are the colours:-
And here is the trend translated into garments. Apparently there’ll be lots of complex surfaces and patterns, which is fine by me. BRING ON THE COLOURWORK!
We got to see (and take home) the many new shades and yarns that Stylecraft will be bringing out over the coming months. One of the things that some of us will definitely be knitting quite soon is the sock yarns that we designed for Stylecraft to add to their ‘Head Over Heels’ range, inspired by our visit to the David Hockney exhibition at Saltaire. But I can’t show you mine for a few weeks yet. Sorry. Soon, my fine, fibrous, friend, soon. I confess to being a tiny bit excited at the prospect of seeing my name on a pretty ball of yarn.
But there was another planned release that particularly caught my imagination. You see, there’s been a cardigan design floating around in the otherwise empty space in my skull for quite some time, but I hadn’t started making it because I couldn’t find the right yarn. And then… BINGO! From mid-August, Stylecraft will be selling the perfect stuff, and I have samples, right here. It’s like they read my mind. I’ve begun to knit my cardigan. There’ll be a pattern coming very soon, because all being well, this’ll be a speedy knit. I can’t show you yet: sorry. Well, maybe I can give you a tiny hint, as long as you promise not to let on that you’ve seen this. OK, this late-night, artificially-lit, phone-photo doesn’t do it justice, because the reality is gorgeous…
The weekend wasn’t over yet, however. Have you heard of ‘planned pooling’ in knitting and crochet? If not, you might be hearing a lot more about it soon, and we were lucky enough to have a whole workshop on the subject. Photos to follow. Also, we knitted or hooked blanket squares for a project in aid of the mental health charity, Mind:-
And then? Well sadly, it was then all over, and time to go our (very) separate ways. I drove home with a car-full of yarn samples and memories, and ideas for new projects and patterns. To be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit unmotivated in the knitting/crochet department recently, what with all the marathon-training and pond-digging and garden-redevelopment, but NO MORE! I have SO many ideas for new patterns, and I can’t wait to finish making them so that I can share them with you.
(Previous Blogstar shenanigans are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Oh dear, that’s building up to be rather a lot of shenanigans.)
Delighted that you’ve rediscovered your knitting mojo. Much as I’ve loved your pond-digging and marathon-running exploits, I’ve also rather missed your fabulous twists on spinning a good fibre-related yarn. (All puns absolutely intended).
Winwick Mum says
Sounds like you had a fab weekend! 🙂 xx
Visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park earlier in the year. Loved it, so much to see. Missed the hare-person but saw the fantastic ‘music’ in the chapel, my favourite piece.
We visited the YSP two weeks ago in scorching weather. I loved the work by the Japanese artist in the chapel, and we too have visited The Hepworth Gallery in St Ives. The Hockney work at Saltaire is amazing and the tearoom is pretty good too. I really enioy working with Head over Heels, so am looking forward to seeing the new shades.
Patricia Lloyd says
So glad you had a good time and got lots of inspiration. Hurry up with patterns, I need inspiring too and I know you’re work always does that
Lynn Lilley says
Busy weekend, so glad you share these times with us!!
Cannot wait to see the new cardigan, and I’m jealous of your trips to Stylecraft. Wish one of the USA yarn dealers caught a hint.
Maggie Bullock says
I do love reading your musings, it almost feels I’m there. Those new Stylecraft colours Spice Market look good enough to eat. I can’t wait to get my hands on some, I have ideas popping already of new crochet designs for them. In not a knitter but I can still admire your gorgeous designs. Keep them coming, I might just be tempted to change sides.
And I look to be the shortest blogstar of all!!
Oh my such lovliness you have shared. I am ashamed of myself for not having visited the sculpture park. Pooling is something that looks fantastic by way beyond me.
Top secret knitting hurrah.
Sounds like you had fun – and love the sculptures too!
So glad you had such a great time, envious! All squishing of yarn, bliss
Go at it Ms T! I just saw you in another blog that I follows latest post and you were spending a LOT of time on your mobile phone. I would like to think that you were handling an emergency question from the twinage or taking some awesome photos to share on your blog at the time 😉 You guys are so lucky to be able to dive like Scrooge McDuck, into the gloriousness that is Stylecraft yarn. I am throwing myself in at the deep end and have decided “bollocks to starting with the basics…” and am attempting making two toe up socks on circular needles with a Moroccan cast on (or some country that starts with an “M”), in for a penny, in for a pound! I have already had to start again 3 times as I work my way through the YouTube tutorial that I am using to teach me but I am having a lot of fun and am completely motivated now to throw myself into knitting. This knitting thing is great fun! What a lark eh? Have fun with those scrumptious new yarns and I can’t wait to see your new cardi 🙂
I am convinced we will see the melodies in the chapel find their way into one of your creations. That looks like a project you could handle. 🙂
The Little Room of Rachell says
I really loved my visits to the Hepworth in Wakefield and The Yorskshire Sculpture Park when I was last at Yarndale.
This looks like another fun weekend.
Cnawan Fahey says
Pond-digging and marathon running?! What have I missed?
Hill Wimp says
Planned pooling eh ? Sound interesting. Can I just point out that if that means pooling my yarn well, it ain’t happening. It’s mine I say, all mine !!!!