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.