Twice a year, the Stylecraft Blogstars meet at Stylecraft’s beautiful old mill in West Yorkshire for a weekend of yarn, chatter, food, wine, friendship, scenery, and news. Yeah, the experience really is exactly as gruelling as it sounds.
Our scheduled meetup in February was postponed due to snow. (PLEASE STOP LAUGHING, Canadian/Scandinavian readers – our eccentric little country is ill-equipped to cope with frozen water.) Instead, we met in March. I took my camera so that you could come along for the ride, too. Would you like to see?
We generally kick off with some sort of trip or activity and this time, in honour of Stylecraft’s 30th birthday, we were given the chance to browse through the pattern archives.
It was fascinating. Earlier patterns were mostly knitted, with an increasing proportion of crochet appearing as the years progressed. Some designs have stood the test of time and would look just as stylish now as they did when they were published. (OK, I might make the sleeves narrower on the jumper below: unflatteringly baggy sleeves are a pet grumble of mine.)
Whilst others… how do I say this without being booted off the Blogstars programme and into orbit? …some should perhaps remain firmly under lock and key in the deepest vaults below Stylecraft HQ, for the sake of everyone’s safety. Oh my eyes!
(Speaking as someone who wore fluorescent socks and a ‘Frankie Says Relax’ t-shirt in the ’80s, I can’t really criticize anyone else’s dodgy fashion decisions, but still.)
Then, to the hotel, where a few more people arrived, and drinks/dinner/drinks were had…
The next morning, we were due back at the mill, so we packed our bags (which mostly contained yarn, because WHAT IF THE YARN MILL WE WERE VISITING RAN OUT OF YARN?! NONE OF US WERE WILLING TO RISK THAT KIND OF NIGHTMARE SCENARIO!)
Sometimes people bring one of their recent designs, and there’s cooing and admiring of their work. Will you look at Lucia’s utterly gorgeous crocheted blanket?!
It’s just stunning!
The second day of the meetup always includes a presentation of the colours and styles that will be on the rise in the coming months, and an introduction to Stylecraft’s new releases. This has become my favourite part of the whole happy Blogstars ritual. We sit around the now-familiar table on the top floor of the mill. Balls of yarn are passed from hand to enthusiastic hand. Outside, there’s generally quite a bit of weather going on, from sun to hail to snow to rain and back again within any typical five-minute span:-
As we listened to this season’s presentation, I was relieved to see that my favourite intense colours aren’t going away any time soon (lime green, teal, burnt orange). A few soft pastels will be sneaking in, however, and I must confess that I’m not a fan of pastels.
Some of this season’s new yarns have already been released, most excitingly Dream Catcher, for which I have big plans…
It’s incredibly soft, and what I love is that the colour changes are long and gradual. (It’s a DK-weight yarn available in 150g cakes, and it’s 90% acrylic with 10% wool.)
And new releases include another four shades to be added to the ever-popular Special DK range:-
In the afternoon of the second day, we generally have some sort of workshop. This time, the wonderful Juliet taught us the most basic basics of bookbinding.
We’d been encouraged to bring a suitably-sized piece of knitting or crochet with which to cover the small notebook that we were each to make. Having just finished knitting this piece of yarny ludicrousness, I hastily designed and knitted a scaled-down and simplified version of some of the fish in the original. The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK, and since you can’t really steek that stuff, I broke my own rule about avoiding purling stranded work.
But never mind that, let me show you some of the other Blogstars’ efforts. I love that we all have such different styles:-
Here’s mine, applied to the cover of the notebook I made in the workshop.
I’ve already begun to use it.
Driving away at the end of the event, I was already excited about our next meetup in July. AND the big news is that as part of Stylecraft’s 30th birthday celebrations, you and a friend could win the chance to come and join us there for a rather wonderful day out, to include a tea party, and workshops run by some of us Blogstars. There’s more information on Stylecraft’s Facebook page, and you can enter the competition via this link. Good luck, and maybe see you there!