I’m back home, after the best – the absolute best – of yarny weekends. If you read this in a breathless, overexcited voice, then you’re getting the tone just about right, OK?
The weekend was a combination of our usual twice-yearly Stylecraft Blogstars meetup at the mill, and Stylecraft’s 30th birthday – aka ‘Purl Anniversary’ event. And one thing that I can now confidently say is that those folks at Stylecraft certainly know how to throw a party.
But let’s rewind the tape a little. On Friday evening I made the 200-mile trip north, all the way to West Yorkshire. We – the Blogstars – were to stay in a different hotel this time. Unlike our usual haunt, this place had NO HELIPAD! No helipad! How’s a woman to maintain a ludicrously overinflated delusion of her place in the world without even a helipad to pose beside?! But the hotel was extremely luxurious, and this was the view about a minute’s walk from the back door:-
What it also had was more (empty) champagne bottles than I’ve ever seen in my life, arranged in order of size on every spare horizontal surface. Here, for example, is a six-litre monster known as a Methusaleh: there were two of these beasts on my bathroom windowsill:-
Oh, and in the interests of Public Service Blogging, I just googled champagne bottle sizes and learned that the above is a mere tiddler compared with the mighty thirty-litre monster known as a Melchizedek. Thirty litres! Just let that sink in for a moment! Actually don’t, because you’d have acute alcohol poisoning if you did. That’s not a drink, that’s a swimming pool.
I arrived. I unpacked my yarn. I said hello to friends. I counted champagne bottles. Dinner was good:-
Now, just to mention this once and briefly because it’s as boring as bathwater, I’d been dealing with ANOTHER chest infection all week, so although I’d been excited about the weekend, I felt like a hollow model of a knit-blogger propped up in the corner and rattling a stomach full of appropriate over-the-counter medications whilst putting 50% of my energy into the effort of NOT COUGHING ALL THE TIME. Am giving this stupid illness a one-star rating: would not recommend.
But let’s get on to the important stuff. We emerged from the hotel on Saturday morning to this rather promising sight:-
And back at Stylecraft’s mill in Slaithwaite, we saw the fruits of Annabelle and Juliet’s hard work in preparing for the birthday celebrations. Look! All ready for the party!
That’s Helen’s (Crystals and Crochet) blanket designs in the bottom right of the picture. And here’s Jane’s (Janie Crow) display of her designs:-
Here’s Lucy’s (Attic24):-
This was mine:-
There was a palpable mood of excitement in the air… or possibly we were just getting high on the yarn-fumes.
As usually happens at Blogstars meetups, there was a presentation on the shades and brand new yarns that will be coming out over the next few months. (#squeee!) Then, there was a workshop on flat-lay photography, by Teresa C (@slicebyteresac and @teresacphotog on Instagram – highly recommended). She was brilliant. Flat-lay is NOT my forte, but she taught us so much. Here she is, photographing Emma Varnam’s work:-
And then, after another night of sociable but helipad-less luxury back at the hotel, it was Sunday, and time for the big Purl Anniversary event. Some time ago, Stylecraft ran contests for the public and for yarn shop owners, to win tickets to this celebration.
As the clock struck eleven (actually there was no clock – I made that detail up), people began to arrive. Lots and lots and lots of smiling yarny people – seventy in total, I think. Knitters, crocheters, yarn shop owners:-
And the party began. There was yarny bingo:-
There was yarny guess-what’s-missing from an array of Special DK shades:-
There was even a yarny birthday cake. No jokes about high-fibre diets, please.
There was food and chatter and laughter, and people made friends and admired each other’s knitting. I met so many people, including a lovely woman called Laura who recently built a pond. (YESSS! Another wildlife habitat created! Only another eleventy million back gardens to go…) I finally got to put faces to names of some brilliant folk whom I previously only ‘knew’ online, including Lucy from Black Sheep Wools, and Jenny who edits Crochet Now magazine.
After lunch, several of us ran workshops on various crochet and knitting skills, in my case how to design stranded knitting motifs. My group was the friendliest, loveliest group you could imagine. And it was fascinating to watch every single one of them produce something beautiful, first on paper and then in yarn. Here are all six of them, hard at work:-
They designed motifs ranging from abstract designs to thistles, a monstera leaf, and ampersands. There was so, so, much creativity around that table. I wish I’d plucked up the courage to ask them whether I could photograph their work at the end of the session. The two hours flashed by and far too soon, it was time to say goodbye and hit the road.
Happy birthday, Stylecraft! You produce excellent yarns AND you know how to throw a mighty fine party.