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.
Joy Hopkins says
What lovely photos and comments! I was privileged to be a part of your stranded workshop, and I have left with high motivation to create my own personal motifs. Heartfelt thanks for such a pleasurable experience. X
The Twisted Yarn says
Hi Joy, and thank you again for coming to the workshop. It was such a pleasure to meet you. Keep designing, and if you have a moment, I’d be honoured to see more of what you create.
How beautifully you have described your weekend both in words and photographs. It looks like a fabulous location and certainly one that would induce creativity. Love all the round tables and all the colours. The bouquets of yarn idea is inspired. I’m sure anyone would be thrilled with one of those.
Do we gather that Robyn is no longer AWOL? Or is that an old picture? Do hope she is OK.
Thanks for another lovely post.
The Twisted Yarn says
Thank you. Sadly, Robyn remains AWOL. But somebody this weekend told me that robins only live for 12-18 months. I’m working on befriending her children, who are still around, but it’s a slow process!
Thanks for sharing your fun! So many beautiful things. I was admiring the butterflies hanging in the window in the picture where your items are displayed. I looked on the blog and couldn’t find any reference to them. Is there a pattern for them?
The Twisted Yarn says
Hi Sarah, There WILL be a pattern for them, but I designed them for a joint project with a friend that isn’t published yet. Sorry not to be able to send you a link right now!
Jane Sturgeon says
What a lovely post and pictures and joy. Thank you for sharing. X Sending you healing energy, Phil. Xx
Oh that sounds fun!
Everything looked wonderful! The setting is just what I envisioned after seeing tv programs based in that area. The yarns and knitted and crocheted items looked nicely done. Glad you all had a great time making new friends and connecting with those you knew
I just want to knit all the time, but having a garden and a dog means I have to get off the sofa now and then. I go for a minor hand surgery tomorrow and will be in a splint for 2 weeks. I purposely signed up for a KAL that starts the day after surgery just to see if I can do it! The pattern was purchased from https://shetlandmriscannerappeal.com/. The stranded hat is designed by Harriet Middleton to help raise money for an MRI Scanner for the Shetland Island where she lives, making it easier for people instead of having to go to the mainland for that type of testing.
As ever, I so enjoy your blog, like knowing what other places in the world are doing with yarn.
I went to the link for the hat, but didn’t see a way to purchase the pattern… being in the USA I won’t be able to attend the workshop, but I’d like to get the pattern.
Heather Tucker says
Thank you for sharing this with us! It looked liked a very enjoyable weekend!
You definitely captured the essence of the party weekend. Thanks – I felt like I was there too!
Ann Wilson says
Thanks sososo much for sharing – I do hope you are one of those literate persons who know the difference between envy and jealousy so you will know that I am paying you a sincere complement when I say that I envy you for living in such a beautiful country and knowing so much with regard to the needle arts and much more…but finally I thank you with all my heart for sharing it (the photos are delightful) and look forward to more of you and all you do.
Joanne Grace Hortensius says
Lovely post as usual!!
Born To Organize says
What an amazing weekend, even without the helipad. I loved your display, Phil. You are a woman of so many talents. I love this sort of event where like-minded folks gather and share and create in their favorite medium. I can sense that energy from your photos. It’s disappointing to be sick when this sort of thing comes along. I’m sure you made it through, but it would have been nice to have felt 100%.
As for that yarn bouquet…what a clever idea. Alys
Kate Willis says
It was an absolute pleasure to be able to have dinner with you and the other blogstars. We enjoyed every second of the weekend. Hopefully we will meet again in the future ????
The Twisted Yarn says
Yes, absolutely! <3
Love your page, not just because it is about yarn thingies, but because it isn’t!! You add some lovely pictures too of your glorious Oxfordshire countryside. It is a pleasure to read in my inbox. I love the bag of the ‘house’ do you sell that as a pattern at all – I would love to have a go at it.
The Twisted Yarn says
Thank you. The pattern is free, and I wrote it up here: https://thetwistedyarn.com/wp/2015/10/25/the-crochet-cottage-bag-pattern/ . Enjoy.