Hello again, my Fine Fibrous Friends.
Speaking of fibrous, it’s been a blissfully yarny time of late. For the first time since covid trampled on everyone’s plans with all the malevolent energy of an overtired toddler, we’ve had a proper face-to-face meet-up of the Stylecraft Blogstars. Stylecraft did their utmost to keep things Zooming along during the pandemic, but… it wasn’t the same. Absolutely not Stylecraft’s fault at all. They did their very best. Stoopid covid.
Anyway, the weekend before last, a fair few of us met up in person to talk yarn, fondle and sniff yarn (are you spotting a theme?) knit/crochet yarn, share creative ideas, offer opinions on colour combinations for future yarn ranges, plan projects, and consume luscious food/wine (and in my case, green tea – loads and loads and loads of delicious green tea).
Man, it was good to be physically back amongst fellow yarniacs. (It was also a tad humiliating because cancer treatment and perimenopause have done a mean old number on my appearance, so I’m wary of letting anyone see me right now. Let’s all pretend that I still look like the youthful, pre-kids, pre-cancer, headshot in the sidebar of this blog, yeah? I’m upping the exercise to undo the damage, but that’s definitely a work in progress.)
Anyway, back to the yarn. We usually meet at the magnificent old Stylecraft mill in Yorkshire, which is awesome for atmospheric local photographic opportunities. Fingers crossed that we’ll be back there soon. But this time we met at a smart hotel near Birmingham. Here, my friend, is the view that I encountered as I arrived. Not too shabby on a nought-to-unshabby scale. I’ve definitely stayed in worse. Much, much worse. ( <<Shudders>> at a few unpleasant memories.)
This is a very hastily phone-snapped photo, because I was distracted by noticing a parked car with the numberplate K12 TOG just off to the left of this picture. That has to be one of us, I thought, and I was right. But k12tog – is that even physically possible?! Apparently so, the car-owner explained several hours later over drinks. Yarny friends are the coolest friends.
Stylecraft treated us generously, as always. And – as ever – they shared with us the forthcoming additions to their range. I’m not allowed to show you any of these luscious fibres ahead of release, but there’s some very interesting developments due to hit a yarn shop near you some time soon.
Meet-ups also involve a presentation on style predictions for the coming season (colours, garment shapes, textures, etc), based on information from an agency that specializes in determining such things. I find these fascinating. Who determines such trends? How do they know? Would they maybe consider giving me a job? Are their predictions self-fulfilling prophecies, or do they sometimes have to come out and say, “Oops, my bad: I was so sure that monochrome stripes would be the thing this season, but here we all are, wearing our loud-and-proud florals”? Do big world happenings – given that we’ve had far too many of those lately – scupper their predictions? And finally, are they ever tempted to say, “ORANGE WILL BE HUGE THIS SEASON, NEXT SEASON, AND FOREVERMORE,” purely because they personally love orange? It’s sometimes challenging to concentrate on the presentation when all of these questions are swarming in my brain. Not that I’ve ever been on-trend myself, not since I wore fluorescent socks and a “FRANKIE SAYS RELAX” t-shirt some time in the 1980s. Reader, that was probably my fashion peak… or possibly trough.
Yet another cool thing about these meet-ups (have I mentioned that I love them?) is that we usually finish with a workshop on some knitty/hooky skill. This time it was Jane Crowfoot teaching us how to incorporate beads into crochet. Beaded crochet/knitting is something that I’ve long intended to learn, but have never quite got round to exploring. Jane taught us roughly seventy cool tricks in about ninety minutes, so now I’m happy and skilled-up. Thank you Jane. She’s an awesome teacher, just in case you ever get the chance to attend her workshops.
And then, far too soon, it was back home to normality. Reader, I’m scribbling away at this post on the 2nd August, the day when I should have had surgery to, erm, sort out the giant mismatch in boob sizes since I had the cancer lopped off*. (* technical medical term.) But surgery has been delayed. It’s OK. I understand. I guess they’re rightly prioritising someone who needs her own cancerous blob hacked away, and I’d hate to be ahead of that person in the queue. But it’s also a little frustrating because I’d prepared my own patients for the fact that I’d be absent for a while (though obviously not telling them the reason!) and I’d sorted childcare, etc etc. Ah well. It’s been rescheduled for the 16th August, so there’s not long to wait. And – you’ll be sick of me making this joke by now – once it’s done, I’ll no longer be prone to listing to the left and lopsidedly tracing circles every time I go for a run.
On a happier note, what’s this that plopped through the letterbox onto the hall floor this morning?
A smart magazine, full of beautiful patterns… but written entirely in Finnish – a language of which I speak only a handful of words, after many exchange visits with my Finnish friend Anne-Mari. But what’s this on pages 6-7? In each edition, they feature an interview with a chosen designer, and, well, look!
You may not be completely fluent in Finnish (it’s a complex language), but the gist of the text is: yarn good, complexity good, creative playfulness good, steeking easy, covid/cancer/Brexit bad.
Their photos of the cardigan that I designed for them are awesome.
And then of course there’s the pattern, which I’ve partially obscured since you’re doubtless near-fluent in Finnish.
So yeah. Get your yarny self down to some Finnish lessons if you want to benefit from this beautiful publication. (The other patterns are fabulous.) Or, if you just want to make the cardigan, I’m allowed to publish it on my own site in three months’ time. Yay! Novita has been an absolute dream to work with, and I’ve got a dress pattern due out in their autumn edition in a few months’ time.
And on that note, I’d better get on with finishing the pattern in question.
Happy yarnery, people.