This is pretty restrained, considering.
Yes, yes, I went to classes and learned a phenomenal amount, which is going to be another post this week. But let’s be honest about one of the real draws of Knit Nation: a just-big-enough marketplace (this sounds silly, but I’ve been to full-on knitting shows in exhibition halls, and they’re terrifying and full of novelty crap) with an excellent selection of fiber and notions. Yes, most of it can be found online, but I find the chance to handle yarns I’m not familiar with in person can be enlightening. And, uh, lead to plenty of follow-up online purchases in the future. Oops. Anyway, so I did manage to stay within my budget, and here is my modest (REALLY) haul:
1. One skein of Wollmeise wool yarn in Pine. When I went to the first Knit Nation last year, everyone was wetting themselves over the news that Wollmeise would have its own stall. Wollmeise is a one-woman dyeing operation out of Germany, and people go nuts for it—any online shop updates sell out in seconds, it can go for ludicrous prices on ebay, and people hoard it like it’s the end of the world and Wollmeise is spun from dehydrated potatoes and bullets. I showed up curious, thinking maybe I would buy a few skeins and hock them online for some extra cash. Unfortunately/fortunately, though, Wollmeise is pretty much worth the hype. The yarn is nice and smooth, with great stitch definition. But more than that, the dyes are just incredible—the colors are incredibly intense, unlike pretty much any other yarns I’ve seen. I have a triangle scarf I made for myself from part of last year’s purchases in a few different reds that is one of my favorite projects I’ve ever done. This time I headed to Loop’s stall looking for a nice dark green skein for another scarf, and found it in about four seconds, just chilling at the top of their shelf. I looked around to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, but nope, this was the one. Incidentally, this was the Wollmeise scrum at the opening of the Marketplace Preview:
Run for your lives
I’m not kidding. These knitters will cut a bitch for some Twin.
You get the idea. Just trust me when I tell you I was 1. the picture of self-restraint with my one skein; and 2. thankful to make it out of that melee alive.
2. One skein of indigo-dyed laceweight from Renaissance Dyeing. These guys are another repeat from last year’s Marketplace. I have a kit for a cowl in gradated shades from them, and really like their yarn—it’s soft and really luscious-feeling. Plus, I am a sucker for natural dyes, and this indigo shade is a rich shade after my jewel-color-loving heart. They also do naturally-dyed crewel thread, which makes me want to up my embroidering game.
3. Two skeins of Excelana, for a beret in the forthcoming A Stitch in Time Vol. 2. I have been waiting for this book for ages, but I do think it’s going to be well worth the wait. It was originally supposed to be published near the end of March, but it’s been delayed a few times now because of technical editing and other publishing-type issues. I’d complain, but given that the finished book is going to have something like 75 patterns, I am more than happy to wait for it. I took a class from Susan Crawford at Knit Nation (more on that later) and the samples from the book are pretty breathtaking. I was quite taken with the beige beret on the far left of this picture:
–and so decided to buy some yarn for it in preparation for when the pattern finally drops into my sweaty little paws. I had asked Susan about the yarn requirements for it, then turned to pick out a shade, and as soon as I grabbed the deep grey yarn I heard her behind me give an approving “GOOD!” Turns out both she and the other woman working the stall are knitting the same hat in the same color. I suppose this means we can all wear our matching berets to the next Knit Nation.
4. A skein of Shetland laceweight and a skein of Gotland laceweight, both from Well Manor Farm. This is another hippie-crunchy-granola purchase: this is a small family farm with an emphasis on conservation and preserving heritage breeds. As a vegetarian, the fact that they sell meat makes me a little sad, but I can wholeheartedly get behind conserving traditional British sheep breeds and wool (or in the case of Gotland sheep, British by historical immigration!—Gotland sheep are Swedish originally, but have been imported to the U.K. for a while now). I bought the Gotland skein, a silvery-grey laceweight, on Friday, and on Saturday found myself drifting back through the Marketplace to check out the Shetland colors. Both wools are a little rougher than what we may be used to, but they are wools bred for proper fuck-off Northern winters, and I am planning on getting my money’s worth out of them with a couple solid cowls for when winter really has it out for me.
–And that’s it! Small purchases, but the fact that almost all of them are fingering-weight or thinner means my modest haul actually translates to hours upon hours of knitting time. Plus, having seen the wares now means I’ll be able to order online from my favorite wool shops with confidence. And now that I’ve been writing this blog post and I’ve got all their shop windows open on my laptop anyway, it would really just be rude to not toss some more business their way in this fragile economic climate…right?