Knit Nation, London, July 2010

Knit Nation. I wish every nation was full of knitters, then we would have world peace, solutions to all problems and lots more smiling happy people in the world. There would also be a lot more sheep but then that's a small price to pay. I'm just back from Knit Nation in London and I had the most fabulous two days and I'm now sure that knitters are the nicest people.

I got a plane early on Friday morning to Gatwick and got some trains and ended up arriving at Imperial College, the Knit nation venue just in time for the opening of the marketplace at 11.00. Most of the knitters in the queue made a beeline for the Wollmeise stand. I decided to join them for a look. I heard an Irish accent and recognised Jo from Celtic Memory Yarns. I said hello and we chatted while she was deciding what colours to buy I hope you got some you loved Jo! I bought two skeins just in case they all sold out but I needn't have worried as there was loads. Wollmeise is a phenomenon, the web shop sells out like lightening every time there is an update. Having seen all the colours all at once I will say that some of the hype is definitely justified. The colours are bright, clear and well separated. Having tried some dyeing myself I can appreciate that it's amazingly well done. I got two skeins. One is a beautiful autumnal skein called Paul which may grow up to be a clapotis. The other was a mostly purple yarn called grapes for sheri. I have no plans for it yet but I seem to be on a shawl roll recently so it may end up being another one. 

I then went to the p/hop. P/hop stands for pennies per hour of pleasure and is raising money for the wonderful Medecins Sans Frontieres. Various designers have donated patterns and you donate money based on the hours of pleasure you get from the pattern. At the stand I met Clare who I have known online for some time, she helps out p/hop in the UK. I love meeting people that I know from the web though it can be funny as you try to explain who you are. Maybe there will be new etiquette books explaining how to deal with these situations.  Clare very kindly offered that I could stay with her Friday night so thanks a million for that Clare. At her place I had the privilege of meeting the black cat, if you follow Clare's blog or twitter you will have heard of the black cat that visits her. He's a funny cat who came over and immediately demanded attention from me.

At lunch I met Sinead who had been at a sock knitting class with the famous Cookie A for the morning. We did some yarn shopping and got some food. Then it was off to meet yet another generous and fabulous knitter, L. On Ravelry I had complained that I didn't know I needed a wheel for my class and L offered to lend me hers as she was taking a class that morning and didn't need the wheel for the afternoon. So a big thanks to L if you're reading this. I could have done the class with no wheel but it was much better to have one.

The class teacher was Judith Mackenzie McCuin and she is a spinning genius. I learned more about spinning in the three hours of this class than I have in the last few months of spinning combined. Judith explained all about how spinning wheels work and all the tricks that you can do to make them work at their peak. She then explained how to make the spinning wheel do the work for you. Most spinners produce a default yarn meaning that they draft and treadle at a certain rate which then produces a certain weight yarn. I definitely do this and recently I've been trying to produce different yarn and was advised that I would have to treadle faster and draft finer to produce a laceweight yarn and I wasn't very successful at it. Judith says that you can't change your default yarn and when you get to that stage that it's a good time to learn what she teaches so it seems I took this class at the right moment.

She got us to use the wheel to change the yarn we produced so by changing settings on the ratios and brake band we were able to get different weights of yarn as you can see in the picture. I didn't change how fast I treadled or how fast I drafted to produce all these different yarns I just changed the wheel set up. Well it was like a light bulb went off in my head. It was like I didn't really know how to spin at all before this class. I now have a much better understanding of how my wheel works and how to use it. It was a fantastic class and well worth going to London to take it. Judith is a legend. 

After all that excitement it was time for dinner and pints with Sinead and Viola. We had great fun in the pub and there was even Fuller's London Pride on cask for me. After that I met up with Clare and some knitters I know from twitter so it was great to met them in person.

Now to shw you all the rest of my shopping loot. The marketplace was really well set up just like the whole event. It all ran so well and so smoothly. Well done to all the organizers and volunteers. I got my two skeins of Wollmeise. I got a skein of green laceweight from Krafty Koala. From Juno Fiber Arts I got some dyed Wensleydale and Teeswater fiber, I haven't tried either before. From Baby Long Legs I got some lovely smoky blue BFL fiber. From John Arbon I got some undyed yarn so I can play around with some dyeing. I also got an issue of Inside Crochet which you can't get in Ireland for some reason and a Knit Nation bag. The Loop bag was free. I also met the lovely Ysolda Teague and tried on some of her designs. I got a snap with her in her fun photo both too. 

On Saturday I dropped back into Knit Nation for a bit before I went to meet A from Impy Malting. I made a detour to the Hummingbird bakery for a delicious cupcake and some coffee. Impy and I had a great chat over some tasty beers at the Market Porter. It's great to go out with someone local like Impy, I'd never have found these great beer pubs on my own. I really liked the Harvey’s Bitter being in the mood for light hoppy beers at the moment. I don't know why but dark complex beers just aren't my thing at the moment, maybe it's the weather. The pub was busy but we got a seat and talked life, beer and knitting. Us knitting, brewing, beer blogging girls have to stick together you know.

We then headed to The Rake which is the beer pub you always hear about on UK beer blogs. They have a cool selection of beers on cask and many in bottles. I looked at their bottled selection and was surprised at how many of them are available in pubs in Dublin like The Bull and Castle, The Porterhouse and L. Mulligan Grocer and the quality off licenses. I always think that in the UK you can get lots more beer than here, it just shows how much the selection in Dublin has improved in recent times. For US and Belgian beer we're actually pretty well served. Of course we don't get as many English ales or cask beers which is a pity. Sadly I couldn't stay long and being sensible left for my train back to the airport in plenty time. Thanks Impy and hopefully I can return the favour with beer tour of Dublin soon. All in all it was the most fabulous two days. Knit Nation? Definitely. 

More photos of the trip are here. I apologize for the quality of some of them. Usually this is where I say I took them on my phone not my camera but this time the reverse is true. My camera isn't focusing properly and seems to be crap with knitting things, maybe it's the colours. The ones I took when I got home with the phone are much better. 

8 Responses to "Knit Nation, London, July 2010" (Leave A Comment)

Sinéad says
August 3, 2010 at 7:52 AM

Great post! it was fun, wasn't it. Thanks for the company for dinner & beers, it was good craic! We must do it again soon. Oh, and good haul! I think you bought more than me :)

sheknitupthat says
August 3, 2010 at 8:09 AM


Woolly Bits says
August 3, 2010 at 8:18 AM

thanks for that entry - couldn't make it myself! you didn't buy all that much though:))
btw - a friend of mine asked at eason's (in castlebar though) if they could order the inside crochet for her regularly - and they said no problem! so other shops must be able to order it in esp. too?

SpinMeAYarn says
August 3, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Hi, i have been reading your blog, oh for about a week now, hope you don't mind, and just wanteed to say that it sounds like you had a great time at Knit Nation, and checking out the beers across the water...
lucky you....
a newbie on ravelry, which is where I found you,
liz, aka zileoco

TBunny says
August 4, 2010 at 8:02 AM

Deadly post, I'm so upset i couldn't make it but theres always next year.

Anonymous says
August 5, 2010 at 5:07 AM

It was a pleasure! Lovely to meet you - and thanks so much for the beautiful wool! :)

Lisa x

Averil says
August 10, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Wow! I am so jealous. It sounds like you'd a great time. Just to say I saw Inside Crochet in a few places in my recent travels round Ireland. Check out Reads, opp Trinity college, as they def had it.

Clasheen says
August 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM

WOW, this must have been like a fibre addicts heaven!