I think I had some kind of expectation that after the I Knit Fandango, I would have a bit of breathing room to take a bit of a break and a step back, make a plan for the next few months, and see how things were playing out in my fiber/knitting world. However, that does not seem to be the case! In fact, it seems like the Fandango has kicked off a wild assortment of woolly activities, none of which show any signs of abating any time soon!

The show was lovely - a gorgeous space with tons of natural light, lots of interesting and talented vendors, and lovely visitors.

I had a lovely time meeting old and new friends, converting a few "I've tried a drop spindle before and I was rubbish!" folks into "Wow, that's not actually as difficult as I remembered" new spinners, and generally chatting up anyone and everyone I could get my hands on. Some of the folks I met include Bogga, CC from the Geeky Girls Knit Podcast/Java Purl Designs, Sam from KnitrundigLouise Tilbrook, Shamu Makes (who was my next door neighbor), the lovely ladies at Purl Alpacas, and many, many more. Thanks to everyone who came out to the show and stopped by to say hello and pet the fibre - it was lovely to meet you all!

What's coming next: I had a sudden realisation on Sunday that I had a deadline fast approaching, so I've been knitting like the wind (to quote Brenda) to try and get that sorted out. I've been happily dyeing up more of the Limited Edition Tour de Fleece colorways for July, and thinking about getting the Porpoise Fur team up and running again. I've been spending some serious cuddle time with the Wee Dog, who was thourougly unimpressed by my disappearing for two entire days and abandoning him.

Couch selfie with grumpy Cavalier

Couch selfie with grumpy Cavalier

So...were you at the Fandango? Did you enjoy it? What did you get? Share your lovely new goodies and tell me what you're going to make with them...I managed to make it out of there with only a project bag and a gradient blank from Shamu Makes, but I know that others out there did Quite Well on the stash enhancement front.

You can see a bit of the sparkle in the yarn!

You can see a bit of the sparkle in the yarn!

Coming up soon - more Design Diaries, as I enter the test knitting and tech editing waters, more deadline knitting that sadly can't be shared, and hopefully a bit of spinning as we get on towards the excitement of July. And of course, I'll be at Fibre East at the end of July, so it's quite likely I'll be on the dyeing roundabout again all too soon!

Deadlines are very helpful

So. Strangely enough, writing down that I was going to write up that pattern and post an update by this morning meant that yesterday I actually sat down and wrote up the pattern. It's in a rough form, and I need to add the charts, but it is written. A few photos, a bit more formatting, and I can send it off to the tech editor. Accountability works: who knew? 

I'm finding impending deadlines to be really useful in other parts of my crafting life too. In just under three weeks, Porpoise Fur is going to be exhibiting at its first show, the I Knit Fandango. So I've been dyeing like a mad woman (it's amazing how much I can dye when I have a schedule, a plan and - oh yeah! - a deadline), and also trying to knit up some samples for the booth to show off the spun up fiber. On Saturday morning, I cast off and promptly blocked what might be the world's biggest Nymphalidea.

This is knit out of handspun Shetland in "Clotted Cream" and "Yellow Fluorescent Protein". I spun this yarn last year, as part of the Porpoise Fur Two-Color Shawl SAL/KAL (which has sadly gone very quiet over on Ravelry, but I'm going to be resurrecting it ASAP), and finally cast on about a week and a half ago. It flew off the needles, once I decided which color combo to do (yellow welts with white lace, or white welts with yellow lace). 

Yesterday, I started up my second handspun Porpoise Fur Shawl - Penrose Tile, in The Far Pavillions and London Fog, also on Shetland. Bliss...

And so it begins, with Unravel

This past weekend was the start of the Wool Festival Season here in the UK, and as always, it was a complete pleasure to make the journey down the A3 to Farnham for the wonderful Unravel, held at Farnham Maltings.

It's hard to convey the feeling I had sitting down on the train at 9:15 on Sunday morning with my mum, Allison, and her mum, knowing that I was going to spend the day surrounded by wool and color and creativity. We arrived just after ten, and after a brief photo shoot of Alli's finished Munchkin Baby Blanket, we headed in to the show.

Let me just get this out of the way now, since everyone wants to know: how much did I get?

That's 300 g of fiber from John Arbon (100 g each of Exmoor Blueface, Exmoor Horn, and an Exmoor Blueface/Zwarbtles blend). There were two skeins of Canopy Fingering from The Fiber Company (yarn support so it doesn't count as stash enhancement, right?) and a pile of shade cards for their different yarn lines which have my designer brain jumping up and down in glee. I also managed to snag an old needle gauge/row counter from Eliza Conway. Plus a lovely shawl pin from Textile Garden. Not pictured is my lovely poster of all the different varieties of colors and markings in Shetland sheep, from Judy Hardman.

More important then the buying were the people. We talked to people we'd like to see at the Yarn in the City Pop Up Marketplace in September, we talked to old friends and to (hopefully) new ones. I looked at lots of stalls to get inspiration for my upcoming Porpoise Fur stall at I Knit Fandango in May. I feel like I spent most of my time gabbing with people, but I came away from the show with lots of excitement and inspiration and full of creative energy. What could be better?

GLYC 2014 recap

Well. It's now been just over a week since the 2014 edition of the Great London Yarn Crawl, and I think we're finally caught up on all the thank yous and updates that we've needed to do.

It was an amazing day. I went off in the morning to St. Margarets to meet up with a couple of the teams before they went to Mrs. Moon.

After sending off Teams Swaledale and Suffolk on their GLYC journey, i came home and finished packing up all the door prize goodies that needed to get to King's Cross. Then I went off into town to visit Wild & Woolly in Clapton. Somehow I managed to get absolutely no photos at all of this lovely little shop, but I did get some yarn...

Then it was a rapid shuffle back to The Parcel Yard to help get everything set up for the after party. It was absolutely incredible. I was stationed on the table for raffle tickets, with the prize basket prominently displayed. I wasn't really expecting too much in the way of knitted donations, because I hadn't seen much chatter on the boards, and, well, people are busy. Boy was I wrong!

My new yarn, taking in the view of the King's Cross platforms before the party starts. This is going to become something gorgeous and lacy and good for snuggling with on cold autumn mornings....

My new yarn, taking in the view of the King's Cross platforms before the party starts. This is going to become something gorgeous and lacy and good for snuggling with on cold autumn mornings....

The above is only part of the knitted donated goods we collected. All together, GLYC participants knit 149 items for Refuge, and the event in total raised £812, almost three times the amount raised last year. Unbelievable!

Lots of other people have shared their thoughts and experiences on GLYC 2014 - if you check out the GLYC Media page, you should find links to lots of blog posts and podcasts.

Thank you again to so many people for making the event such a huge success: the shops, our sponsors, our fantastic and enthusiastic volunteers, and all of the participants who came out, hauled their cookies around London for an entire day, and still managed to have the energy to come have a drink and show off their goodies at the after party. We'll see you all next year!

Building a community

The second annual Great London Yarn Crawl kicks off tomorrow, and amidst all the chaos and last minute firefighting and excitement leading up to the day, I've been thinking about why Allison and I organise this brouhaha, and what it's come to mean to me.

When we started off, we decided that we wanted to create something that was about the community of knitters that we are a part of, and about trying to bring that community together for some real life interaction. I find that much of my interactions with other fiber/yarn people takes place online. God bless Ravelry, which has put millions of like-minded individuals in touch with each other all over the world, but it doesn't provide the same sort of connection that meeting up with people in the here and now. The GLYC is a way for people to come together and make new friends, find new shops to enjoy in the future, and discover new independent vendors and designers who have been so incredibly generous in their sponsorship (from left to right below: Kettle Yarn Co, Rock + Purl, Countess Ablaze, Artesano Yarns,  and Tin Can Knits).

This year's GLYC has expanded from 6 routes to 8, added four new shops that we're really excited about, and has, once again, a vast pile of goodies to give away at the after party, this year sponsored by Pom Pom Quarterly. In fact, we have so many goodies that we've been able to pull together a Grand Prize basket to be given away tomorrow night in a raffle designed to raise even more funds for our charity partner, Refuge.

This year we also sold out the event, which means that over 100 eager knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers and sewists will be taking to the London streets tomorrow on a whirlwind adventure!

I've got a little contribution of my own to this community building event: my latest pattern is ready to be published today. This was originally submitted to the Unwind Brighton design contest, and I'm thrilled that it's finally ready to be released. Meet the Brighton Dome Socks.

Brighton Dome socks

Brighton Dome socks

To celebrate the release of the pattern (finally!) and tomorrow's GLYC extravaganza, I'm going to give this pattern away for free from now until midnight tomorrow, 20 September 2014. Simply go to the Ravelry pattern page, add the pattern to your cart, and put "GLYC2014" in the coupon code box - voila! Free sock pattern!

Please note: this offer will end automatically at midnight on 20 September, so don't forget! And if you're on the Yarn Crawl tomorrow, pick up some lovely high twist sock yarn to knit these babies up for the coming cold weather.

I'm looking forward to an exhausting and exhilarating day tomorrow, and to enjoying some time with my community. See you there?