Knitting and Stitching Show 2018, Harrogate

From November 22nd to 25th, Harrogate Convention Centre was transformed to a den of fibre and fluff for the annual Knitting and Stitching Show. For those of you not familiar with the Knitting and Stitching Show, it’s a convention hosted at several sites in the UK, with the biggest being at Alexandrea Palace in London, features teams of suppliers, workshops and demonstrations for all things knitting and stitching.

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The Black Squirrel, Berkeley

After a visit to Stonemountain & Daughters Fabrics, I headed towards the water and The Black Squirrel, a store promising yarn, fabric and excellent design. This was not the most logical way to do my trip (I should have headed to Lacis first as it’s less than a fifteen minute walk from Stonemountain) but I didn’t realise this until afterwards. Poor planning on my part! I was curious though to see exactly what The Black Squirrel was all about.

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Speckled Socks

After trying some ice dyeing and really enjoying the results, I though I’d give a try to a combination of speckle dyeing and painting. Normally I tend to dye fibre to spin but it’s a little bit hard to maintain defined spots of colour in the spinning process, plus, while handspun definitely has it charms, there’s a lot to be said for the near perfect regularity of mill-spun yarn.

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The Sea Monster

I’m going to be participating in Spinzilla this year, which is a global event where the sole goal is to spin as much yarn as possible. Of course there’s plenty of silly events to be enjoyed too, like photo challenges, and the general, good social atmosphere to be enjoyed with these big events. Spinzilla will be running 3 – 9th October this year and registration is still open until the end of September if you want to join in!

I very much doubt I’ll be winning any competitions for most spun but I thought it’d be good to get a bit of practice in before the start of Spinzilla. Plus, this poor silk top has been sat, half-spun, for far too long. I’ve even got a pattern picked and needles prepped for the final yarn…

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Taking Stock

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August was supposed to be the month of working on some of my big projects, like my two large embroideries, but it seems to be the case that life is very much what happens when you’re busy trying to make plans.

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Boston Yarn, Fish and Beads

Considering that there is a non-zero probability that I will combust at temperatures greater than 23℃, I do seem to spend my summers in some dreadful locations. This summer’s treat was heading off to Boston, Massachusetts because I was feeling terribly homesick for Kyoto’s hellish, humid summers.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the States and longer still since I’ve been to Boston. I was looking forward to seeing what parts I could remember and of course, visiting somewhere new means getting on the yarn shop trail.

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Bochum, Craft Shops and Mittens

On my recent adventures I passed through the Germany city of Bochum, located in the Ruhr region. Bochum isn’t your usual tourist destination, mostly because it has a reputation for being an incredibly ugly place. This is even more of a damning criticism when you consider that Bochum is located in the industrial heartland of Germany.

I have been to the nearby cities of Dortmund and Dusseldorf before, so I came to Bochum with rather low expectations. However, once you’ve escaped the immediate vicinity of the central train station, the city that awaits came as something of a surprise.

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During World War II, as this region was part of the centre for arms manufacture, both Bochum and many surrounding cities were nearly completely destroyed. A scant few buildings survived, including Mutter Wittig, now a restaurant, and Altes Brauhaus Rietkötter, which is awaiting re-opening for its new purpose in life.

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