Back again, nice new glasses, good times with family under the belt.
The Knitting and Stitching Show, in the rather magnificent setting of the Alexandra Palace, was quite something. It served to bring home to one in very real terms that knitting, and stitching, are sedentary occupations, almost exclusively practised by women, many of them of a certain age. When many thousands of these were brought together in one place, moving amongst these jostling multitudes involved a dynamic process of being bounced to and fro by and between generously proportioned bottoms and bosoms. This wasn't necessarily as much fun as it sounds, but humour and good cheer were helpful, and it was by and large a pretty jolly crowd, with merry exchanges between strangers commonplace:
Large girl (swooping and whooping over basket of shiny coloured threads): Oh WOW, look at all the colours... (checks herself looking round) Sorry! (To me) I keep doing this, then getting embarrassed, then realising I'm at the K and S Show, and it doesn't matter!
Me: Yep, you're in a safe space here.
Me (after burbling away for a moment or two to a woman wearing the same colour shirt as my sister): Sorry, I thought you were my sister.
She: That's all right, we're all someone's sister.
The excellent Black Sheep Wools, whose mail order service I sometimes use, had booked a double pitch on the end of an aisle, and filled the centre of it with an enormous unfenced pile of cellophane wrapped bargain packs of all kinds of mass-market yarns which they topped up continuously, and a throng of customers dived and swam about in it uninhibitedly like kids in a ball park.
The number of males we saw, perhaps discounting the vendors, could probably have been counted on two hands, and half of them were in pushchairs. I caught the eye of one larger one as he resolutely trudged behind his female companion, and told him he was a very brave man, at which he laughed and graciously thanked me. We couldn't, we thought, imagine any area of activity, at least of a legal and respectable nature for which one might attend an exhibition or trade show, that would be so massively dominated by men.
There was a vast range of stuff, from a couple of Indian guys on a small corner pitch selling scraps of silk fabric and rough looking skeins of yarn without labels to choice and costly cashmere and qiviut*; there were quite a few stands selling ready made clothes, and a big section largely dedicated to aid organisations and recycling projects. There were plenty of things I could happily walk past with zero interest in their wares.
I spent to the limit I had set myself, and came away with a good haul, including these skeins of recycled fairly-traded, empowering-of-women sari silk, which are remarkably inexpensive, look like they might be the devil to knit with but could produce gorgeous results.
Now I really should do nothing else but sit down and knit all these sumptuous things into sumptuous things.
And here are some useful if not sumptuous things I made earlier: socks for my niece and her chap - his legs and feet are on the left, should you wonder. Hers are Chunky Foot-Ovens, too thick for anything but house socks really, but as she works from home a lot and feels the cold a bit that's OK, and his are Mainly Black; he tends to wear mainly black, my sister once bought him a black t-shirt with the words 'I am wearing mainly black today' in small grey letters on the front, so I made them so that the section normally visible between shoe and trouser would be black, with the lurid colours lurking on the cuffs and toes. To offset the woes of Second Sock Syndrome, whereby one rompses through knitting the first sock with enthusiasm then loses heart at the thought of having to do it all over again a second time, I inverted the colours, as you may see. They seemed pleased with them.
Now, in order to fulfil my self-imposed target of one thousand published posts in seven years of blogging, I have to accomplish twelve posts in eighteen days before my blog-birthday on 3rd November, so I'll be around more frequently but short and (hopefully) sweet is the order of the day, I hope without too many knitting posts. See you soon!
* in fact I didn't really see any qiviut, though I believe there was some there somewhere. It is combed from the belly of the Arctic musk ox exclusively by Eskimos (which they're really called Inuit...).