After a crappy Wool Week spent entirely at work and barely knitting because tired, I went to the Fair Isle class at John Lewis Oxford Street yesterday evening. I was a bit scared because a) people and b) I hadn’t actually received any confirmation that I’d booked, although I’d emailed them to register on Monday. I couldn’t find a contact number anywhere so I just emailed them again Friday afternoon and hoped I wouldn’t get kicked out.
I got the Tube to Oxford Circus, all the while thinking “Why don’t I go out in London more? Why do I never come in to the city?” then as I walked out of the subway “Oh yeah. That’s why.” I couldn’t see a thing because everyone is taller than me and there was nowhere to stand still and check my map because everyone was moving, and pushing and shoving me along with them. I found my footing and swam through the people until I emerged next to a young man beatboxing into a microphone. I took advantage of the wide berth people were giving him (beatboxing doesn’t scare me) and checked my map. After a lot of standing on tiptoes and rotating my phone around trying to get my bearings I realised which of the four roads I needed to go down, and started heading towards John Lewis.
As I approached I took this ninja picture. I would’ve gotten a better one but I was embarrassed about the nice lady seeing me standing their photographing her like a chimp.
I found my way up to where the class was taking place. Predictably my name was “not on the list” so I had to wait to see if the class filled up. To this day I’m not sure what I was supposed to do about this. I’m not having a go, but I sent two emails and got no response. It was lucky that some people didn’t show, otherwise they would have asked me to leave and I would have been very upset, since it was not exactly my fault that no one responded to me. Anyway, no harm no foul. The class was taught by Sue Stratford (designer of sweaters and very cute things) who is a great teacher and a very sweet woman. She basically told me and showed me all the reasons my stranded colourwork looks terrible! I explained the pinching in at the sides, stitches leaning to the sides, random floats visible from the right side, and Sue and Becky (I think it was Becky? I didn’t actually really get anyone’s names to be honest) were really helpful. Each member of the class got a bit of yarn (Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran thank you very much) and a pattern that features both stranded and intarsia. So not only is my stranded loads better, but I now know how to do intarsia! Here are my unblocked, unseamed “Nordic Mitts”.
I’m still not the best at Fair Isle, but this is aran weight yarn so the stitches are going to be a little big. The reindeer gets a little nose as well, in the form of a French knot. So all I have to do is find out what a French knot is and how to do it! More learning abound!
I had a quick look in the haberdashery section before I went home, to see if there were any fabulous Wool Week bargains!
Yesterday I learned their yarn section is big. Big and expensive, very expensive.
After buying nothing for a change I headed back out to the station, and just before I entered the subway again, I saw this nifty display in H & M to celebrate Wool Week! I had to take one step past the entrance of the shop, take the photo quickly then run off because the security guard was looking at me. I don’t know if I’ve ever given this impression before, but it may surprise you all to learn that I’m pretty shy and awkward.
So I went back to the station and jumped on the train home, knitting the second attempt of a cowl I’ve been trying to make (from 100% wool of course, namely Texere Olympia I got back in March), thinking my excitement for the day was over. Not so. A couple of weeks ago I entered a Twitter contest that Ruth Garcia-Alcantud was holding, and I was one of three winners! I excitedly sent her my email address and promptly forgot about it I came home to a package for me! I never get packages! It contained this:
The book is a collection of Knit Now patterns and the yarn is BabyLongLegs Perfection Lace – very aptly named. And how did you know my favourite colour Ruth?
One of the patterns from the book is Twinkle Twinkle, a pretty lace light cardigan. And the yarn included is enough to make it! My heart leapt and I started reaching for my needles. BUT…
I love the cardigan, it is gorgeous and delicate and feminine and pretty. Here’s the problem – I’m not. Or rather, my style isn’t. I would make that cardigan and it would sit in a closet, I don’t have anything for it to “go” with.
This is something I have just recently started analysing with my knits. If I’m making something for myself, it needs to go with stuff I already own before I invest the time. My first sweater – Kirsten Kapur’s Que Sera in bright, rich purple, gets worn about 3 times a year for this reason. I have barely any other clothes that go with it. (And also because it still has no buttons and the sleeves are a bit too short, but give me a break, it was my first sweater!)
So I’ll use this beautiful yarn for something else. I am so excited to use it, and explore the rest of the patterns in the book. Thanks Ruth, you are amazing. So it seems only fitting that I dedicate my blog’s first REGULAR FEATURE!!! (more to follow) to one of her designs. Her twitter is here and her website is here.