Saturday, September 8

Dream week 2012

I'm almost tempted to put NOT! after that title - not because I didn't enjoy the week, but because I didn't get much sleep, and the one night I did, I managed to have a nightmare about the cat going missing - I was always too hot, too cold. Ruddy insomnia - I can never get the hang of hotel beds somehow, and nothing seems to knock me out. Well, copious alcohol does, but it's not a restful sleep and anyway it wasn't that kind of event!!! Maybe it was just so inspiring that my brain refused to switch off at night?! :)

Decided to do a one-post recap this year, as I didn't have much time to put the laptop on and do a day-by-day breakdown this year.

Well, the week began with my getting to the Crewe area in good time, but then spending an hour trying to find the hotel - himself has borrowed the satnav - and eventually giving up and heading for Metropolitan. I can always find that shop, perhaps it's the yarn-radar?! The poor eyesight doesn't help, as Northwich and Middlewich look very similar to Nantwich on a signpost and all the "wiches" are in that area! It means salt flats, apparently!

The first lecture was a very interesting one about dyeing from Fiona Nisbett, a weaver, spinner and handknitter. Alas I'm not sure there were enough handouts - I did get one sheet, haven't had a chance to look at it yet. Monday night's entertainment was a magician with a difference - he explained the psychology of distraction, but we still can't figure how he made a silk hanky get from his hand into someone's handbag.

Tuesday I had Beryl Jarvis talking about mosaic knitting, and how to design a mosaic pattern and generate a punchcard pattern for it. After lunch it was alternative edgings with Anne Smith - as it was called "Cutting Edge" I have to admit I was expecting cut and sew, but it was quite interesting nonetheless. Lastly a lecture with Iris Bishop - lots of inspirational techniques. Tuesday night it was a fashion show by Clair Crowston. By all accounts, it was a little long - not sure we need to see a garment in more than one colour - but I can't really comment as I went to bed early hoping that a "run up" of a quiet read would help my sleep (it didn't).

Wednesday it was a practical with Beryl - I had decided to do a simple "skull" pattern, and amazingly managed to punch out a card first time with no mistakes (there's a first time for everything!).

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Tuck (top) makes his eyes pop. Slip (bottom) is more square and precise.

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I think you'll agree, the card looks nothing like a skull. Incidentally, the right hand side of that card just knits a waffle stitch pattern which is quite nice as it is! :)

After lunch, it was hands-on with Iris Bishop - she's been experimenting with DK and thicker yarns using tuck lace and knitweave.

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These came out ok although personally I'm not fond of bottle green :)

Last lecture was finishing touches with Anne Smith - this I assumed would be about different making up methods, but turned out to be how to make your garment so interesting that people won't notice the finishing! To be honest, I'm pretty sure this lecture was given as a closer in 2009, when it was how to make certain "standard" cards (ie the ones that come with the machine) more interesting by adding beads, changing colours, etc. I recognised the swatches - somewhat disappointing to have it recycled, because I would have picked something else if I'd realised. Wednesday evening we had an interesting talk by Nick of Uppinghams about the process of sheep to finished garment in the industry - I wasn't going to stay, but it was interesting and informative. They leave the garments with a closed neck until after dyeing, because the machinery would chew it up otherwise.

Thursday I was scheduled for browsing time (Uppingham Yarns being in attendance), so I slipped into Bill King's dimensional knitting lecture. I knew I'd fall off the yarn diet otherwise (sorry Nick!). Bill gave a demo of how to do a short-row "wiggle" that can add interest to the Gold Star cardigan. After lunch it was a hands-on with Clair Crowston, doing alternate edge finishes that don't need a ribber - quite appropriate for me at the moment, as the KH950i is ribberless.

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Top to bottom: Picot edging, "lace" with show-through, lovely ridgy edging made with lace transfers (I love this!) and scalloped edge, which looks padded but isn't!

Lost some time in this lecture as I managed to completely jam the machine at one point and Mark was called, muttering "Vandals!" :) Then it was back to Bill King for manual transfer techniques, where he demonstrated his ingenious method of doing cables without having to cross both sides - basically you leave a gap at one end and move every other cable over. Ingenious and so simple!

Thursday night was the eagerly anticipated fashion show of the garments knitted for Nick of Uppinghams. There were two bags - and 10 jumpers I think. 90% of the jumpers were a great fit - but the last one, ably modelled by Bill King - turned out to be a cropped top designed for a 10 year old girl (I was sitting next to the perpetrator!). Despite making it impossible for an adult to wear it, Bill managed it and camped it up a treat - it barely covered his nipples. Very, very funny - no idea how next year's competition will top that!

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The finished jumper modelled by Nick (see above) was done on a Passap E6000 by Anne Baker. I gather she's sick of the sight of it, so you'll be seeing it at the shows. It contains fairisle of all Nick's interests. I love the little cones of yarn which have "mystery yarns" from previous Dream Weeks. Second prize went to a dark mustard jumper with an all-over garter stitch pattern.

The final lecture on Friday was a talk by Bill and Anne about the history of machine knitting, and how the HP system originated with sewing machines. Apparently Toyota knitting machines were unceremoniously pulled from manufacture when the MD's wife learnt that Toyota weren't number one in the UK market at that point, leaving Jones-Brother and Empisal-Knitmaster-Silver to fight it out. Such a pity, as they were well made and had the Simulknit feature which nobody else had. Bill also showed us an old punchcard - before they were made to work continuously - which meant a great big red STOP line! :)

Good news about the Nottingham show - Harvey Haddon sports centre is being knocked down and rebuilt over the next three years, but the show will run on 14th April 2013 at a new venue, although Alan Hunt is retiring so it will be run by Anne Smith. I hope it doesn't impair the quality of the show, although the venue is smaller so the fashion show won't happen, which is a pity.

Got straight onto the motorway after dropping some folks back to the hotel, and completely forgot to say goodbye to a few people (sorry!). Came home to a lovely bar of white choc and a bottle of wine, courtesy of himself - what a sweetie!

All in all, a very good week! Haven't rebooked yet but pretty sure I will, not least because Ozlorna and Ozism are hoping to be there too.

Got to dash off now as the 'fridge is pretty empty and it's Heritage weekend so I plan on visiting a few places for free whilst the weather is good.

More Dream Week photos here

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