Wednesday, September 11

Metropolitan Dream Week 2013

Well, the decorating has continued apiece, interspersed with another trip to Holland for work - they're bringing in a new method of using the CAD system which I needed instruction in. 

So I started packing Sunday night and had mostly nailed it by the morning - when I woke up feeling nauseous and with an upset stomach. I hadn't sleep that well, which always disrupts my tummy, but even G's aftershave was making me feel nauseous. By the time I realised it was more serious, it was waaaay too late to cancel, as the Ozzy contingent (OzLorna and Ozisim) were already on the road from London. If I'd not been going to Dream Week, I would have been home off sick anyway. We made it to the hotel in good time and I decided to skip the first lecture and stay in my room - a pity, because it was Tony Bennett from Australia (Dormani Yarns)  talking about plating which is an oft-overlooked technique machine knitters can use to stabilize unruly yarns. I emerged for dinner feeling thoroughly wretched, and managed a bit of melon, some fish and some veg, and then went back to my room. All I really wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep!

Tuesday I felt a little better, and I was determined I wasn't going to spend the whole week stuck in the hotel. Tony showed us some fascinating techniques using wrapping on the machine, plus how to do a flat seam to make a garment reversible. Iris Bishop talked us through her recent work, including more variations on "travelling" stitches that appear to cross needles out of work. In the afternoon Ann Baker took "Passap for the Petrified" and was surprised to see me - however, I learnt two new tricks! She lays a ravel cord after the first zigzag row when working on both beds. This cord is left in until the garment pieces are all finished, and  a tug at both ends straightens the bottom of the welt. Also she uses an orange stripper to hold down the work between the beds when she's transferring between beds and casting off. 

Wednesday Carl Boyd took sweater design. The first half an hour was rather tense, as he admitted he'd gone back on chemo that week and he was so unsteady on his feet and in his thinking that he struggled. Luckily the medications started to kick in and he explained how to calculate a jumper yourself from a tension swatch and measurements taken from a favourite sweater. The surprise lecture was also Carl, doing cut and sew. In the afternoon I had a talk on Designaknit 8 from Matthew Bragg, the programmer. Although I don't have the software I am fascinated as to how it works and it's on my list as a someday purchase (it's the price of the cables I'd need that's holding me back). Wednesday night I had about three mouthfuls of the main course, but couldn't resist the "sticky toffee eton mess". I regretted it about an hour later - when recovering from food poisoning, one must avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar - so I was teetotal all week and stuck to herbal teas mostly. But I defy any woman to resist pudding!

Iris Bishop workshop swatch01

Thursday it was Ann again, with some fascinating samples using a basic pattern (card 1 elongated) and various techniques, to see what the differences were. After lunch I had hands on with Iris Bishop, and made two samples. One was of the travelling stitches, needles out of work and cables (see above) and one was a kind of leaf shape with needles out of work and twisted bars (I need to photograph that one). Then Tony gave a talk on his inspirations for various garments and had us all oohing and aahing over some of his prize-winning garments. Thursday evening is always the competition night, and it was the first night I managed to do justice to the food for once (my appetite now mostly returned). I made an attempt at the Bill King cardigan earlier on in the year, planning to work on it some more, but time got away from me. It's possibly a testament to Bill's design that most folks had stuck pretty closely to the pattern. My favourite design was Bev's, brought from Oz by Ozisim, and it was an all-in-one long top in red with a black belt. It looked fantastic on Ozisim, who is very tall! Randi from Norway submitted two designs which both came second - a black one with white stripes, and a multi-coloured one. Rachel won first prize for hers which was in fun fur. The other garment was a simple evening top in four pieces - two rectangles and two sleeves. Both winners nearly didn't bring their garments because they didn't think they were good enough, so it just goes to show! I had got as far as buying yarn for this garment and had planned a probably gaudy monstrosity in black with knitweave rainbow yarns, but I suspect it would have been too much even for me! Whilst the judging was taking place, the tutors all mysteriously disappeared, only to reappear wearing various sample garments and posing like fashion models. Bill obligingly removed his wraps (made of swatches pinned to yarn like bunting) to reveal a slinky little cardigan which he proceeded to flick in someone's face like a stripper. It was absolutely hilarious and had us all weeping with laughter. 

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My entry - yeah, not great is it? Model couldn't decide which way out it was, and neither could I!

Friday morning the humid/sunny weather broke and we awoke to light drizzle and a definite colder feel to the air. The final lecture was arranged ad hoc as the planned speaker missed her train - however, the remaining lecturers more than made up for it. Tony demonstrated his half-hour wrap (a kind of shawl in the shape of the Star Trek upside-down V I guess), Bill talked about his early days as a knitwear designer in London, Anne of MKM told us a hilarious tale about a past exhibition, and Iris talked about some other garments she's been working on lately. After farewells, we got back on the road and headed up to Fairfield Yarns to have a look at the millshop. The chap there sells mill ends (all unrepeatable) from various mills when they go out of business. He also makes tape yarns using repurposed shoelace knitting machines, and gave me a demonstration - they look very like automated versions of the Hague cord knitter but with a motor and pull-down wheels. He had some industrial circular knitting machines downstairs and had me fascinated and saddened with his tales of factories shut down and equipment wilfully damaged and sent for scrap. He also collects old metal shop and railway signs. I had donated some yarn to Ruddington at the beginning of the week, so my stash briefly went down a little, so I felt justified in getting some more yarn and probably "broke even". Ozlorna found her choices easy as she flies home tomorrow and has limited space, whilst Ozisim had to put a few things back. I refused to be strapped to the roof so she could buy more yarn, and although I got attacked by the odd cone later on there was still quite some room left. We had vague plans to pop into Black Sheep Wools on the way back but decided we were out of time and drove straight back out into the Manchester rush hour, hoo boy! Once we escaped that there were no further hold ups, and we got back to mine (stills sans sofa!) around 9pm for a well-deserved cuppa. Many thanks to Ozlorna for keeping us all entertained in the car, and to Ozisim for all the driving (we didn't find the handbrake until the last but one stop - fancy-pants cars, bah!). It was much appreciated and turned what could have been a disastrous week into a fun one. I'm so glad I didn't stay home! :)

Picture 212
One of Randy's - I loved this one!

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Another of my faves, this is Bev's. Apologies for the poor picture, my camera decided to focus on a fellow knitter's arm so I've have to tweak it a lot for it to show up at all. 

The Fairfield yarn stash:

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Ozisim spotted this first but graciously gave it to me - it's a mohair loop yarn and is a complete b*tch to knit on the standard gauge. But it's soo pretty! :)

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Some sort of wool mix with lurex. Very pretty, but the standard gauge nearly choked on it. 

Picture 225
This is some sort of wool and just about knits at T9. It felt horrible knitted, but after a wash it's really nice.

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