I was delighted to be invited to this annual event again, and this year I decided I wanted to be a student and not a teacher. Nothing against teaching of course, just that I've done it quite a few times now and as I've not really gone much out of my own comfort zone, I'm not sure what I could teach that most haven't already seen!
I picked up my friend P and we got there without incident. We're only 50 minutes away from the venue, so were somewhat early. We couldn't get into the conference rooms to unload because the hotel was hosting cabin crew examinations (which we were warned about). So we spent what felt like ages in the bar chatting, surrounded by some very noisy twenty-somethings doing the same! I seemed to be in the same room as last year, but luckily the lock had been replaced so that it actually locked and unlocked consistantly. I only seemed to have the one bedside lamp with a bulb, so I swiftly swapped it to my preferred side of the bed!
In the end I ate an instant noodle I'd brought with me, because time was getting on and I need to take medication at certain times of the day. Whilst P had her dinner I unloaded our gear from the car and parked up again, and she came and we got set up and somewhat organised for the morrow. The hotel wifi was down all weekend (and I was a long way from reception) so I used up my free credit. Glad I didn't bother taking my laptop now!
On Saturday morning, I spent the morning chatting with P and E and catching up with other familiar friends, whilst attempting to make what I thought would be one of my fairly straightforward tube socks. Oh dear! The yarn kept not knitting (I knit my socks pretty tight on the 72 cylinder). It's not a yarn I've used before (I don't think those sellers turned up this year) - it looked thinner but was perhaps more tightly spun. The Wool Wagon arrived and I accidentally bought more yarn from both them and H (aka The Sock Doc). I learned an ingenious way to park the ribber needles whilst working a heel on a ribbed sock, which will enable me to see where I'm hanging the heel fork. It's soo clever and obvious, I wish I'd thought of it myself. Meanwhile, P had lots of help knitting a ribbed sock from another friend. I also attended an interesting talk on calf shaping, where the ribber is set to 1/3 or 2/3 pitch so that extra needles are added at the start - ie, 4x1 for the front half of the cylinder - and how to do that without getting holes, and then to return them to 3x1 to make different calf shapings. Fascinating and not something I'd ever come across before. It is mostly fully fashioned shaping, as done on flat bed domestic knitting machines - but not something I've ever considered attempting on my CSM for some reason! By the end of the day I'd managed a pair of the tube socks in the misbehaving yarn, and most of one sock in Drops Delight, which I understand is discontinued?! Ugh, another lovely yarn I won't be able to get soon. Rats.
I had a quick walk before dinner just because I needed some fresh air, then came back and glammed up for the evening meal. The food was great but the conversation turned to deaths of pets so I made my excuses and got a drink, because the following day was annniversary of the day we had Thomas euthanised and I needed to not think about that too much! I got a very nice white wine spritzer, with hibiscus blossom and star anise in the top, and caught up with the lady who runs the ex-Metropolitan correspondance courses and Eric of the amazing 3D printed CSM items.
I awoke too early on Sunday, after a nightmare where everyone was persecuting me. No idea what that was about, just that my sweetie wasn't on my side either, which was the only thing that really upset me! On and off I supervised P in making a 2nd sock to match her first one. We got into a few pickles, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. I watched the jacquard patterning Reader CSM, which uses a flying saucer shaped patterning attachment containing little metal jacks, set at an angle, to automatically knit two coloured socks. It took the convention organisers quite some time to figure out how to program it - the disc has a different number of pins to the CSM itself, enabling you to knit 12 row repeated patterns. Initially a colour is "tucked" ie it floats in front, but then it gets flipped over to the inside as for fairisle so becomes a slip. Ingenious! I also attended a talk on russian joins and scrappy socks (probably more fun to knit socks from scraps than use them for granny squares as is my current wont), and another on manual tuck techniques and using holding position to knit in different colours.
A lady was trying to auction off some CSMs - I thought the asking price was a little high compared to last year, but then I have a machine so my interest is always academic (and I stay well off ebay normally). I think she sold three in the end. There were some lovely competition entries. Nope, the socks in the last post didn't win - I didn't realise, but one sock being longer is dead obvious when it includes zigzag lace transfers, whoops! The winners were all worthy and I've already enjoyed wearing my lacey socks anyway.
All in all a good weekend - if I had any complaints, it's that two days is never long enough! Five would be less rushed, we could all alternate between learning and putting it into practice. As the event is all in aid of Ruddington Museum it's all in a good cause, and we're lucky we have anything to attend of course. COVID and financial considerations killed off the remaining MK shows, and there weren't many left before the pandemic as it was!
I will add some pictures when I get them off my mobile phone - there were some amazing 3D printed CSMs there, but I don't think the technology is quite there yet as regards ribbing!
The reader CSM
Pretty printed cylinders - one of them is a rainbow if you look closely!
A winning sock entry - tuck, why didn't I think of that?
Current mood: enthralled