Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Convent-ion of Knitters

On Friday morning I set out on a knitter's journey.
What I did on my holiday
I took the train to York, leaving my dear FL alone for only the second night in 8 years, to join Natalie and her Shed-ite Apostles at a convent in York.

To explain:  I am a member of The Yarn Yard group on Ravelry (the Shed):  one of the most supportive and friendly knitting groups you could imagine.  This was their 4th annual gathering in York, but it was the first time I had felt able to go, domestic circumstances being what they are.  This year, FL agreed that I MUST go, while he is still well enough to be left on his own.  And so... I did!

There was just one room left in the convent, for one night only, and it coincided with "cheap" train deals on Friday and Saturday, as opposed to mortgage-worthy fares on Sunday and Monday.  It was clearly meant to be!  Some of the knitters are there until Monday morning, but I am not sure I have the stamina for so much social interaction.  As it is, I am shattered.  Happy but exhausted!

York Minster in the snow
So what did I do?
I wrote a short story in the train heading south.
I cast on and knitted half a sock.
I cast on and knitted a third of a hat.
I was shown how to make yarn with a drop-spindle (but was the worst pupil ever!  Sorry Natalie!)
I learned how to knit two socks on one circular needle (Magic Loop - ooh!)
I ate the most amazing Gingerbread Chocolate Brownies (thank you Rachel!)

14 of us went to an Indian restaurant and knitted while we waited for our food... I'm not sure what the waiters thought!

I saw more i-pads in one room than ever in my life before... and every one was set to the Ravelry website!

I took part in a hand-made gift swap:  my Glasgow Mitts went to Sadie (what serendipity - she loves purple and sparkles!) and I received a lovely warm pure wool beret with the perfect button from Lucy (who lives in the same town as my mother!)
Duttons for Buttons - just a corner
I went to Duttons for Buttons.
I went to the Quilt Museum.
I went to a market stall and bought the freshest brightest Yorkshire forced rhubarb and cavalo nero direct from the man who grew it.

I took part in a book-swap and came home with The Bower Bird, which I started on the train :)

I joined in with a P-hop fundraiser (for Medecins Sans Frontieres):  everyone brought their unloved yarn / fabric / knitting books / fibre and piled it high.  When given the go ahead, all the brave souls dived in to select their most-wanted thing.  I was a chicken and aimed for the fabric!  After three rounds of "ready steady go", anyone could take anything they fancied.  In return, we make a donation to P-hop ("pennies per hour of pleasure").
P-hop and book swap goodies

And if you're thinking that's an awful lot to pack into 24 hours... you're right!
My head is still spinning, even if my hands are not.

Just the experience of being back in Yorkshire, my spiritual homeland...
Hearing clocks chime.
Being kept awake through the night by the sound of traffic.

Passing a bookshop with a window-display of Pugin's Ecclesiastical Ornament:  "Special offer!  Only £4.99"  with the confidence that this will attract local shoppers.
Ah York, I love you so.

Home with a new hat - thank you Lucy!
But it's good to be back home all the same.

P.S.  On the topic of get-aways, you might like to visit ScruffyBadger's blog to read my Desert Island Sewing interview :)


Claire said...

Sounds like you had a ball and also that it really fed your soul.
I felt all warm and fuzzy whilst I was reading.
York is certainly beautful too.


Sarahel said...

Wow, made me exhausted just reading what you crammed in 24 hours. But it all sounds fantastic. I'd love to try drop spindling, and to return to York.

didyoumakethat said...

That sounds like the perfect weekend for you. I'm really glad you went!

Sarah Rooftops said...

This sounds so much fun!

A friend of mine from York once sent me a Jiffy bag full of random buttons from Duttons. :)

Sadie said...

I'm really glad you came, it was fantastic to get to meet you properly, and I love the mitts sooooo much!

Lynne said...

Sounds like you had a great, and packed, weekend! And your sock and hat look great. :)

Kestrel said...

Sounds lovely and fun packed. Love the sound of those brownies, delicious!

MrsAlex said...

I love Duttons! Sounds like a wonderful break and just the change of scene needed during the dark January days.

jessica said...

Sounds like a wonderful time away - even if it was enough fun to last the rest of January :-P. Your description of the bookshop in York cracked me up!

bagqueen said...

I have read your interview on Scruffy Badger Time and agreed with all your choices except Middlemarch, I think its Mogadon on paper but hey as its a classic I thnk I may be the odd one!!

Mary in TN said...

Sounds like you had a great time! It must have been a sight in the restaurant to see everyone knitting! If it had been me, I'm sure I would have gotten something on what I was making:) And what nice swap gifts too. Glad FL insisted you go. And glad he was fine while you were gone.

mary said...

Sounds lovely! I'm glad you enjoyed your weekend, it is always wonderful to be back home. A dear friend of mine has an alpaca farm and has learned to spin the fiber into yarn, I am anxious to make something with it. Unfortunately I've never learned to knit, but I am a self taught crocheter. Love your blog!

Colleen said...

That is perfection itself. I would love a weekend like that, especially in such a beautiful place. Ah, I'm such a Brit at heart.

Rachel A said...

Lovely to meet you Roo and glad you enjoyed the Chocolate Gingerbread! I'm wishing I'd picked up some Yorkshire Rhubarb too, it's one of my favourite things. See you again soon!

Marie said...

What a picturesque lovely! I'm a huge fan of Yorkshire too, I visit friends often and I can't get enough of it really! Off to read your interview with Winnie, don't know how I missed it before!!!

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

You went to York. You went to Duttons. You have that Mind the Gap yarn.

I'm as green as the background to this page!

acharmofmagpies said...

All of that in 24 hours? Wow that is incredible! It sounds wonderful and fulfilling and restorative and you absolutely deserved it.

Susie Hemingway said...

Such a beautiful photo of the two of you!

couthyquine said...

Oh, you got the blue handspan I put in the p/hop swap! That was spun in the convent on the Shed weekend one year ago.