Thursday, 11 October 2007

Ally Pally

Ever since I started reading knitting blogs regularly around this time last year, I've been dying to go to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally). Last year, I was green with envy at all the wonderful, unusual, and hard-to-find-in-the-UK yarn that people had purchased. I resolved that I was going to find out about the show for 2007, and I was NOT going to miss it. I put the dates in my diary as soon as they were announced at the beginning of the year.

Woo hoo! I went today. I took two days off (today and tomorrow, in case I feel a need to go back again). I got there pretty early, about 45 minutes after they opened. But it seems Ally Pally is THE knitting and stitching show of the year. Even 45 minutes into the four day event, people were already leaving laden down with huge, and I mean HUGE, stashes. I couldn't believe it. I bought my ticket and hurried to the Habu stand. There were loads of women there looking at the yarns and the sample knits. Habu is clearly very popular. There was no actual pushing and shoving. The shoppers were courteous and helpful; one lady even helped me to find a particular colour of silk/stainless steel yarn that I couldn't locate. The main difference at the Habu stand was that people were there to shop; there was no idle patting/stroking of yarn, and then wandering off to return later. It felt like you needed to buy now, or it may not be there when you came back. I bought several items: yarn to make a Kusa Kusa scarf, some bamboo, some silk, and some paper.

A real highlight of the show was meeting people from Ravelry. I knew that Yvonne and Sarah would be there as I had planned to meet them. I brought along my Ravelry bag, and so many people stopped to say hello, to talk about Ravelry and to say that they recognised me from being online. It was great. Sarah was generosity itself. She gave me my first spinning lesson on an elegant light-weight drop spindle, using some beautiful pale blue silk roving that she was working on. It was fascinating, and I can see myself getting a drop spindle so I can try this out. Imagine knitting with yarn that you've spun yourself?

I went to the UKHandKnitting "Relax and Knit" stand, where Tamsyn (also on Ravelry, but blogless I think) showed me how to knit the continental way. I can see that I'm really going to have to practice, it felt so alien holding the yarn in my left hand. Just as I was leaving I got talking to Gerard of I knit London and Mithranstar who were in the queue behind me for coffee. It was amazing how friendly people were.

Sarah also introduced me to Socktopus. I think that this is a fairly new online sock yarn shop. The owner, Alice was there. She was super-nice, and boy does she have some lovely yarn. I bought some Dream in Color "Smooshy" in Cloud Jungle. It looked even better when I got it home and could see it under good lighting. I am so glad to see that she is in the UK. I will definitely be buying more from her. Here is a pic of a bunch of Ravelers/sock yarn lovers at Socktopus's stand... Erm, why didn't I get a photo of me with the group? ~headpalm~

Ooh... I also got some wonderful needles that are made from the remnants of musical instruments in rosewood and ebony. Ooh, and some Lantern Moon DPNs.

Well, what with my Ally Pally SEX and some recent Posh Yarn purchases, I think I've got my haul for the year - no more yarn purchases for me. Let's see how long I can stick to THAT, huh? I've had a wonderful day off. Despite it being foggy on the way in to London, this was the view that greeted me when I left Alexandra Palace. How lovely is that?


Yvonne said...

It was great to meet you and put a face to a name! Sorry it was so manic and I didn't have much time to talk. Enjoy your spoils

sarah said...

It was such fun to do this WITH someone! Thank you for being so much fun to be with :-)

kathryn said...

Your day at Ally Pally sounds great - almost as good as mine! I was one of the ones who recognised you by your Ravelry the way - where did you get that bag???