Monday, 15 October 2007

I am deeply shallow

I am also hugely embarrassed by how many years it took me to spot the oxymoron in the above remark. These days I embrace it; I take my shopping very seriously, and for me the Knitting and Stitching Show is all about the shopping. So, having spent yesterday trying and failing to come up with a witty way to write up my trip that somehow managed not to be just a list of things bought, today I am cataloguing, with no shame.

I know myself you see. I thought about writing some predicted purchases down before I left and sealing them in an envelope. If I had got around to it, first on the list would have been sock wool, and I would have been absolutely right.

At the top, four balls of sturdy German sock yarn from Knit n Caboodle. The label says 'Schoppel Wolle' which is new to me, but mum swears blind one of the colours is identical to some Trekking she's used in the past. I find myself pondering whether there are in fact more brands of German sock wool than mills producing it.

The posh stuff is some gorgeous pinks and purples from Fyberspates, and some Lorna's Laces in 'Jeans' from Get Knitted. One of these is for Chris and one for me - there is a non-existent prize for guessing which is which (Chris is also getting the mixed brown yarn on the top row)

Next on my wholly imaginary sheet of paper would have been laceweight. Partly because I love lace, but also because lace (and socks too) don't use as much yarn as jumpers, so I can be much more extravagant.

So we have 100 grammes of Jamieson's Ultra in Shaela, and 100 grammes (930 metres!) of hand-dyed cashmere from KnitWitches (possibly the friendliest stall-holders at the Show, in a very strong field). The cashmere has been isolated in a sealed bag, owing to the fibre's reputation as a moth magnet. I am not taking chances.

What else would I have listed? Magazines, perhaps. I always like to buy magazines that are new to me.

I was specifically looking for Yarn Forward, mostly for the fingerless mitts on the cover. Several other tempting patterns and some interesting articles were a welcome bonus. Let's Knit was not entirely new to me - mum had found it in her newsagents that morning, and I had skimmed through and decided I wanted to look out for it next time I was in Smiths. It strikes me as being a lot fuller than any of the other British monthly knitting magazines, and more fun. Socks, circular needles and felting in the very first issue suggests that they have slightly more idea what people are actually knitting, too. There are now four British monthly knitting magazines, and I really don't believe that all of them can survive. I hope this one lasts (especially if Simply Knitting goes).

Based on previous years, I would also have said that I was going to buy fat quarters. I always buy fat quarters, and I never actually use any of them. This year I didn't buy them. Instead I bought the one thing I said I wouldn't buy, which is a jumpersworth of wool - my favourite Jaeger Matchmaker DK, in a gorgeous shade of mulberry, for £19.99. It would have been criminal to leave it behind, I felt.

I also seem to have acquired a kit for a sashiko sampler. It probably has something to do with having borrowed a book about sashiko from the library a couple of months ago. It probably also has something to do with my weakness for anything indigo-dyed. It may even have something to do with my rediscovering Helene's blog, which I foolishly deleted from my bookmarks a year or so ago, and have only just rediscovered.

There is one final purchase, and it is one thing I didn't even think of looking for at the Show, but found on the very first stall I looked at - the background to all the above photos is two metres of 60" wide trousering fabric, that feels stupendously good quality. What doesn't entirely show are the occasional glitter threads running through it. I'm really looking forward to making it up. I didn't think of buying clothing fabric there; there are so many good fabric shops near me in Norfolk that it hadn't occurred to me as something I should be looking for. But at £5 a metre, my willpower was non-existent.

Coming soon to a monitor near you - how I went to London and only bought one book. Featuring the immortal lines "if fashion designers were straight men everything would be fastened with velcro", and "it's astonishing how much easier it is to get onto a Royal Navy ship than a commercial one". Possibly not featuring rubber ducks, however.

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