Sun, Sheep and Nudity

Is there anything more quintessentially British then sitting under a tree, drinking tea, eating scones and watching a sheep being shorn? Welcome to my visit to Fibre East 2013.

Sheer Sheep Experience

What a difference a year makes! After what I affectionately called ‘Mudfest 2012’, this years Fibre-East was glorious. It has almost eradicated the bleak images burned into my mind from last year, Cars being pulled out of the car park by what looked like mud wrestlers. People stood looking mournfully at mud splashed yarn, wondering if they should take it home to a place of safety. Sheep trying to put their fleece back on!

The new venue was pretty much perfect, with almost half the vendors inside it was a delight (and dare I say a relief to be out of the sun). With temperatures pushing 30°C, the sheep were almost begging to be sheared. To be quite frank it was starting to appeal as a new look for myself!

Naturally I looked forward to fondling the yarns and checking out the knitty gadets, but I love that I get to catch up with old friends at these events.

Knitting Hut Sue

It was lovely to catch up with Sue Stratford (Knitting Hut Sue). Since moving 100 miles away I rarely get chance to pop into what I considered my local yarn shop. The Knitting Hut is an aptly named and perfectly formed small yarn shop in Buckinghamshire. Sue was busy knitting away on a piece for her next book! I am not sure how she fits so much into her life, the shop, the book writing, the workshop teaching and of course her family, I am in total awe. Check out the website www.theknittinghut.co.uk and Sue’s books especially The Knitted Meerkats

It’s always a bittersweet moment when I see my first love, Knit ‘n’ Caboodle. For those of you who don’t know (and why would you?) I created Knit ‘n’ Caboodle back in 2007. I had the most wonderful time and made some great friends along the way. Sue and Julie took it over in 2010 and it is wonderful to see my ‘baby’ thriving. Where were you Sue?

Most of my purchasing was done at Knitting4Fun, it is always nice to catch up with Bev Beattie, Knitting4Fun stocks amongst other fab things an extensive range of knitting tools. I purchased a pair of KnitPro Karbonz straight needles, how had I missed these being launched? I do most of my knitting on circular needles as I don’t like all that excess needle at the end doing nothing other than flapping around like a duck hustling bread. I am not a fan of wooden needles as I have a tendancy to grip them a little too tighly and before long they resemble a boomerang. Tense, me? I much prefer the glide of metal, Hiya Hiya stainless steel needles being my weapon of choice, light, slick and lovely.

How do the Karbonz compare? Not bad! I like that they always feel warm to the touch, they are lightweight and strong, despite having a little ‘give’ in them, they return to straight immediately. They don’t flap around as the stopper (is that what they are called? the ‘knob’ on the end) seems to be made of plastic which keeps the weight at the ends to a minimum. The only draw back I am sad to say is the join of the metal tip to the carbon body. It’s not as smooth as I would like, I can feel it when my needles cross each other and occasionally they snag the yarn, snag is perhaps a little harsh it certainly doesn’t damage the yarn but there is drag. I would be interested to hear if anyone has used the circular Karbonz to knit lace weight yarn.

Also in my Knitting4Fun haul was a KnitPro .75mm Soft Grip crochet hook. I love these hooks, I didn’t think Clover Soft touch hooks could be beaten, but for me KnitPro now have the edge. I find the slightly smaller grip easier for my crochet style. To be able to get such a small hook for my beaded knitting made my inner gadget geek very happy indeed.

Doug and Katie had great fun choosing some badges for my knitting bag…. I think they might be trying to tell me something! Or things!

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Highlights according to Katie

Katie petting sheep

The animals! I try so hard to encourage her love of fibre arts, she can knit in garter stitch but likes to restrict herself to two rows at any one time. I think she is aware just how addictive yarn can be and fears that it might eat into the time she devotes to The Sims and I Can Has Cheezburger?

The venue has a small farm, where Katie fed the sheep and got to stroke the piglets. We were a little concerned by just how appropriate it was to have a BBQ quite so close to the pigs! I know, I know the circle of life, but I think I might have vegetarian tendancies. The only meat that stands between me and vegetarianism is Bacon.

Sheer Sheep Experience was a hit with Katie, she enjoyed learning about the different breeds and their yarn but not as much as she loved watching the sheep being sheared and the ‘chatty’ sheep that answered back.

One question remains……
How did I leave without buying any yarn? The biggest temptation was the lace weight yarn by Sparkleduck. But I resisted, knowing that my stash is in danger of causing structural damage to my house and that my current work load forbids me from any ‘personal’ knitting in the foreseeable future.

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