It’s all calming down a little now. The show went well, the new job is working out ok and today the sun is shining. This week I have been down the posh end of London for a work meeting, and the train was half empty and on time. I even got a little bit of hooky done on the train. My blood pressure has returned to normal levels and I have been headache free for four weeks. A cynical person might point out the link between this and changing jobs, but I couldn’t possible comment.
When I feel this relaxed I find it easier to come up with ideas for things to make. I fiddle with yarn and stitches just to see what they could look like. I sketch out ideas in my notebooks in grubby biro and draw little stitch diagrams so I can remember my thought processes. Not all of them look the way I think they should when I start to make them, but then I frog and let them evolve into something more interesting. I like to see where the yarn and my mood takes me.
So I’m feeling pretty productive at the moment. I’m enjoying the challenge of shawl club and I keep thinking of other things I want to make too. I need to make time to develop it all but I know I will. There isn’t a rush, there isn’t a deadline. Pass me my tea…
What can I say. As you all know this was my first (and potentially my last) yarn show on my own. I did all my prep, was as organised as I could be, and had wonderful support. But it doesn’t stop you being a tiny bit terrified. You can never tell how you will be received, either by the public who come or fellow (and more established) stall holders.
It turns out that I needn’t have worried. For a first outing Wool@J13 was a huge success – lots of people came (and the ones who promised on Facebook that they would really did materialise into actual human beings – yes, I’m taking about you, Manda), the sun shone for most of the time, and everyone was lovely. I was fortunate to be stood next to Sonic Knits, and two nicer people than Fiona and Gina could not be found. The ever supportive Sue Stratford was there too, along with the ladies from Kindred Creations who kept and eye on us newbies and kept us going with hugs and much appreciated advice. Sue won the prize for best stall in show, and I was so proud! I just wish I had got a picture to show you how amazing it was!
I had my wing woman with me, my bestie, who stopped me from flapping and generally was a calming influence and provider of teas. She also ensured that we sat up for Eurovision and a cheeky glass of Buck Fizz on Saturday night…
I got to finally meet Jo and and Jodie, who were wonderfully daft and really brightened my already sunny day. And my yarn friends came out in force too. Ingrid was full of energy all weekend, and made us all feel like we were old friends.
The thing that really set this show apart for me was the festival feel of it – beer stall and street food, park and animals for the children and non yarn lovers, plus live music, including that provided by a man in a kilt. I mean, what’s not to like…
So I already have ideas about how to make it better for next year, and I hope to squeeze in a few more shows before the end of the year. But Wool@J13 will forever hold a special place in my heart. It has made me brave.
The second shawl in the current season of Shawl Club is the Dopamine Wrap. I fancied doing something very different in shape, and I liked the idea of working with hexagons and piecing them together into something pretty. The idea of working a dopamine molecule in as a motif was something that I really liked. If I am honest, I like the plain version of the shawl so much, that I want to make it again without the motif, as the pattern of the shawl once blocked is so pretty it really doesn’t need much embellishment and the hexagons are very quick to make. I hope you like it as much as I do!
Right now I have come in here to take the chance to write a quick blog so that I can take my mind off of Wool@J13 prep. The car is loaded, my palms are sweaty and my best friend will soon be with me to give me a hand all weekend (I have the best friends).
In fact, I have amazing friends. I have friends like the glorious Hester, who made the WIP bags and hook cases for me. I have friends like Michelle, who made the dopamine and teapot stitch markers for me. Friends like Sue who encouraged me to try this on my own. And Sam, who has given me common sense and support in equal measure. You can’t do something like this on your own. You need your support crew.
The blog has been even quieter than normal whilst I have been in the throes of all this. Shawl club has started again and so I have been developing patterns on top of the show prep. Outside of Yarnworld, I have started my new job (going OK so far) and I am on the school PTA which is also, it turns out, something of a major time commitment with fundraising.
And I didn’t get a chance to tell you about the amazing send off I got from my old work colleagues. They decided that they would all buy me yarn or yarn-related goodies for my leaving present, and so I have 4KG of yarn, everything from hand-dyed luxury through to pretty and functional acrylic. A friend briefed everyone well. I struggled to find places to put it all, but I got there in the end!
The best bit was the memory box a colleague made. I had no idea she was crafty, but I was pulled to one side and told to open an envelope. Inside was a piece of card which was printed with memories that people had from their time working with me. Some words were in bold, and those words, I was told, were captured in the box. The box was a perspex cube, which contained a miniaturised representation of my office. Everywhere in the ‘room’ were tiny objects, and each one was linked to one of my colleagues’ memories of working with me. It was beautiful and unexpected, and it serves to remind me that sometimes you can affect people without realising it.