‘Twas the night before Christmas!’

Well that is what it felt like when I left Alexandra Palace this evening.  Today was set up day for the Knitting & Stitching Show which opens to the public tomorrow and for the next five days!  What was the ‘knitting trucker’ doing there I hear you ask.  Well there has been an extraordinary development in my portfolio career.  It is a long story which I won’t go into now but suffice it to say this is all thanks to my GP and a plastic bag!

I have been recruited to work for Rowan Yarn  http://www.knitrowan.com (Mez Crafts UK) as a brand account manager for independent purveyors of fine yarns…..I added the last bit 😉…….but it is the most important sounding job title I’ve ever had!  My first official day in the job was yesterday and today I was to help with the ‘load in’ for the Rowan Stand at the show.  #knitting&stitchingshow http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/

I thought you might like to see a bit of the behind the scenes action.  Before……


During……..


…..and after…….


…….and some more……


If you are going to the show I’d love it if you came and said hello.  I’ll be the one doing the ‘kiddy let loose in a sweet shop’ impression!  We are located in the West Hall at TGB18.  Over the five days there’s opportunity to meet the designers and book signing sessions.

Guess the designer!


Before heading home I went for a wander……

The Toft girls chilling…

Kim was delightful


…..and finally, this is not the end of ‘the knitting trucker’!  I will be continuing to knit in my truck from time to time!  😊🚚💜🚛💜

http://www.wornandwashedfabrics.com
http://www.thetoftalpacashop.co.uk

Long distance biscuit…..

Baking on what is probably going to be the second hottest day of the year after yesterday, is probably not the best plan but it seemed like a good idea at the time!  I’m rather fond of Nigella’s feel good food because ‘it does what it says on the tin’ so to speak.  ‘Simply Nigella’, available as they say, from all good bookshops, came to me as a Christmas prezzy from my brother last year.


I’m always looking for that little treat to add to the picnic I take to work and Anzac biscuits seem to fit the bill.  I’ve also tried Nigella’s breakfast bars (p358) with the odd diversion from her ingredient list!  As the lady herself says, “there are gluten-free, dairy-free and enough seeds to make you start sprouting!”  The Anzacs are not quite as virtuous but we all need a goody from time to time! 


I’ve made mine without the coconut purely because I didn’t have any.  I just upped the quantity of pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  I cannot tell you what they taste like yet as they are still cooling but the house smells glorious!  I’m hoping Nigella won’t mind me sharing, so get to it and make some!

Brum & back…

For a long time my usual Friday ‘gig’ has been Stansted to Birmingham airport and back.  A slight diversion up the A10 to avoid a M11 jam.  A spot of crochet in my break and some very important cargo on the way back! 

In-cab entertainment


Before you ask……they DID reach their destination!

 

Seriously soggy Saturday……

It was a seriously soggy Saturday yesterday when I drove to Manor Farm, Bourn http://manorfarmbourn.com where the Purl Alpaca http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com workshop was happening in the Malthouse.


We were warmly greeted by Tracy and Kari-Helene with tea and homemade biscuits, a great start!  Among the little group of six were a lady who’d driven from Birmingham and another who had combined a trip to visit friends & family with the workshop.  She was over from Malaysia…..a testament to the winning combination of Kari-Helene’s designs and Tracy’s luxurious ‘home grown’ alpaca yarn!


One of the great things about Purl Alpaca workshops (and if you visit them at yarn shows), is that you get the chance to try on the garments as well as to actually see the true colours of the yarn and to FEEL it!  I warn you now this stuff is addictive!

‘cloud’ of alpaca fleece.


I think I came across Purl Alpaca at the Knitting & Stitching Show at ‘Ally Pally’ some 9 or 10 years ago, http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/ and was immediately drawn to the unique designs, soft colours and feel of the yarns.  I tried on the Iago waistcoat and loved it!  It was also an incredibly clever and straight forward pattern, perfect for this beginner! http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/iago-waistcoat-knitting-pattern/ Every time I wear it I receive admiring comments.  (I have to be honest, the pattern photo doesn’t do it justice).

Five balls of yarn and a pattern are included in the workshop so once everyone had decided what they wanted to make we sat down to enjoy more tea and cookies and casted on!  Both Tracy and Kari-Helene were at hand to help and advise and explain new techniques.  

The mini version of mine!


http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/solo-tank-top-knitting-pattern/
I have to admit I already had this so brought it along to ‘dive in’ with the help of Kari-Helene.  

Just before lunch we paid a visit to meet the V.I.P.s themselves!


…….then there was lunch!

All homemade and delicious!


…..and the most delicious chocolate cake with bramble coulis and cream, but it didn’t last long enough for me to take a pic!

Sitting, knitting with friends, tea & cake on a soggy Saturday afternoon is good for the soul….I didn’t want to leave!  But I’ve got this little stash to keep me going till next time!

Soggy selfie!


Someone else I met on the way out at Manor Farm…


……and finally…….


Tracy calling her ‘people’ up for apples.

For further info on Purl Alpaca Designs, patterns, yarn and workshops go to: http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com

#RowanMag60

On Monday I took a day off from trucking to go to the celebration for the 60th edition of the Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine at the Royal National Rose Society Garden of the Rose near St Albans, Hertfordshire.  

It was very much a ‘Royal’ Garden party with such yarny royalty as Debbie Abrahams, Jane Crowfoot, Jem Weston, Dee Hardwicke, Martin Storey and the guest of honour himself, Kaffe Fassett!  Sharon Brant, Brand and Business Development Manager for Mez Crafts (who are in the process of acquiring Rowan from Coats Crafts), welcomed an eclectic audience of creative devotees to the beautifully decorated marquee.  

Sat right on the front row I felt like I was in London, Paris or Milan and should be wearing dark glasses, keeping cool with a suitably ostentatious fan and sporting a distinctly nonchalant expression!  


Kaffe Fassett, arguably King of Knits, shared some very amusing stories of his early career and collaboration with Rowan.  We were treated to nostalgic look back at his designs by way of the cat walk show, including the peplum jacket featured on the front of ‘Glorious Knitting’, his first publication (and my first knitting book!).  



Then it was time to feature the designs in Rowan Magazine 60 and the two stories of Tempest and Felted Tweed Tempest.  (The photo shoot was appropriately tempestuous we were told, with hurricane force winds on the beach!).  

Here are some of the beautiful colourwork and textured pieces in the 2016 Autumn/Winter collection.  There is a particular emphasis on accessories is colourwork patterns of the larger garments in the hopes that those less experienced knitters will be encouraged to have a go! 😊💞


Book signings and a cream tea followed in the glorious surroundings of the Gardens of the Rose http://www.rnrs.org.uk The day of celebration came to a close with the planting of a Rowan tree by Kaffe to mark this milestone.  


Martin Storey


Jem Weston


Dee Hardwicke 



Only one thing better than temptation, and that is giving in to it!