I managed to make it to the brilliant Glasgow School of Yarn last weekend, back at the lovely Mackintosh Church.
The atmosphere was fantastic, as expected, and this year it also coincided with the Mackintosh Society’s Creative Mackintosh festival.
This year I made it for both days, and started off the Friday at a Cast on Cast Off class with Woolly Wormhead. We focused on the cable cast on, and some of her orignal variations on it, which opens up a whole new world of casting on for ribbing! And also, picot bind off, yes…but picot cast on! Lightbulb moment!
The marketplace was filled with fabulous vendors, lovely yarn, so many gorgeous colours and textures, and it was just buzzing with knitterly excitement. Here’s Katie of Hilltop Cloud demonstrating charkha spinning in a box.
In the evening there was a nice wee party, and the winners of the design competition were announced. This year’s theme was the Glasgow motto and coat of arms, and there were such intricate and creative entries. The winner was the Kentigern blanket, which had some amazing colourwork going on.
The next day I had a Shetland Lace class with Liz Lovick, which was more challenging, but very very interesting. We learnt about why Shetlanders knitted lace – to sell; some of the defining characteristics of Shetland lace – knit with Shetland wool, and LOTS of eyelets; and one of its secrets, relating to the economic factor – it looks far more complex than it really is to knit! Having said that, I’ve never knitted with such fine yarn, which was a challenge in itself. Some of us started on Liz’s mini Shetland shawl pattern, and she was on hand to help with questions while she went through charts with others. Here is where I’d got to (apologies for the blurriness; it was taken on the train, with one hand).
However I carried on from here and a little way after this I realised I was missing about 4 stitches. I did lots of tinking and redoing for several rows, but I kept missing about 4 to 6 stitches, and eventually decided to rip it out and start over. It takes practice and getting used to I guess. I should’ve remembered Liz’s advice – Shetland lace will always go wrong at some point or other, and if you really can’t salvage it, they make lovely cards if you cut a piece and glue it down. I’ll remember for next time 🙂
The whole event was just brilliant. It was so nice to be in a knitting bubble for a weekend, and when I wasn’t at GSoY I got to catch up with my friend Laura – founder of my knitting group in Aberdeen and now Glasgow resident. At the event it was lovely seeing people all about the venue knitting and spinning away, seeing old faces and making friends with new people, seeing everyone show off their purchases, and it was perfectly normal to see people reaching out and stroking yarn and knitted items. Certainly everywhere you turned there were beautiful knitted shawls, jumpers, cardigans, bags – and I got some compliments for my Trinity shawlette as well 🙂 Oh and the famous Yarn Cake stew and cakes deserve a special mention! I pretty much lived on pea and potato stew that weekend, and loved it!
We also had a celebrity visit on Saturday, as GSoY itself was part of the Mackintosh Festival. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his wife Margaret Macdonald, and socialite photographer Herbert Ambrose (with his cool Victorian camera) came to hang out with knitters in the Mackintosh Church. I offered to teach Charles and Herbert to knit, but they thought they’d leave it for another time…I hear Margaret did some spinning though.
And what did I come home with this year?
Some gorgeous aran from Ripples Craft, which I hope will work for the Owls jumper. There wasn’t any more of the turquoise left, so I got the blue to go with it. I think I’ll try doing a short sleeved version, with blue owls.
Yarn for shawls – Good old Bonny from The Yarn Yard, which reminds me of a rosebush (the dark pinky red against leafy green…?) but apparently the rest of the world thinks of rhubarb instead. Anyway, these are going to become Flowers in the Rain, which I picked up at the p/hop stall. And also a beautiful teal silk + camel mix from Skein Queen, to be turned into the Peacock Shawlette
Some mini skeins from Skein Queen and The Yarn Yard for hexipuffs
An exciting mix of British breeds fleece from Hilltop Cloud
And an interchangeable needle holder, with a clever little purse for cables and bits, from And Sew to Knit
Along with some stitch markers and chocolate stir-in spoons, a good haul, leaning towards blues and teals this year 🙂 So thank you, and very well done to the folks at The Yarn Cake and all the volunteers, for another fantastic GSoY!