Having seethed quietly with jealousy at the blog posts and tweets about Wonderwool and Woolfest (neither of which is really feasible for me without at least an overnight stay) earlier this year, I was determined not to miss Fibre East, given that it’s only about 60 miles from me. So yesterday morning I set off, despite the rain and warnings of dire conditions on the roads (I was very pleased to hear that the A45 was closed due to flooding near Northampton just before setting out, as I had been planning on going that way but went via Milton Keynes instead), taking Laura and Irene from the Archers Listeners group on Ravelry along with me. We arrived at about midday and although the site was quite muddy a good time was had by all. (On the subject of mud, I had planned to wear hiking boots, but chucked my wellies in the car as well, and was jolly glad I had done as just walking to the top of the car park was enough to convince me to go back and change into them – in places there were ankle-deep puddles so it was nice not to have to worry!)
I’m terrible at blogging about events, because I never remember to take pictures, but there were three large marquees full of stalls, as well as a catering tent doing a roaring trade in bacon butties, tea, coffee, jacket potatoes, cake and more, some smaller tents with sellers of looms and spinning wheels, sheep-shearing demonstrations and places to sit and chat, try out spinning and help to stuff cushions for Woolsack. It all seemed very well-organised; the squelchiness underfoot was unfortunate but generally didn’t seem to be dampening spirits, and obviously the weather was somewhat outside the organisers’ control!
For me, the best thing about knitting shows is the chance to socialise and catch up with people I normally only manage to interact with on Ravelry or Twitter, and yesterday was no exception; I saw Jane running the p/hop stall, Sarah and Anna, Joy, Debbie and Heather all had stalls, and there were plenty of other friends wandering around, including several other members of the Archers Listeners group. We had failed to arrange a time and place to meet, but we had at least agreed to make badges that would allow us to recognise each other:
It was also particularly nice to catch up with Sarah Abroad, who I talk to on Twitter a lot but had only ever met in person once before, at the Bothered Owl Christmas party the year before last.
It’s funny; I’m definitely very much an introvert, but I love knitting events and bounce around waving at people and introducing myself to people I’ve only met online with cheerful abandon, while Laura, who I always think of as being far more of a social person than I am, often says she feels shy and nervous of approaching people. I suppose the thing is that while spending time with people (even lovely people, and while I don’t buy into the ‘knitters are all lovely!’ meme – knitters are people, just like others, and some are lovely and some aren’t – I do know lots of lovely knitters and there’s a lot to be said for the pleasure of interacting with people who you have a major passion in common with rather than people you struggle to find anything to talk about) is definitely something that takes energy from me rather than renewing it (yesterday was fantastic, but did leave me feeling pretty drained), ‘introverted’ isn’t thre same thing as ‘shy’ and while I used to be terribly shy it’s one of the childhood difficulties that shaped who I am but has ended up leaving me in adult life. And I rather like having my chance to be bouncy and Tiggerish and feel like I’m surrounded by friends :-)
Of course, even though socialising in the main point, I did make some purchases (though I actually managed not to spend all the money I had with me, because I was trying very hard not to come home with even more random skeins of sockweight and laceweight yarn that were really quite similar to all the other random skeins of sockweight and laceweight yarn in my craft room):
From left to right, a kit to make Anna‘s Greenwitch gloves (because not only are both the gloves and the Yarnscape yarn beautiful, I absolutely adore Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising sequence which inspired the pattern), a skein of Skein Queen Delectable (merino/silk laceweight), because the colourway was just too lovely to resist, some Artisan Yarns linen laceweight because I want to see how it will knit up (it feels a bit like very fine, staggeringly expensive string, but I’m assured it softens up with washing and handling!) and a skein of sock yarn from Boo’s Attic, just because I loved the colours.
I thought it was a great day out, and am definitely hoping to go again next year!