Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Alloa's knitting history

When we were at Knit Camp in Stirling we took some time out to visit a few local places, one of which was Alloa. Sitting at the foot of the beautiful Ochil Hills, Alloa is home to a dear friend of my Mum's who now lives in Leeds and it was very special to be able to visit her home town.

Although Alloa itself may not be familiar to most people, knitters will most certainly be familiar with one of the town's major landmarks as it is the orginal site of Patons & Baldwins.

This picture shows the Patons school, built for workers at the Patons factory, now sadly closed. Isn't it a fabulous building? I was so sorry I hadn't been able to see it when it was open as it only closed in recent years (1999). And I only found out when I got home that the factory archive is held in Clackmannanshire. I would have loved to see some of the archive material. There is more information on the Royal Commission's website and I am was glad that Tesco (originally the factory site was to be demolished to build a new store) is now sited on the other side of the town and that the site may be used by Clackmannanshire College and as a heritage museum, so fingers crossed for its future.

(Sorry, I'm a bit of a mill/textile heritage nut, so I love this stuff - if anyone else has good archive info on old mills and especially dyeworks etc. I'd love to hear about it).

Knit Camp - the piccies!

....Lots of piccies but here's a small selection....

The campus was beautiful...

There was some fabulous sightseeing at the (exceptionally windy-weathered and windy-staired) Wallace Monument,

(Do not be fooled by Pete's composed look - this is how windy it actually was!)


and Alloa.

More about Alloa in a separate post, but there are lots more fab pics of the Monument and of Stirling in my albums. We missed out on the castle but there are some lovely pics of the church, graveyard and town.

Then, of course, there was the dyeing! Lots more pics in the album and students have been sending in their pics too, so watch out for those soon, but here are just a couple...

Vibrant sock blanks were in abundance, gorgeous self-striping yarns, super ball-dyeing and lots of lovely lace samples. I hope I'll see some of the finished items (not very subtle hint to all my fab students ; ) )

Speaking of whom, how is this for the fabbest teacher gift ever? A group of girls travelled from Portugal and brought gifts for their tutors. And I was very lucky to receive this one from Filomena...

The bag is beautifully handmade and there is soap, a notebook and pencil, some lovely undyed yarn to play with, and a special pin for Portuguese knitting

...And, the cutest little Portuguese knitter ever! I shall need to think of a suitable name (and learn to do Portuguese knitting!), but my lovely knitter is now a much-appreciated addition to my living room. She had many admirers at Knit Camp as you can imagine!

Thank you so much Filomena, Fernanda and Xana : ))

The Marketplace was bustling and I couldn't resist some stitch markers and a new book. Pete also snuck off the stall to take some pics of the Sheep to Sweater Challenge...

All in all, a really enjoyable week - and the less said about the 75 mile round trip detour we had to take on the way home because I missed a sign for the M73 - the better (in my defence it was very small and in the middle of the roadworks contraflow and I didn't have a road atlas)

(Note to self: multimap is not a substitute for a road atlas, especially if you packed the route map in the back of the van!).

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Back from Knitcamp!

A very quick post to say that I'm back from Knitcamp and will be posting lots of exciting pictures as soon as I can find/unpack the camera!

My inbox is groaning under the weight of all the emails and there are at least three six foot (seriously, I measured) stacks of boxes to be unpacked, counted and re-sorted, so I'll make this a quickie and say simply that we had a fab time! More to follow......

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Knitcamp countdown!

Less than a week to go and lots still to do!

Course handouts nearly finished, sample balls and skeins almost finished, lots of goodies for the Marketplace steadily stacking up in the kitchen and baskets of skeins waiting for labels in the living room. Working on a little pattern for the sample skeins (my excuse to sit down and knit in the evening!), and printing and folding lots of patterns/catalogues etc.

But now I need a break to go and do some dyeing......

Monday, 2 August 2010

Dyeing at Baa Ram Ewe

Yes, out and about dyeing again!

This time it was "over the the border" to Yorkshire and another fun workshop at Baa Ram Ewe in my home town of Leeds.

We had a busy day and there were lots of lovely, colourful skeins being taken home. So busy were we that I haven't a single photo to show for it!

However, photos or no, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves so a big thank you to all my fab students for making it such a fun day : ))

Alston Hall dyeing weekend

Alston Hall was every bit as lovely as it looked from my earlier post!

I had a terrific weekend with a great group of people, ate far too much lovely food and generally had a brilliant time. The facilities at Alston Hall (did I mention the excellent food?) are great and the staff were so helpful. I even had a drying room for all the yummy skeins and blanks!

Sarah Lamb was teaching knotted pile weaving in the main hall and her group produced some lovely work. Sarah is a terrific weaver and I was wishing I could be in two places at once so I could have taken her class too! I didn't get much chance to get out and take pics of the hall which was a shame as it really is magnificent, but there are lots of dyeing pics on the album here.

Thanks to all my students, to Carol and the Craven Guild for the invitation and to the Alston Hall staff for their hospitality : ))
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