Sunday, September 07, 2008

I Knit Day, and the Yarn Harlot in London

Oo Now I know why everyone went to bed early last night... We got up again at four to have a quick breakfast and a drive through the darkness to the airport. This time I got to travel first class by being warmly wrapped in a cardigan, snuggled into a hand-luggage backpack and left a half-open flap to look out through. Not that Aberdeen airport is particularly worth seeing...

The flight was uneventful, and Gatwick was funny because Hreow followed the signs for trains and ended up taking the transit-train to the North terminal, only to find out that the actual train-station (the one with the Gatwick express) was back in the South terminal which we had just left. She has the most giggle-inducing grumble. : D

After getting back on track, the correct one this time, she finally remembered the camera. Here's me with the travel-pattern.

Chosen because Hreow had the right yarn and the right, old banged-up needles (kitten toothmarks) for it, so that if anyone objected to the knitting, we could afford to lose the needles. Thougtfulness is a trait of all us Swatchies. ^^

Despite the little detour, we were the second to arrive at the gates to the Royal Horticultural Halls. As a matter of fact... we were a bit worried that we were in the wrong place as Hreow was expecting hordes of knitters, packed like sardines around the building and baying "Yarn Now!".

Just five minutes later the queue had grown a bit, there was some knitting going on and we spent the time matching patterns to what various knitters were wearing.

and then the delegations started to arrive. Some one by one or in pairs, some by the dozens. I suggest that we bring flags and march to the halls in true Olympian style next time.

When we were finally let in (the man with the keys jingled up to the gates a few times, but I think the sight of hundreds of knitters scared him off until he had found enough backup and the courage.

Here is a dark-and-fuzzy shot of the main hall.

No livestock, bar one angora rabbit, and much less fresh air than I saw on my last outing. Hreow spent some time running around and squealing over yarny and fibery goodness, didn't find the right drop-spindle though, and when she tired and finally though of me again we had a rest by the Great British Sheep.

Meet George:

He's covered in swatches, bits of knits and i-cords of pure British-bre(e)d wool. And one crowning-glory Swatchy who is no such thing, of course. :-) I don't think George minded a short-term rider.

(And doesn't he have a very fetching anklet?)

For (very late) lunch, we took a stroll through London looking for the right place. I wanted to try this place,

but Hreow said that it wasn't breakfast-time, she would find me a proper pub breakfast when we got back home and that that sort of breakfast would probably kill her.

She exagerates, but I'm willing to trade a full English for a full Scottish Breakfast.

We had this instead:

because it is her very favourite food and I'm generous.

I will only show you two shots from out touristy travels:

New Scotland Yard (and how much better would it be if that was an 'n' at the end, not a 'd'). I wanted to be in the photo, but Hreow said I wriggle too much to get any sort of focus. What she really wanted a photo of, but was uncertain if it was ok, was a police-scooter with policeman just outside. For some reason she found the police scooter incredibly funny. Must be a biker thing.


How to get an architecturally worth-while building, a pillar-box (post), an old-style telephone-box and a red bus or two into the same photo. Winchester cathedral is very pretty and very WOW.

For some proper shots of the sights of London, see the Yarn Harlot's blog. She has a camera that does not need to be stuck together with sticky-tape and hope, and is better at finding treasures.
Speaking of which...

When we got back, it was time to queue up for the main feature of the day, the Yarn Harlot in person!! We waited for a very long time. When it started pouring with rain for the *third* time, a brave woman marched to the head of the queue and explained to the people inside how bad it is to keep hundreds of knitters with 2mm-or-less needles waiting outside in the rain (and thus not knitting) (or at least that's what I assume she said). In any case it worked and she was applauded on her way back.

Included for evidence...

It is obviously not any wriggling on my part that causes the blurriness, but Hreow bouncing up and down! I agree that her camera has seen better days, though.

The YH was just like her blogs and better and just as thought-inducing and very funny and... well, you all read her blog so I need not explain really. During the Q&A she said she wasn't averse to coming back next year. Brilliant! Can we petition for next year to come sooner, please?

I believe her when she says she's shy as well, even though she obviously knows how to pretend not to be and can prod herself to still climb a podium and charm the masses. I wonder if all great performers are? It may be a requirement, to enable you to stay that connected with your audience. She had us in tears with laughter and nodding so much in agreement that Hreow had to put her knitting away, lest the skein of laceweight escape and cause tangled havoc.

Here's a photo of just YH, but it does NOT prove Hreow's point about wriggling...

After having wiped the tears of laughter off our faces, gathered our scattered belongings and Hreow having foisted some seaweed wool on a gracious Harlot (and feeling like a bully in the process. Poor lass had just escaped the podium) we went back to the main hall for the book-signing.

The woman is amazing... She makes everyone feel that they have received special attention while signing their books and still manages to work her way through a sizeable queue.

She has seen through your plan to take over the world by Swatchy though, Knittah... Proves she's clever as well, I guess. :-)

Hreow says: Thank you for letting me take your Swatchy Green to met the YH. It made an adventure and a goalpost all the more special. (Only... what *do* you stuff them with? They all seen to be a touch cheeky. Not in a nasty way, just really not the quiet, retiring sort. :-))
I had a wonderful day, talked to complete strangers in the queues and mobs, and felt wrapped in a warm blanket of knitter-to-knitter (crochetter, spinner, fibre-artist...) friendliness from beginning to end. What a contrasts to my usual quiet solitude. (Better Half doesn't count in this case, he's part of me and vice versa.)

I've added some IKnit buttons to the collection and after I have shown why Swatchies should not have a full any-nationallity breakfast, I will send your travelling reporter back home to tell you what really happened and to show off the swag. I saw him sneaking off with my creditcard on more than one occasion. "Ooooooo, look! Yarn!!" and then stealthing for the horison only works so many times...

It was worth having my wings back for a day and something to remember for a long time.

(Sorry about the misuse-of-whitespace. I'm knackered and they like the places they've chosen the way they are, thank-you-very-much, and refuse to budge. :-/ If you're on Ravelry, there is a readable version there. )

I fiddled with the whitespace. And added a title and tags. ;) -Noricum


Knittah said...

I agree that a) every YH appearance should be preceded by a March of Knitters, and b) George is the best sheep I've ever seen standing still for so long.

I try to stuff a bit of my own cheeky essence into each Swatchy - sorry if that caused trouble, especially with the credit card bit. Also sorry I didn't warn you about the breakfast hankerings.

I'm thrilled that you made this outing, thrilled that you had such a great time, and so grateful you let Swatchy tag along. Bummer that Yarn Harlot has seen through my plan though.

noricum said...

What an awesome day! (My Swatchy has a rather, um, "unique" personality too... ;) )

I hope you don't mind that I fiddled with the whitespace, and added tags and a title too.

Hreowian said...

Swatchy Green is just right the way he is. I'd much rather have a bit of cheeky initiative about than meek innocence (too easily overwhelmed by the yarn-fumes). And, when the dratted cat tried the bowling-pin potential, SG fell on him so he'll not try that again in a hurry. One worry less. ^^

Maybe you need to supply the next YH-bound Swatchy with a mask? :-) She didn't look as if she disapproved in the least, even asked for the blog. (O_o)

(hug) Thank you, I don't mind at all! When I have found my two brain-cells (one in a wheel-chair and one on crutches - they usually stay in my head because the latter pokes one of the crutches through one of the wheels. They must have stopped quarrelling for both to go missing. : /) I will have a look and improve for next time.
I found myself writing "their" instead of "they're" and that was a none too subtle hint to go back to bed and try again later. Too much of a language-snob to allow myself that sort of behaviour. ;)