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April 28, 2012

Back in September last year, I made a pact with a friend that we would buy no yarn and only use stash yarn until the end of April, at which point we would be allowed to go crazy at Wonderwool. There were a few exceptions – like if we needed to buy yarn to finish a project that had been started with stash yarn – but otherwise we were only allowed ONE cheat.

So, I’d been planning to go to Wonderwool for months. It was to be my reward for sticking to a seven-month yarn-ban.

And I stuck to the ban – I only bought yarn once for a cheat (lovely, green, cottony yarn that I will make something summery with – haven’t started yet, of course…) – and otherwise just twice to complete projects that were almost entirely stash yarn. I’ve used up loads of stash, too. I’ve made three skirts, at least five tops, two or three giant doilies, several scarves, a great big hanging Christmas tree, and more. I’m in the middle of making some leg garments (to be determined – probably thigh high leg warmers, unless I can be bothered to knit feet). All from stash.

The stash has gone down enough that I can now put it all in one room without feeling funny.

The thing is, though – the thing is – the stash is still, by any reasonable measure, fairly large. I have a drawer for each colour. Some colours have more than one drawer. And I have a place for UFO’s* which is actually quite full. I’m in the middle of a range of soft toys, and some socks, and a lace cardigan, and a blanket. Actually two blankets. And some other things.

*UnFinished Objects.

So when my partner-in-abstention announced that actually she couldn’t make Wonderwool after all, and when Miss Fly announced that actually she’d rather go to the local fun day at the park anyway, I was – OK with that. I have plenty of yarn, much of it lovely, and plenty of projects to be getting on with. So where’s the hurry?

But when we woke up this morning, it was raining, and Miss Fly announced that she’d changed her mind about the fun day. It was a bit late by that time, but we went anyway. After all, why not? Why not – apart from the almost two-hour drive that is. Yes, that would be a total of nearly four hours in the car to traipse around looking at wool I don’t really need, can’t really afford and probably wouldn’t use for a while anyway.

Was it worth it?
Hell, yeah!

When we parked up, the people next to us happened to have a spare ticket (mother pulled out at the last minute) and very kindly offered it to me, so I didn’t even have to pay to get in – that was definitely a good sign that we’d made the right decision.

There was yarn, fibre, spinning, dying, weaving, felting – everything.

There was gigantic yarn made out of waste selvedge from wool blankets, and I enthusiastically knitted a round of it with monstrous 25mm needles – the object of which appeared to be some kind of squishy beanbag / pouffe creation. There were weaving sticks for Miss Fly to try. We both had a go on some drum carders. Miss Fly was a natural at the 4-shaft Meyer loom that she was invited to try out – which occurrence may have the effect of setting me back £160 or so next Christmas. There were sheep and alpacas to admire and caress. There were coffins made of wool. There were amazing felted, woven, embroidered, knitted and crocheted things beyond number – artwork, sculptures, garments. There was felted soap, kool-aid dye, instructional stitch markers. There was every kind of tool imaginable. Did I mention there was yarn? Yarn of just about every possible fibre, colour, shade, texture and price.

It was all a bit overwhelming. Overwhelming, but thrilling.

We wore a bunch of crocheted items and drew comment all over.  One woman literally stopped in her tracks and pointed at Miss Fly’s vibrant, sparkly, be-pineappled skirt, open-mouthed, before she came up to us and began asking questions. Miss Fly almost – almost, I said – got tired of spinning around really fast to show off how her awesome-looking crochet skirt also flared out in an awesomely spinny way.

We were home, and we were happening.

I spent all my money, of course. I bought a book of tea cosies – brilliant, crazy, creative, inspiring tea cosies, mind – Really Wild Tea Cosies – which I’m looking forward to immensely. And I got a KnitPro interchangeable crochet hook, which I’ve had in mind for a project for some time. And some yarn – of course! – a skein of fabulously sparkly turquoise and gold recycled silk yarn, and another of crazily yellow sock yarn.  And some felted soap. And something for a friend.

But what I got for free was a big wodge of inspiration.

I can’t wait to go back next year!

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