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The Knit City Nitty Gritty

On the weekend it was another fiber event, Vancouver's Knit City, and my, how it's grown. When I first went 2 years ago it was about half the building, last year it was 3/4, and (I should have been able to predict this, I'm a data scientist in real life) this year it was full. They even moved the entrance to the opposite side from the prior years entrance, which was my first hint that perhaps the entire building was in play.

I have a terrible photo below which entirely fails to convey the scale and complexity of the event. (It's nonetheless a fair indication of what a tiny portion of the site looks like moments after it opens, on the far, quieter side:

Insider's tip: if you're going first thing in the morning, don't buy tickets ahead of time. The lineup for fools with tickets wrapped around the block, whereas the lineup for clever procrastinators was only about 25 souls, and moved quickly. This does not seem fair, but as my Mother often said (she's stopped recently--it was more of an adult to child thing) "Life isn't fair." (If you come later, by all means, pay ahead of time, but don't expect any of the good yarn to be left, I've already bought it, neener neener.)

What is Knit City? It's a chance to shop, of course (see my earlier blog post "Yes, Of Course You Should Buy It" for some added incentive). There are also (apparently) demos, though I didn't see any in action, and (apparently) classes, though I don't know how early you have to book to actually get into one of those--I certainly wasn't able to. No, it's mostly shopping, or occasionally this (look at the background):

See in the distance, there are people sitting and knitting? That's new. I wish I'd known--I would have built sitting and knitting into my busy schedule. My friend Lisa and I both had full lives to get back to--we managed to complete our tour of duty in under 3 hours. First, we marched to the back (the front is always busy, the back will catch up, so back first made the most sense). We systematically made all way through all the relevant booths (some--by no means the majority--sell knitting-adjacent products, like hand creams or weaving supplies or finished knitted items; we could skip those). We marked on our map which stalls to revisit, and after only a small amount of time for frivolity (see below) we had completed one lap, and went back to the marked stalls.

I have a rubric for shopping at this sort of event:

  • Only buy worsted (at least half the booths only have fingering, lace, sport, etc.--worsted's kind of a rare animal at these things), and that narrows it down some.

  • Don't go to the booths sponsored by shops that are in town, unless it's to familiarize yourself with their wares.

  • Only buy special hand-dyed yarns that would otherwise be unavailable, for that truly one-of-a-kind garment or accessory.

(I can only imagine the financial catastrophe that would ensue if I dropped any of these conditions!)

When I returned to the marked booths to revisit what spoke to me the most, I found one booth spoke more loudly and clearly than the others: and all my shopping was accomplished at one booth, shared by two hand-dyers. Here's one of them, Janna, from Everlea Yarn:

Gorgeous yarn, soft, 75% alpaca, 25% merino, 100% Canadian, hand-dyed with natural dyes, and so soft, you just want to rub it on your face all the time. (P.S. I don't think that's a weird hat, I suspect there's a garment on a stand behind her.) This is my haul from her, designated to be a fabulous vest one day:

As I mentioned, she was sharing a booth with another hand dyer, who had created these two idiosyncratic offerings:

Truly one-of-a kind, and probably destined to be hats (there are never two skeins the same, so you can't stockpile them and do a sweater, and I can't think of anything else in that weight, that size, besides hats.) Actually, I'd love to do some clever combination of thick and thin wools, maybe some beaded elements, kind of neo-retro-hippy, and make a cardigan vest knit side-to-side, if anyone knows of a pattern that accomplishes that!

We ran into several friends of ours (esp. if you you include "people I've met before who remember me even if I didn't immediately remember them" ... apparently I'm either quite memorable or bad at remembering or both), including Bev at the Knitted Knockers booth:

Knitted Knockers of Canada aims to provide free handknit prostheses to women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures. Apparently (apologies if this is well known and I'm mansplaining) traditional breast prosthetics may be uncomfortable, heavy, expensive, and can't be worn for some time after the surgery, whereas these knitted replacements are inexpensive (can't beat free!), soft, comfy, and can be donned right away. If you're a knitter (I know a few of my readers do actually knit) you can volunteer to knit some.

The organization has kindly donated two D-sized breasts for my turn as a Pantomime Dame in our upcoming musical production of Bootie and the Beast, so I will definitely be knitting some extra replacements in return!

On the Needles

  • Sea Grass Scarf by Janina Kallio (for my niece, in shades of grey to go with everything).

  • Falling Snow Stocking (my third one! I'm heading down to the toe area).

  • Sophie's Universe crochet project (Part 13: Round 91, beginning the butterflies section)

  • GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (finished the torso, on to Arm One)

  • Persian Dreams Blanket (finished the fourth hexagon, yet to cast-on the fifth)

  • The second Double-Knit Vice Versa Scarf, still about 3/4 of the way through, this is a bit back-burnery as it's my travelling knitting but I keep forgetting to take it with me

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