Two years ago (about six months into my newly acquired knitting addiction) on a whim, I decided to volunteer to help out at the Knit and Relax stand at the Alexandra Palace (aka Ally Pally) Knitting and Stitching show.
I really had no idea what I was letting myself in for.
I spent the best part of four days crocheting and finger knitting, and teaching other people to crochet and finger knit (I think I maxed out at 15 people at once) and quite literally reveling in the absolute joy of being amongst people who understood my urges to stroke yarn, in a place filled with more yarn and other fibery things than I'd ever seen in my life.
Last year I went for one day, and came home exhausted and energised again.
This year I went for only one day again and I had both a plan, and a man, in tow.
Rather than making faces, and shooing me off in the direction of North London with instructions not to break the bank manager's heart, my lovely boyfriend braved the eostragen overload and came with me. He even helped with the plan.
The plan was to meet Nikki and her boyfriend, go round the show, look at the wares, take note of amounts and costs and then, when I'd seen everything, calculate what I wanted to get and go get it.
It worked pretty well, for a couple of hours... we walked round, K took notes, I learned to felt and card, we walked round some more, then we got to a certain stand and I had a rather major falling down in the plan department.
After the major falling down, I went next door to the Fyberspates stand and had another falling down, this time in the silk hankie department. It was only a little one - 50g of silk hankies, spread across three colourways.
I managed to get hold of myself long enough to make it to the Knit and Relax stand where it was wonderful to catch up with Sue, Jane and Yvonne, who I haven't seen in a long time. It was also nice to have a quick chat with Mary-Lou and meet her other daughter (the one that *doesn't* think my boyfriend has a cute bum) and Gaz from the UK Handknitters Yahoo group (and his wonderful spindle).
With only an hour to go (and having lost the boys to the bar) Nikki and I did a quick trawl through the last half of the great hall, and at the end of the day, I headed back to the place I had my major falling down, and fell down again there, and at Fyberspates again, where I fell hard for a braid of 55% blue-faced leicester/45% silk fiber in berry colours (with a little hint of cream here and there).
I literally can't wait to show off everything I got, but the rest will have to wait, because it's for a super secret project and the time isn't quite right to reveal all.
In the meantime though, enjoy the fiber porn above :)