We drove up on Wednesday afternoon through an unending torrent of rain and arrived rather late as the traffic slowed almost to a standstill just outside of Harrogate. Although we didn't have enough time to set up the stand completely, we were confident that we'd be able to get everything ready in time for the Show opening the following morning. It very quickly became apparent that setting up the stand in time was going to be the least of our worries, as Katarina's voice became fainter and huskier until by the following morning, she had no voice at all! I joked that my endless stream of chatter during our four hour drive had 'broken' her voice (and I'm still not entirely certain that it didn't!), but the cause was unimportant compared to the impact that it would have. With just Kat and I manning the stand on Thursday (Helena joined us late on Thursday evening) which was also late night shopping, we had only one voice between us and a seriously busy day ahead.
Those of you who came along to the stand on Thursday will no doubt remember seeing Katarina doing a weird mix of gesticulating and mouthing her words, and me doing a LOT of talking (nothing new there, I know!). Thanks to all of you who were excellent lip-readers and so incredibly patient.
|Helena wearing a Monica Jacket from High Society|
Friday morning saw another trial as Katarina, now joined by Helena were making their way to the Show after staying overnight with family in Leeds when the car broke down 3 miles from Harrogate. I, having stayed in an hotel just across the road from the Conference Centre, was waiting for them outside Betty's where we had arranged to meet for a treat of a breakfast. Helena called and explained that they were waiting for the AA and I should go for breakfast without them. The pictures here tell the story of my solitary (but intensely delicious) breakfast at Betty's - my first experience of this incredible Tea House, but most decidedly NOT my last!
I'm happy to report that the girls did make it to Betty's on the following day.
Aside from a whole raft of difficulties, the Show itself was a joy. We met so many loyal, returning customers who had finished projects, and were excitedly looking for something from our new collections. This lovely lady was proudly wearing her Charlie Cardigan from Country Escape knitted in scarlet (a project she purchased a last years K&S) - it looked absolutely stunning, and she had done a great job as you can see! Jane from New Jersey Wools in Bedale is a stockist of MillaMia - she came along sporting her very own knitted moustache in support of Movember!
It's always interesting to see which of our designs will be the best selling item at a Show, and this year the Vanessa Cable Cardigan from Flight of Fancy was the hands down winner. We had a sample in the original Storm and Lime colourway hanging up which literally stopped people in their tracks, but Katarina's own version in Storm and Forget-me-not was the ultimate Show stealer. There are lots of you out there who purchased yarn and pattern to make this lovely cardigan - we'd love to see the finished garments next year!
On the train home, I took out my knitting and pondered my Harrogate experience. I was delighted by the sheer regal beauty of Harrogate itself, completely bewitched by the taste sensations in Betty's and aside from the 'issues' that hindered us, I enjoyed every minute of the Show. Of course, it's hugely important for the success of a Show like Knitting and Stitching to have friendly vendors and a fabulous venue, but it would be nothing without the incredible knitters, crocheters, stitchers, weavers and crafters who come along every year and make our time so worthwhile. Thanks to you all!!
(posted by Max)