Last week, I took myself off to Blackpool on the train to the Westcliffe Knitting Hotel, run by the lovely Paula Chew.
I had never been to Westcliffe before, and knew nothing about it until I was trying to find a way to go to Woolfest in Cumbria on my own without being lonely.
And honestly? The whole experience surpassed my expectations.
From the moment I arrived I was made welcome.
Everyone else on the holiday had been there before, but it was not at all cliquey: I was quickly made to feel part of the group.
The food was delicious, with excellent vegetarian options.
My room was comfortable, with everything I needed.
The sitting room quickly felt like home from home, with woolly projects sprouting out of every orifice as The Knitters took up residence.
The itinerary was flexible, with some choosing to learn Tunisian Crochet, while others others opted out and carried on with their own projects.
Four of us, including our tutor Michele, started to knit a funky geometric Modular Blanket. I am afraid I didn't get far, due to my own special holiday project.
A couple of days before setting off for Blackpool, I signed up for a test knit for Susanne Sommer, SosuKnits, on a pretty tight deadline.
It quickly turned into Brioche Bootcamp :)
You may remember that I only learned how to Brioche at the start of June.
What better way to get to grips with a new technique than to test knit a massive shawl with a 2 week turnaround time?!
At the time of writing I have just begun the final border section and it is going to be gorgeous, if I say so myself!
But back to the holiday... we had outings to local wool shops, including the little gem that is Vivian Westwools. I was very much taken with Vivian and his carefully curated collection of yarns, from £1-a-ball acrylic to the much-fondled prize bison balls.
Tempted as I was by a selection of local hand-dyes, I bought some self-striping sock wool and some West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious DK in the colour Sea Glass to knit the Cecilia cardigan from their beautifully-presented collection designed by Emma Wright.
It won't be long before that is on the needles.
One afternoon, we sat in Stanley Park and did a spot of knitting outside the cafe, where there was cake.
Boy, was there cake!
We had plenty of free time to do as we pleased. I fell into a pattern of a daily stride along the promenade as if I had a dog to exercise. I was wary of spending too much time alone in a town full of care homes for the elderly and exuberant hen parties, because I am still just one beat away from a meltdown, brought on by the strangest things.
I did a pretty good job of holding it together.
But there was no hope of me going up Blackpool Tower or buying a stick of rock on the pier, because I didn't want to be doing it without him.
And then there was Woolfest itself :)
Have you been?
It is a proper sheepy wool festival, with a good mix of independent yarn producers, dyers and designers.
I had hoped to celebrate the Summer Socks Knitalong with a mini-meet-up, but it didn't happen (my own fault for not checking back in the Ravelry group before setting off).
However, I was absolutely delighted to meet a couple of dear blog-friends for the first time, Ambermoggie and Mr Mog.
That tipped me over the edge, but in a good way.
I don't think any of us expected we would make that happen, but we did :)
Now I am home again, with plenty of woolly goodness to share with you after I unpack and get back to my knitting.
|Westcliffe goes to Woolfest (picture taken from their Facebook page)|
I would be signing up myself if it wasn't for a certain four-legged friend who needs to be given a special treat when I collect him from the boarding kennels in the morning!