It seems (hmm...) that she was a group organiser with spare tickets. But, being ticketless myself, I decided not to ask any questions and got one for £8. Saving money on the entrance fee was highly welcome, as my train fare (which I'd expected to be £17) turned out to be £31. I'd forgotten that afternoon fare restrictions apply to anywhere in the Capitalcard area, and not just to central London. Boo.
Actually, the price surprise wasn't as bad as the dream I'd had in the small hours of Friday morning. I'd arrived at Ally Pally only to find the halls filled with market stalls stacked high with cleaning products. Everyone else was walking round with bags full of Toilet Duck and Mr Muscle, saying "isn't this wonderful" and I was standing there (feeling tears streaming down my face) saying "no, it ruins the world's resources and I can't even knit with it". I was very glad to wake up and realise that it had all been a (bad) dream.
Once (genuinely) there I had a great time. Here's what went into my bag:
I'm NOT going to detail all the yarn (all of it is either 100% wool dk, or alpaca and wool dk or 75% wool, 25 % nylon sock yarn... and it will probably all get rippled between now and Xmas) but here's a close up of the tools I got:
On the left the I-couldn't-resist-it mini sock blocker keyring from Foreign Strand, where the lovely Woolly Wormhead was helping out. Next, some delightful treats which are going to be my birthday present from my sister. Firstly, an Aztec pattern chatelaine (I'm forever forgetting where I've put my scissors), then 2 wonderful crochet-lite hooks from Gill's Woolly Workshop. These should enable me to ripple with confidence at KTogs in even the darkest of pubs. Finally (not quite in shot, grr) a surina crochet hook from the Natural Dye Studio. I also bought something else from them but it is a secret, so not pictured!
To my great surprise everything in the 2 pictures above fitted into one large paper carrier bag and--by sticking rigidly to my policy of only buying yarns to make into things to sell (thus eliminating the lure of the luxury yarns)--I came home within my budget!
I also spent ages returning to the exhibition of Primmy and Jessie Chroley's work. The "Eden" series of embroiderred tea cosies by Primmy Chorley just kept drawing me back.
But, as ever, the best bit about the show was bumping into knitting friends from all over the country. So many, in fact, that I shall borrow a phrase from Annie Nightingale and say "names too numerous to mention".
The best of days!