|In my element, perusing aisles full of yarn at Scheepjes HQ. Photo credit: Deri Uys|
Last Thursday I headed off to Gatwick airport to meet up with my friend Dedri Uys (if you don't recognise the name, you will probably know her for 'Sophie's Universe'). Dedri and I met at the last Scheepjes Bloggers' Weekend and it was time to do it all over again. Although we had been together at Unravel recently, there was still a lot to catch up on as we traveled to the Netherlands - new projects, her Wool Warehouse shop*, sock knitting, what we hoped to see over the weekend, including my yarn "wish-list". When we arrived at Schipol airport, Tatiana was waiting for us and we made the journey to Groningen together (by double-decker intercity train).
Groningen is a beautiful city in the northern Netherlands with written history that dates back to 1040, and evidence that it existed long before then. It was an important trade centre in the 13th Century and it's university was founded in 1614. As my WWII-history-buff husband informed me, it was also the site of second world war battle which destroyed most of the main square. These days it is full of colour - the bikes, small boats (in Dutch, "scheepjes"), stalls of vibrant flowers in the market square and even many of the buildings.
On Friday morning we headed to Scheepjes HQ where we met up with the rest of the bloggers' group, minus two who were unable to attend this time. As always we had a wonderful welcome from the Scheepjes team including personalised goody bags. As a small family-run business, Scheepjes are keen to support other small independents and our bags included a Tilly Flop teatowel - mine says "Oh how I'd rather be knitting!"*, an awesome double-sided mug from Deez Dutch - mine says "Bloggers Gonna Blog / Knitters Gonna Knit" *, as well as prefect-style badges!
After an educational day, lots of yarn squishing and exciting secret (s-EEEK!-ret) previews, which will make some of my yarn-wishes come true, we all headed out together. I'd met most people already but over a delicious meal (and rather a lot of wine) I chatted and laughed with those I hadn't met before. It's interesting that most of the younger people went off to bed quite early, leaving a few of us in the bar until the small hours - but I'm not sharing those photos!
'They' say that things happen for a reason, and it was Wink who first introduced me to Scheepjes (they wanted to commission a knitting pattern). When I was invited to last years Bloggers' Weekend, new friendships were made and they have bloomed over the last year. Aside from the professional opportunities and personal friendships, being part of this group has helped so much with the loss of our friend-in-common and given me the chance to contribute to something productive and worthwhile in her name. In the early hours of Sunday morning there was laughter, tears, and yet more laughter as Esther, Nerissa, Atty, Dedri and I reminisced and discussed the project we have been working on in Wink's memory.
After shipping my own contributions for the Last Dance on the Beach crochet-along, I had only seen the completed blankets on official photos and seeing them with the other designers and friends, was very special. On Saturday, between crafting, eating, and breaking my tooth (yes, really!) we managed to get this picture with the Dance under the Stars luxury (Merino Soft) blanket sample.
|L to R: Kirsten, Jellina, Esther, Dedri, Carmen, Esther, Christa,|
Job aka 'Mr Scheepjes', Atty, Tatiana, Bernadette, me, Nerissa, Tammy and Maria.
I have so many more pictures and highlights from this trip, but I'll save them for later and will finish by saying this... When you find your 'tribe' it's a wonderful thing and in this case, the tribe found me. I'm so proud to be a part of such a special group of people. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Scheepjes for their wonderful hospitality - dank je wel!