I went to the first Raveler meeting in Germany yesterday. It was in Backnang, which is near Stuttgart, about an hour and a half by train from here.

I already had a full bag, and our camera is heavy, so I didn’t bring it. I tend to get camnesia anyway, and I didn’t want to carry it all day. So we’ll have to make do without pictures.

The meetup was hosted by the Wollstube Wollin, which is the closest I’ve come to an American-style yarn shop since we’ve been here. They had a great selection, and I could have bought 10 yarns in their store alone. But I didn’t. I managed to stick to just enough yarn for a recently-requested hat for Branden (it’s suddenly becoming fall here). The blue yarn in the bottom right corner is the hat yarn. It’s a blend of merino, bamboo, cotton, baby alpaca, and super kid mohair, and it is soft. It’s by Austermann, and the yarn is called Natura. I started knitting the hat today, and I’m almost sorry that I didn’t get more.

The meeting marketplace had several vendors with very nice handpainted yarn. Drachenwolle was there, and they had a yarn that I really, really liked. It was a black laceweight, but was dyed with a specific set of color repeats so that you could create vertical stripes in your knitting when using the proper pattern. The center stripes were a vibrant progression rainbow that really stood out against the black yarn. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have a picture of the sample on their website. They should, though, because it’s stunning. I liked the colorfulness, and I’m intrigued by the dyeing technique; I really wanted to buy a couple of skeins, if only to learn about planned dyeing. I dithered too long and they sold out. (This is a super-secret strategy that I use to avoid excess stash enhancement. I walk away for a few hours, think about it, and if it’s still there when I get back, then I might buy some.)

I thought that Wollemeise was going to be there, but apparently not. Probably just as well, in terms of stash size.

The spinning fiber came from the Spinning Martha booth, which was great since I’m almost out of the roving that I brought with me. It’s BFL, and it’s simply beautiful. I appear to be on a rainbow kick lately.

I managed to resist buying some beautiful wooden needles made from leftover wood from musical instruments. They were warm and had just the right amount of polish, and the wood was beautiful. But I didn’t really need any more needles, so I managed to escape. Barely.

Finally, I bought a huge skein of Kauni from Wollwerkstatt. I’ve been thinking about trying Kauni for a long time, but had never met it in person. It’s a little on the rough side, but I like hard wools, and the colors are beautiful. I’m really looking forward to a sweater from this. Annette was very helpful, and super friendly. She had two spinning wheels with her that her husband had made by hand; one was hers, and one was for sale. The one that was for sale was optimized for laceweight, and it was a beautiful wheel. Spun like a dream…I didn’t want to get up. Unfortunately, it was also quite expensive, as it’s completely hand made from top quality material. It’s not on my purchase list, but it was definitely a pleasure to spin with. I could have stayed there all day.

The second wheel and I didn’t get along. It was smaller, and we were just not on the same wavelength. The tension may also have been a little off, as the yarn just kept falling apart in my hands. I think it’s funny how you can take a spinner, put them in front of a few different wheels, and end up with a completely different experience. The big wheel could have sweet talked its way into my house in a heartbeat; the little one, not so much.

The people were also wonderful. It was great to see everyone so excited about getting together and knitting. I imagine that this vibe must have been like Rheinbeck or Madrona in the very early days; everyone was a little awestruck that there was a knitting meeting, and they were thrilled to be there. There was a lot of skill in that room, and it was fun to see all the different garments. Germans definitely have a taste for lace, so it was especially fun for my lace-loving self.

One thing that was especially nice about this meetup was the way they set up the room. The perimeter had all of the vendor booths, and the center was full of probably 40 or 50 banquet tables with chairs. The focus was really on the knitting meeting, and not just the buying and selling. People came and went between classes, but it was really nice to see the constant hum of spontaneous knitting groups all around the room.

It was also nice that the marketplace wasn’t huge. I tend to get overwhelmed by too many yarn fumes all at once, and I just can’t enjoy shopping as much. There were probably 10 vendors, and there was plenty of yarn to choose from.

I spent a good bit of time talking with Katho, who was teaching a class on sock knitting. We had a great chat about the challenges of teaching, how to prepare for classes, and all kinds of other teachery things. I also met a CrazyVet from Barcelona (Rav link). I’d send you to her blog, but it’s all in Arabic, as she’s originally from Israel. She’s just moved here for grad school in neurobiology, so there were lots of things for us to talk about. She’s also a beginning spinner, so we spent a long time playing on Annette’s spinning wheels. Kiki (Rav link) was spindling away on some beautiful laceweight, which made me regret the decision to leave my spindle at home lest it get broken in my bag. Next time I will bring it along. (I am very proud of myself for not caving and buying a new spindle…they had some beautiful lightweight ones that would be perfect for lace…)

I also got to meet Jess and Casey of Ravelry. They’re in Germany for the next week or so, and stopped by the Ravelry meetup for the day. Julester from the Heidelberg knitting group is a close friend of theirs, so I got to spend a little bit of time with them. They’re both very nice, and I’m looking forward to the smaller Heidelberg meetup next week.

So that was my Saturday. A very long, very fun day. Today, I slept late, knit and spun. Not bad for a solitary weekend.