Today I had a 'day pass'... husband took Little Whirlwind out for the day, and to avoid sitting at home all day and being tempted to do housework, I decided to see where I could go. And I struck gold. The Hobby Salon was on in Mechelen.
So, I packed my knitting in my bag (EZ February Baby sweater), grabbed my dictionary and headed for the train. And it turned into one of those days where life in Belgium is pretty great. First of all, there was a deal - train ticket, plus shuttle bus to the venue, plus entry, a grand total of 14.50 euro. Considering entry alone was 10 euro, and parking would have been 4 euro - taking the train was an incredible bargain.
And then, the fair itself. It's the sort of place that the Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin could take lessons from. Every stand seemed to be craft related. None of the usual stain remover/kitchen knives/magic something-or-other, no-one shouting from the stands - all good quality craft materials or craft-related things. There wasn't much yarn, it seemed to be focused more on quilting and scrapbooking, but there was enough to keep me occupied, and I spend quite a long time staring at the beautiful quilts on display wondering if I could take up yet another craft. I never got elbowed out of the way, never had to fight to get to a stand even though the place was very busy. Most importantly, I was actually able to walk around the hall without getting overheated and claustrophobic.
The layout of the hall was great - all around the sides were different food options - coffee and cakes in one part, sandwich bar in another, full meals in another. And then, on one side of the hall a "beer hall". Schnitzel and beer. Bliss. Not cheap, but not too expensive, and the portion could have fed four people.
What, did you think I was going to finish without showing you my haul...?
If the yarn knits up as well as I think it might, I think I'll be a regular customer. I got this lovely brown-gold sock yarn.
The colours are beautiful, and the skeins of sock yarn look generous too, so I got another one, in my favourite colour - teal.
Finally, a lovely red yarn caught my eye. So a skein of merino-cashmere made it into the bag too.
And, to finish the lovely day, Little Whirlwind is sitting at the table happily getting herself covered in (washable!) ink using a set of farmyard stamps that I just couldn't resist from one of the scrapbooking stands, and Himself is happily tapping away on his computer.