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For the second year running, Purl Alpaca Designs exhibited at Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching show.

We enjoyed the show immensely and were lucky enough to be staying in The Old Swan Hotel (only 300 yards from the exhibition hall), a beautiful old building where apparently Agatha Christie hid from the world for a few weeks. Well, if it is good enough for her…

We were promised a big celebrity presence at the show, and true to word – the one and only fairy Gokmother was there! Gok Wan visited the show over a two day period doing a few short presentations quite close to our stand, and one recording of his TV show.  (When walking past our stand he clocked the Bjelle/Adie/Charlie dressed mannequin).

We met so many lovely people over the four days we were there, both returning customers, new customers and other exhibitors. Some stopped by to show us what they had knitted since they were at the show last year, like this lady, who had made Geronimo in all fawn and looked stunning wearing it! Thank you to everyone who came by to see us!

All was going well until 2.00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, when it started snowing… and snowing… and snow some more!  The show closed early at 4.45 instead of 5 o’clock and Tracy went to get the van from the hotel.  Now for anyone who doesn’t know Harrogate, it is a beautiful Victorian Town built on hills and the International Conference Centre is at the bottom of these.  (Ask anyone in Harrogate for directions and they always say: “go up the hill” but never say which one!)

And we all know what snow means (no, not pretty snow covered hills or snowball fights) – traffic chaos!  The traffic had all managed to get down the hill, but all were struggling to get back up! Tracy joined the queue, but very little was moving and after 20 minutes of going nowhere Tracy decided she’d had enough of it and turned round.  Well fishtailed round really and blocked the road!  So, now we had the problem of directing traffic and unblocking the road on top of how to get our dismantled stand into the van and get home. With help from the hotel staff and wheelbarrows full of grit, Tracy managed to get the van back to a safe parking spot in front of the hotel and then she went to tell Kari-Helene the news.

The good thing about owning your own company is the ability to adapt.  Not so much think outside the box as not having a box at all!  Between us, we dismantled the stand, took it all to the entrance of the exhibition centre and then made sleighs out of the yarn boxes, rail and wooden crates.  We then either carried or dragged everything back up the hill, across the road of stationary traffic, up another hill and loaded it into the van (no yarn was hurt in the process). Sisters are most definitely doing it for themselves!

Kari-Helene was meeting people in Liverpool that night and managed to catch the train from Harrogate, to Leeds and then to Liverpool (most impressed with all the trains being on time!), whereas Tracy was stuck.  The M1 and A1 were closed and so she checked into the hotel for an additional night, had a lovely meal in the dining room and an early night. 

On the Monday, the roads were cleared and, after driving through the blizzards of Lincolnshire, Tracy arrived home safely.  Just as well really because they haven’t had the thaw since!

Here is a selection of photos from our stay in Harrogate:

Kari-Helene modeling Allegro and Misty wristwarmers
Tracy showing off Balboa and Diana Headband


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