A Fresh Look at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show

Earlier this month, the Ragged Life team headed over to north London for the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show 2018.

Alexandra Palace Palm Court Knitting and Stitching Show 2018 Alexandra Palace

Anyone recognise the Palm Court?

As many of you regulars know by now, I like to share a few of my highlights after such shows. This means that even if you couldn’t make it on the day, you can still share in the colour, craft and creativity.

I’ve exhibited at quite a few of the Knitting and Stitching Shows by now, which means that I’ve become a bit blinkered to the amazing things that are on display. So, I thought that it would be a fun idea to see what a complete Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show newbie would pick out from the show. Cue Scott…

Ragged Life exhibitor stand Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace 2018

Scott ready to explore the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the Ragged Life team, that’s me, Elspeth, in the middle, my mum (the original rag rug guru) Victoria on the left and my friend (and guinea pig for the day), Scott, on the right. You may have also met Emmie, Kate or Romy if you made it to the show. Thanks for coming by to say hi if you did 🙂

Who is Scott?

  • Scott is an old family friend who studied art and graphic design at Central St. Martin’s. He’s used to art in all its varied forms, but was new to the big and colourful world of craft and textiles. I was intrigued to see what pieces and products he would pick out.
  • Scott enjoys photography in his spare time and, although I edited these photos (sorry for messing up your work Scott), I thought he would be a able to do justice to some of the beautiful textile pieces on display.

So, here it goes…

Scott’s Highlights from Ally Pally Knitting & Stitching Show 2018:

Textile Gallery Highlights:

Naturally, Scott is biased, but he was in agreement that the cosy and colourful Ragged Life stand was one of the best places to be in the entire show. He may have been lured in by Victoria’s collection of chocolate biscuits, but we’ll gladly accept the compliment either way. This was our home for the four days…

Ragged Life Rag Rug experts at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London

This was our little cosy corner stand.

Make a Rag Rug Letters made using textile waste

You couldn’t miss us with our colourful rag rug letters.

New to the show was our super cosy 100% wool blanket yarn, which went down an absolute treat amongst the avid crafters.

Ragged Life 100% wool Blanket Yarn

It was so fun introducing everyone to our gorgeous blanket yarn.

We had so much fun deciding what to display the blanket yarn in, including my great-grandma’s vintage cot.

Rag Rug Blanket Yarn Balls displayed in a vintage cot at a craft fair

This vintage cot was my great grandmothers!

Also new to the show were our new Rag Rug Kids Kits to make cute or creepy Rag-a-Monsters.

Ragged Life rag rug kids kit to make recycled rag-a-monsters out of eco-friendly materials

Our new Rag Rug Kids Kits make these funny Rag-a-Monsters.

Buy Rag Rug Kits at the Ragged Life stand

You can see our new Rag Rug Kids Kits up in the top left crate.

Well, that’s enough about us, over to Scott’s other highlights.

Our stand was facing John Allen’s beautiful “Spirit of Place” wall hangings, which immediately caught Scott’s eye.  He thought that the attention to detail in the work was just superb and the colours were so rich and warming.

John Allen Spirit of Place Textile Pieces

John Allen’s “Spirit of Place” Textile Pieces

Spirit of Place Textile Art

Spirit of Place

With his art background, Scott spent most of his time in the galleries at the show. He was intrigued by Nicky Barfoot’s knitted bird-themed artworks, which he stumbled upon relatively early during his exploration.

Knitting and Stitching Show London 2018 Textile Gallery Artworks

The textile gallery.

I can’t pretend to understand them, but the colours in one below are very nice…

Nicky Barfoot Knitted Artwork

This was Scott’s favourite of the Nicky Barfoot pieces.

I also appreciated the fact that he found hessian somewhere else in the show 🙂

Nicky Barfoot Textile Pieces

This “DUCK” artwork disturbed me a little bit, but Scott liked it.

Scott also picked out The Dementia Darnings by Jenni Dutton. Not only were they striking pieces of artwork, but they also had significant meaning. According to the Knitting and Stitching Show website, “these photographs represent Dutton’s mother at various points of her life. In making these portraits, Jenni has encountered and explores new perspectives on her mother’s dementia and the erosive, as well as the transformative, effects of this illness on the self and the mother-daughter relationship.” 

The Dementia Darnings by Jenni Dutton Textile Pieces of ladies

The Dementia Darnings by Jenni Dutton were incredibly striking.

The Dementia Darnings by Jenni Dutton at the London knitting and stitching show

Scott loved the detail in The Dementia Darnings.

The Dementia Darnings Jenni Dutton women sewn into artworks in textile gallery and 2018 knitting and stitching show at ally pally

The Dementia Darnings by Jenni Dutton

Another highlight was the slightly psychedelic-esc wall art “Spiraling Out” by Dawn Hemming. Apparently some of Hemming’s complex pieces take over 100 hours of hand knitting and contain nearly 150,000 stitches!

Dawn Hemming ‘Spiraling Out’

Dawn Hemming’s “Spiraling Out” exhibition.

hand-knit one-piece circular textiles Dawn Hemming Knitter

You can see the complexity of the piece when you look up close.

Knitted Mandela Circles by Dawn Hemming

Spiralling Out by Dawn Hemming.

Dawn Hemming Knitted Circles

Dawn Hemming Knitted Circles

Scott also particularly liked the silk weaving by Papilionaceous. This isn’t someone I’d ever seen at the show before.

Silk work by Papilionaceous

Silk work by Papilionaceous

Silk weaving by Papilionaceous

These silk weavings were very detailed and arresting.

Here were Scott’s other highlights from the textile gallery…

Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace 2018

Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace 2018

Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace 2018

One of Scott’s unexpected highlights were these ornamentally embroidered sewing boxes.

Embroidery Knitting and Stitching Show

An unexpected favourite of Scotts was these embroidered chests.

Embroidery Knitting and Stitching Show

Embroidery at its best.

The Great Hall and Other Highlights:

Last year, I was exhibiting in the Great Hall part of the show, but this year I never actually made it into the Great Hall at all (except once to sneakily buy some fabric). Fortunately, Scott took a good look around and these were the things that caught his eye… or camera lens.

Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

The Great Hall

Textiles at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Textiles at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Textiles at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Exhibitor Stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Tree Textile Piece at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Indigo Dying at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Textiles at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Textiles at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Scott’s Favourite Craft Kits:

As well as beautiful textile artworks, the Knitting and Stitching Show is a great place to pick up beginners kits to make your own crafty creations. These were some of Scott’s favourite kits from the show…

Our Ragged Life kits!!! Once again, I’m pretty sure there’s a good amount of bias there, but apparently our pretty packaging really stood out from the crowd.

Ragged Life Rag Rug Kits

Our Ragged Life beginners rag rug kits were a big hit at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2018.

Scott also liked the House of Zandra felt kits at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show. I’d never seen them before, so that was a nice change.

House of Zandra Craft Kits

House of Zandra Kits

Some of you mentioned that you were slightly put out by the “Toft Takeover” of the Knitting and Stitching Show this year, but Scott had never seen their kits before and really enjoyed their new sea creatures range. Has anyone tried making any yet?

Toft knitted sea life kits

Toft were launching their new sea life range.

Another wool-based kit he enjoyed were the Stitch and Story kits, but that may have been down to the lovely presentation. So cute!

Stitch and Story Stand at Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Miffy knitting kits

Funnily enough, Scott picked out two stallholders who I regularly feature in my highlights 🙂 Sincerely Louise’s knitted faux taxidermy and Hannah Bass’ cross stitch cushions…

Sincerely Louise Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Sincerely Louise

Hannah Bass Modern Cross Stitch Cushions

Hannah Bass and I displayed together at the Renegade Craft Fair many years ago.

In Conclusion:

Getting a fresh perspective made me really appreciate how lucky I am to be a part of such a wonderful textile community here in the UK. Scott’s showcase made me look at the craft world I inhabit with fresh eyes and take a step back to appreciate what I have. Thanks for being such a good sport Scott – be careful or I may just find more work for you 🙂

Do you agree with Scott’s highlights? Which are your favourites from those featured above? Did we miss anything truly special? Please comment below to let us know what you liked most. We love to know what you think.

The Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show 2018:

Not a soft southerner like me? If Harrogate is closer to your neck of the woods then hopefully I will see you there next month. 23rd-26th November, we’ll be on stand TG125, which is marked by the red circle on the map below (yes, glamorous map, I know!)

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show Map 2018

The red circle marks where our stand is in the show. We’re on stand TG125.

Knitting and Stitching Show Map

Here you can see exactly where to find us in the Textile gallery 🙂

Do let me know if you are planning to come along as it’s nice to finally put faces to names.

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As always, thanks for reading.

Elspeth x

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