From Wednesday to Sunday last week (11th-15th October, 2017), I was sharing the Ragged Life love at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. Over the course of the week, I ran workshops for rag rug beginners and did demos from my Ragged Life stand in the Great Hall. I never get as much time to look around as I hope I will (which is probably a good thing as it would be bad for the purse otherwise) but I did steal a few minutes here and there to take a look around the show and take some photos of some of the wonderful stands and textile art on display. This is only a very small sample of what the Knitting and Stitching Show has to offer but I hope it gives you a flavour of how vibrant and fun the fair was. Enjoy!
The Ragged Life Stand:
So, every day I would begin by my day by restocking and generally faffing around with the Ragged Life stand. When I was first setting it up, I wanted the space to feel warm and cosy… like someone’s rustic living room that you had accidentally stumbled into. Well, here’s how it looked in the end and you can be the judge of whether I achieved it or not… and yes, that is an old wooden ironing board under the pink striped rug 🙂
The Other Stands at the Show:
One of our neighbours for the entirety of the show was Colinette Yarns who had the stand directly opposite us. They had the most wonderful selection of mohair, aran and chunky wool. It took all my mum’s willpower not to buy up the entire shop and I am so so pleased that we had something so bright and beautiful to look at throughout the fair. I LOVE WOOL!
When I finally got a moment spare, I popped over to see Hannah from Hannah Bass Contemporary Needlepoint. Hannah and I had stands at the Crafty Fox Market in the Old Truman Brewery a couple of years ago so it was nice to see her doing so well at the Knitting and Stitching Show. I particularly liked her new “Night Owl” and “Early Bird” needlepoint cushion kits, which you can see below… if only I had the patience!
The Knitting and Stitching Show is full of textile exhibitions and this one immediately caught my eye because of the abundance of colour and texture. The artist of this particular display completed one small piece of textile art every day for a year and the overall effect at the end is pretty enthralling…
Earlier this year in August, the Festival of Quilts took place in Birmingham and visitors could browse the collection of hundreds of quilts from hobbyist quilters and professionals alike (maybe some of you went along?). A distinguished panel of experts chose their favourite quilts from a number of categories and the winners were all on display over the five days of the Knitting and Stitching Show. Here are a few of the quilts that made the cut for a few of the categories:
Another design I liked was Friday Frolics’ “The Four Seasons” quilt. The piece was so vibrant I couldn’t help but take a closer look. I love the way the flowers stand out against the bright yellow and orange backgrounds and how much detail goes into every… single… petal. Again, I admire the patience of the crafters as the outcome is beautiful with a separate design on each part of the flowers to represent the changes in nature throughout the year.
The winner of the two person quilt was “Tidings” by Mary Palmer and Anne Kelly. Definitely Google this quilt as this is only a section of the full piece and it was truly a work of art. Very contemporary but eye-catching.
This quilt appeared very sinister when I first came across it so I’m quite glad that the subject matter was supposed to be a bit unnerving… Big Brother. Eerie…
Moving on, I found myself rummaging through a stand called Bazaar. A range of items were for sale including clothing, quilts, wall hangings, jewellery and textile materials. The rich colours and high shine of the fabrics made for a very vibrant display, which almost had the effect of drawing you away from Alexandra Palace to a different place altogether. Not surprising, considering founder Joanna Hall imports her goods from India where she has been working with crafts people for over 19 years. So, I’d say that was the place to head to if you’re after gifts or goods a bit out of the ordinary.
After wandering for a bit, I was drawn to Spin City because of its rainbow colours, shine and sparkle which guided me in from across the hall. There seems to be a theme occurring here…
As you can see, the bright candy floss clouds of natural fibres come in almost any colour (glitter optional) thanks to the work of their creator, Louise. All her items are handmade and natural with the fibres collected from local farms and spun to perfection by hand to get the perfect texture. So not only does her stall look good, it feels good as well.
I really enjoyed looking around Fi Oberon’s needle felting work too. Fi is one of the other expert tutors working at the show so we often bump into each other dodging in and out of the tutor cupboard. It was nice to see some of her creations when I had a little more time to spare. She has created miniature animals in their own little worlds, which were just too cute not to snap a photo of (especially that squirrel, right?).
Her book, The Natural World of Needle Felting, explains just how to make these little creatures so if you’re intrigued as I was, take a look.
Next stop was Extreme Textiles which showed us the work of Rachel John, who has pioneered the art of extreme knitting by mixing several strands of yarn into one and weaving with giant needles. Basically, think everything big.
Thanks to the size of the tools and materials, pieces are unsurprisingly made much quicker than if ‘normal’ methods are used. As if this wasn’t enough incentive for the lazy (or time-preserving, if you prefer) crafter, as well as this, the outcome is great. You can see the way the strands are folded and woven around each other in the finished pieces, which I think, adds more interest to the design.
Every day, when I entered the Palm Court of Ally Pally, I would walk past this amazing handbag exhibition to get to the Ragged Life stand. I love it when fashion showcases the skilled work of textile artisans.
A few random photos from the Knitting and Stitching Show:
I didn’t write down what these were exactly as I didn’t have an awful lot of time to stop and admire but I really liked them in person so thought I’d share them with you nonetheless…
So, that’s a run through of some of the wonderful things I managed to see at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2017. I really hope you enjoyed my highlights and, if you haven’t visited before, that you feel inspired to come along next time. I’ll be at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show next month is anyone is planning to visit that show. More details to follow 🙂
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Lovely Elspeth! It is very generous of you to share so much with us. Your stand was very atmospheric and I think you got just the right feel to it. Congratulations…
It’s a pleasure to see what you are, and have been, up to! Keep up the good work.
With best wishes, Rosey