Saturday 10 October 2015

The Knitting and Stitching Show - October 2015

Knitting and Stitching Show - Alexandra Palace - October 2015

Following on from our successful trip to the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court last month, on Friday I headed across London to meet up with Pam for The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. My poor wallet!

This is such a wonderful venue, high up on a hill with amazing views of London and beautiful architecture everywhere.

Knitting and Stitching Show - Alexandra Palace - October 2015

Compared to the Handmade Fair, this was huge! There were halls full of stalls to browse and plenty of opportunities for me to take more of my favourite rainbow-coloured-craft-stuff pictures:

Rainbow yarn - Knitting and Stitching Show

Rainbow floss - Knitting and Stitching Show

Rainbow ribbon - Knitting and Stitching Show

That's all the rainbow spam for today, I promise!

We spent a lot of time at the Lorna Bateman Embroidery stall, where we were caught staring in wonder at the beautiful ribbon work flowers in Lorna's work.

Lorna Bateman Embroidery - Knitting and Stitching Show

Chatting to Lorna, I explained that I had only just learned to cross-stitch and that was the limit of my embroidery experience. Lorna insisted that these amazing looking flowers are really easy to make and kindly proceeded to demonstrate for us. This really helped to show us how each of the flowers was built up with just a few different stitches and gave us some great tips on working with the ribbon. In a rush of potentially ill-judged enthusiasm, and possibly the very definition of running before I can walk, I bought their simplest 'beginner' kit to make one of these:

Lorna Bateman Embroidery pincushion - Knitting and Stitching Show

Check back soon to see how disastrously that turns out!

As this trip was booked on rather short notice, we hadn't signed up for any of the paid-for workshops that were available.  When we arrived, however, we found out that the show was running a 'Stitch-By-Stitch' programme of free craft demonstrations that you could turn up to without booking.  These were brilliant and meant we could easily fit in the talks we wanted to see without having to worry about tickets and cost.

The first one we attended was run by Bronagh Miskelly from the Knitting and Crochet Guild, who had the tough job of convincing us that cable knitting was nothing to be scared of. I haven't knitted in a long time, so I'm not sure if this is beyond me, but I'm inspired to have a go. They really do make things look pretty, and I'm hoping that the crochet experience I've had since I last knitted will give me a bit more confidence to try reading the patterns. Pam has challenged me to make her a headband, so I'll add that to the list of things I'm supposed to be doing!

After grabbing some lunch we headed to our next talk, this time from Sylvia Fairhurst of the Beadworkers Guild.  She demonstrated how to stitch beads together to make jewellery - in this case, a St. Petersburg chain - and then we all got to try!  I love making things with beads and have had a go at this sort of thing before, but having a professional demonstration adds so much that learning from a book doesn't teach you.

Here are some of Sylvia's example pieces showing what varied designs you can produce with different applications of the same stitch (left) and my little St. Petersburg practice chain (right):

St Petersburg chain - beading - Knitting and Stitching Show

Definitely time to break out the beading box again and see what I can do! I don't think I'll be able to match the clever things made by the people from the Beadworkers Guild though - it looks like their members have been busy making pretty things to decorate the stall.

Beadworkers Guild - Knitting and Stitching Show

Demonstrations done, it was time for a bit more shopping before home-time.  After that last workshop I was quite tempted to shop for more beads, but I'm very proud that I showed restraint - I just took a picture instead. More on my bead obsession in future posts, perhaps!

Beads - Knitting and Stitching Show

Here are a couple more pictures from the stalls - some clever yarn bowls, embroidered buttons from The Glass Pingle and some pretty pincushion necklaces:

Yarn bowls - Knitting and Stitching Show

Embroidered buttons and pincushion necklaces - Knitting and Stitching Show

As part of the show there were also curated galleries displaying the work of some very clever artists. Here are some sections of the beautifully colourful crochet work of Sophie Digard, presented by Selvedge:

Sophie Digard crochet - Knitting and Stitching Show

Directly opposite was 'Kate's Plaice, The Stitchmongers', showcasing the amazing stitched fishmonger display created by Kate Jenkins.  Everything is handmade, from giant sequin-sparkly lobsters to tiny shellfish, and the attention to detail is meticulous.

Kate's Place, The Stitchmongers - Kate Jenkins - Knitting and Stitching Show

The unexpected star of the show for us was Pam's fox brooch, made by Australian jewellery and accessory makers Erstwilder, which received compliments at almost every stop!  How cute is this?

Erstwilder Oscar Wildenfox brooch

Squeezing in a couple more pictures before leaving this lovely location, it was time to head for home. We both had a really great time, getting lots of new ideas and inspiration, and will hopefully be heading to the next one in Spring at Olympia!

Alexandra Palace window