The Knitting and Stitching Show of 2017
Every year, there is a lot of excitement around the south of England about the arrival of the annual Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.
A range of retailers
For the past few years I have gone along to the show. I enjoy going not just to stock up the ‘stash’ pile, but I find it is also a great source of inspiration. There are so many different retailers under the one roof. Some very small, boutique retailers (often trying to get their name out there), and some larger, well established retailers. I also enjoy being able to chat with the owners of these stores when they are small. It’s so interesting hearing them talk about their business. I have my ‘favourites’ that I at least like to look at each year, and I enjoy seeing the new retailers too.
The show this year ‘felt’ a little different. There were a few retailers I hadn’t seen there before (though I had seen some of them at shows in Australia as they are Australian retailers). I can’t quite put my finger on why exactly this show had a different feel to it. And it is neither a good nor bad feeling either – it was just simply different!
For the past couple of years I have gone to the show on the Saturday. I go with a group of friends, and with various work and other commitments this is the easiest day to co-ordinate for all of us. One of the downfalls of course is that Saturday is the busiest day of the show. The place is absolutely heaving with people. Just after the doors first opened, it wasn’t actually too bad. But for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, it was truly beyond busy. I think next year I might contemplate taking a Thursday afternoon off work to go on their ‘late night’ Thursday. Not only do you get a discounted ticket after 3pm, but it isn’t quite so busy.
I asked a couple of the retailers had it been a successful show for them. Surprisingly they said it hadn’t been as busy as previous years. So I hope there was enough success for most of the retailers there, as it would be a shame to lose the show in it’s current form, or completely, as Scotland has.
Our plan of attack
With so many stalls, and so many options, it is very easy to get overwhelmed at a show such as this. Also, because the group of friends I go with has such a range in ‘craft interests’, we do tend to have quite a structured route that we use to get us through the day.
We simply start at the ‘A’ row, and work our way through the main hall (with sufficient coffee and lunch breaks!). When someone sees something they might be interested in, they let me know the stall ID, and I scrawl it down in the Show guide.
At the end of the hall, we then go back and look at what we were interested in, and make the purchases if we wish. Then, on the occasion where we are still not sure about something, I simply mark that stall as one to come back to at a later stage.
This plan works well as it means we don’t make ‘rash’ decisions, and we don’t have to lug our purchases around all day!
So, what did I get?!
I actually went with a rather small ‘list’, and on the whole, I stuck with it a lot more than I normally do! I also purchased two Christmas presents, which is awfully organised for me!
This may seem like a slightly odd thing to purchase given I already have a lot. But, I went with the idea of buying threads that aren’t readily available and that I want to try stitching with. So I came out with lace wool (I’ve got an idea for this, and you may be surprised!), and quite a few different silk threads.
Ribbons and buttons
Slightly odd for someone who doesn’t do ribbon embroidery I grant you! But again, like the lace wool, I’ve got a plan for this!
The buttons – not for dressmaking, but again, I’ve got plans!
One of the ‘things on the list’ was to visit the Silk Route and get some nice silk that might be appropriate for when it comes time to do my gold work piece at the RSN. Unfortunately the RSN’s supply of silk is somewhat limited, as I found out when trying to find something suitable for the silk shading piece, and I wanted to have a few more options available for the gold work piece.
I also came away with some canvas (now those previous purchases might make sense!).
Odds and Ends
Not much in this category – as I said a couple of gifts, a rotary cutter and some of these Japanese needles I have heard a lot about recently. I’ve not stitched with them yet, but I will let you know what I think! They are considerably more expensive than the John James needles I use, and they don’t come in a size 12 embroidery. So at this stage I’m a little sceptical they are worth the extra expense, but until I use them I won’t know for sure!
And one purchase you need to use your imagination on!
Well, that’s what I told my hubby! He still doesn’t get it. I think it is an absolutely brilliant idea, and as soon as I’ve worked out where to put it, I will be putting it together. It’s a flat mannie! I promise I haven’t gone completely bonkers (maybe I should let you decide that one though!). I purchased the large female one, and I’m already wishing I had made a pair and added the large male as well!
And, if you are a dressmaker, you can cover them to make them into an actual mannequin.
She is a truly passionate business owner who really believes in her product. I could write quite a bit on these just alone! But in essence, they are made of fully recycled products, have a low carbon footprint, and are made in the UK. And all from a very lovely lady.
A lovely day out!
And that was our lovely day out! It’s a great day out with friends or by yourself. It’s truly inspiring, not just from the stalls that are there, but from seeing so many people interested in craft under the one roof.
I was completely exhausted by the end. We were there almost the entire day, and with an early start to get a car park, it was a long day. But a very worthwhile one all the same!