Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 - My Spin City Stall and loveaffair with Ally Pally

So. Just over two weeks ago now I made the decision to take up a last minute stall the UK's biggest knitting show. This was both an exciting decision but also a very daft one, as at the time I was prepping for Yarndale and had no extra stock or contingency plan, but I just couldn't let an opportunity like this slip past me. *Spoiler alert* It was my best ever show!

Spinning on my Spin City stall at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2015, Photo by Its A Stitch Up

I first went to the Knitting and Stitching Show eight years ago, when I was a textiles student living and studying in London.  Just thinking back to arriving outside the palace on the W3 bus makes my heart leap just a little bit as I had literally been looking forward to going to the show for years. I was knitting and textile art obsessed, and the thought of meeting some of my heroes and being surrounded by yarn was too much to handle. I can still feel the excitement of walking through the grand doors into the glass atrium and being confronted by a giant knitted ship- I had docked at my sort of place.

The beautiful Ally Pally - worth visiting alone!

My 1920s inspired knitted dress with beads trapped in the fabric that I made as a student
Fast forward a few years to 2011 and I had graduated with a first class honours degree in Knitted Textiles from Chelsea College of Art, and applied to be part of the Knitted Textile Awards by UKHK which exhibits at Ally Pally- and I was accepted! I showed garments that I knitted and crocheted inspired by the 1920s, created on antique hand knitting machinery with sewing thread and embellished with macrame and beading. Ah, to be a student again! Here are a few pictures of the dresses I made and took with me all those years ago and took to the Palace...

So naturally, when a chance appeared to have my own stall at the show which had inspired me as a student and had accepted me as a graduate designer was one I couldn't miss for the world. 

My stall all set up at the show on the first day
I had precisely eight days between the wonderful Yarndale and the opening day of The Knitting and Stitching show. One of these days was taken up by travelling back from Yorkshire, and another would be taken up with setting up my stand in London - so that only left six days to get everything ready, for a five day show! I pulled out all the stops and with only a little bit of panicking and a lot less sleep  I managed to get enough stock together which I hoped would look nice on my stall (which was quite a bit smaller than my usual affair due to the prices, even at last minute rates!) 

Here is a little video of my space all set up and looking pretty:

My little stall with my handmade spindles, fibre and faux cashmere rovings

I was overwhelmed by the number of visitors to my stall and the enthusiasm people took to the idea of spinning your own yarn - it was something not many people at the show had really heard of before, and it was a pleasure to bring the word about my craft and teach people about it. 
Knitted and stitched fish by Kate's Plaice 
As usual the show was packed with eye candy and one of my favourite exhibits was the amazing "Kate's Plaice, The Stitch Mongers" which was a faux knitted fish market! The actual fabric of the individual pieces were exquisite - Kate had laminated her knitted textiles with plastic and then over printed with metallic foil and then stitched into them with a beautiful array of beads and sequins. It was quite something to see as all the facets of the sequins lined up so beautifully. I loved the fact that you could buy a couple of fish and Kate would arrange them on a knitted plate for you to hang up at home. I mean- who wouldn't want some knitted fish and chips on your wall?! 

It was constantly busy at the show, sometimes you could hardly move!
I wish I could have shown you more pictures of the week but I was rushed off my feet pretty much the entire time- quite unexpectedly! I sold out a few times and had to keep travelling back to Cambridge every night to pick up more stock. Thank you to everyone who came to see me and make my time at the Knitting and Stitching show such a success! I am genuinely touched by everyone's enthusiasm and support for what I do- so thank you once again!
I'm hoping to get a stall at the Harrogate show in November, so keep your eyes peeled.
Louise x


  1. Your stall looks an amazing array of colour! I have just started spinning on a drop spindle and I love it, I am now secretly longing for a spinning wheel! x

    1. Spinning is such a lovely thing to do, it's creative but also useful - and my hands are constantly itching to pick up some fibre and draft. Spinning with a wheel is a lot of fun, but they take up alot more room! I have three wheels now! Thanks for stopping by at my blog xx

  2. It was a brilliant show and it was lovely to meet you. I was quite taken by the boobs just across from you too. I've spun what I bought and my 5 year old daughter is helping me to pick more.

    1. Haha, who could forget that exhibitor! (Or should I say exhibitionist?!) Glad to hear you are getting on well with your spinning. x

  3. I was just leaving the show when your stall caught my eye, it was so pretty! I'd been admiring your fibre online for a while so I was really pleased I didn't miss you :)

    1. Yay! Thank you for stopping before you went! I was really happy with my stall position- right by the door! Thank you for supporting my little fibre business! Louise x