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'm hoping to get a stall at the Harrogate show in November, so keep your eyes peeled.