October is here again and suddenly it’s time for that annual extravaganza which celebrates everything to do with Knitting and Stitching… Twisted Thread’s Knitting and Stitching Show held over 4 days at London’s Alexandra Palace. This year I went with my friend Kate (http://jamjarbizarre.wordpress.com and http://pollypincushion.wordpress.com) who had never been before. After a relaxing train journey from leafy West Sussex, full of laughter and good conversation we arrived at Ally Pally on a crowded W3 bus and joined the massive queue (of mainly middle-aged ladies) shuffling forwards through the Palm Court entrance into the main exhibition hall. Actually, I don’t remember it being so crowded on a Thursday before, and it was certainly very busy indeed; but I guess that can only be a good thing for Twisted Thread and their exhibitors and traders.
This year the Palm Court entrance feature exhibit was a fabulous tent and surrounding “windbreaks” covered with stitchy projects – the theme was “The Unfinishable” and each of the projects on the tent walls (inside and out) as well as the windbreaks was an unfinished project of some sort – there was even an embroidery sampler celebrating the 1951 Festival of Britain – unfinished of course!
The show itself was definitely not a disappointment, the first stand we encountered on entering the main exhibition hall was that belonging to the amazing Mr X Stitch! On show were pieces of work from the new book celebrating contemporary stitch art, curated and compiled by Mr X Stitch (http://www.mrxstitch.com), called Push Stitchery this book features some of the ‘edgiest’ artists making use of stitch in their work around the world today – naturally I had to buy a copy and I have already found it to be quite inspirational!
Work from the Mr X Stitch stand
Moving steadily round the hall there was so much to see from the quirky reimagining of the Alice in Wonderland story and steam punk inspired creations by Sue Walton and Ann Small, to the superbly inspiring work of new graduates from around the country. Battling through the crowds can be tiring, so a pause for breathing space was made by the stand of Debbie Smyth (http://debbie-smyth.com) who was busily threading her stand title “Handstitched Perspectives”. It would be all to easy to take a look and say “that’s so easy, I could do that”, but on closer inspection you realise that there is an immense amount of skill and expertise involved in Debbie’s work, it is so meticulous.
Sue Walton an Ann Small wearing Steam Punk inspired hats
Debbie Smyth winds her thread drawing
As well as the exhibition stands, the Knit and Stitch show is a stitchy shopaholics paradise! Trade stands are in abundance selling just about anything stitch related you can possibly think of, and some other things you maybe didn’t! My friend Kate was very taken with the tweed fabric stand owned by Magee of Donegal (www.mageeireland.com), and indeed the young man manning the stand was very charming indeed, and had most definitely ‘kissed the blarney stone’! I managed to resist making a purchase, although Kate did not and she came away with a real bargain bag full of some of the most delightful tweed fabric I have ever seen. I did however succumb when I found the Buffalo Wool Company stand (www.buffalowoolco.com) run by Ron and Theresa Miskin all the way from Kennedale Texas USA. Buffalo wool is an amazing product and very soft, but as I am not a knitter I would not have a use for it; so I bought the next best thing – or should that be buying something better? I bought a fabulous toy buffalo made from, you’ve guessed it, buffalo wool! A real bargain at £5!!!!!!
Ron Miskin and buffalo friend; Tweed from the Magee Tweed stand
The Knit and Stitch show has something for everyone including workshops where you can learn a new skill, test your dream sewing machine, join the Upcycling Academy and find out how you can help save the planet by making use of reimagining old or secondhand clothes or marvel at some of the very best in textile art by organisations such as the 62 Group.
I for one had a great day at the 2012 Knitting and Stitching Show, and judging by the vast numbers of other visitors, many others did as well! Roll on October 2013 so I can do it all over again!
A gallery of some of the amazing things to be seen at the Knit and Stitch Show 2012