2014 Ally Pally Adventures (part two)

After a week of catching up on the old routine, I now have some space to sit down at the computer and write part two of my week at the Ally Pally Knit and Stitch Show. As usual there was way too much to take in even for those of us who were there for the entire duration but I did have a few highlights which I wanted to share with you.  All photos shown are taken with permission.

"Renate Keeping's Ripeness and age"

Renate Keeping’s “Ageing” 

This piece of work displayed in the Renate Keeping exhibition, “Ripeness and Age” was a my overall favourite at the show this year.  I found myself making a small detour every morning on arrival just to have another look at this wonderfully moving and poignant depiction of an elderly couple, lovingly created in stitch.

"Jean Bennett's Scapegoat"

Jean Bennett’s “Scapegoat”

In stark contrast, this striking sculpture by Jean Bennet in her “Body Knowing” exhibition also kept drawing me back for another look. In this piece she explores a darker side to human nature and talks about scapegoating as unwanted thoughts and feelings being “unconsciously projected onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one’s own problems”.


And of course no trip to the Knit and Stitch show would be complete without a spot of shopping and I fell in love with this wonderfully soft 100% Italian cashmere from Cashmered.  They also had some lovely Vintage inspired patterns which complemented this 3ply yarn beautifully.  I came away with one 25g ball in this vibrant red (its not quite as pink as the lighting in the photo implies, more pillar box red) in tissue paper which I occasionally unwrap and stroke.  I have started a new piggy bank to save for the rest of the sweater.

I now have a few weeks breathing space before the Harrogate Knit and Stitch Show (20th to 23 November) which if last year is anything to go by will be another great experience.  If you missed London and fancy a trip to a historic spa town in North Yorkshire, I can thoroughly recommend it.  Hopefully see you there.

Knitted Textile Awards 2014: Ally Pally

Wow, what a week! I had an overwhelming response to my knitted dog heads at Ally Pally from the thousands of lovely visitors to the Knitted Textile Awards stand. If only I could have captured on camera the smiles they provoked, particularly Pickle the fluffy terrier.  I got lots of interest in commissions, was shown lots of pictures of people’s dogs and even got to stroke a little chihuahua who had been smuggled into the show in a handbag!  Probably the funniest comment from viewers was a lady who laughed out loud at Pickle stating “that dog has eyebrows just like my Dad!”.


Pongo, Biffa and Pickle welcoming visitors to the Knitted Textile Awards at Ally Pally 2014

The stand looked fantastic this year, thoughtfully curated by Sam Elliott from Kingston University, and it showed off the work of the finalists beautifully.  In the Open Category we had plenty of knitted sculpture to keep my doggies company including a full size brown bear by Heather Drage of “Born to Knit”, a cheeky seagull enjoying a feast of fried chicken by Claire Sams, and the ENTIRE cast of the Hobbit (minus the dwarves as there wasn’t enough room!) by Denise Salway.


“Herring Gull eating fried chicken” by Claire Sams

In contrast to the sculpture there were some lovely crochet baby shoes with sparkly soles by “This little”, a striking picture by Tina McCara, a wonderfully wearable asymmetric jacket by Becca Tansley, Babsi Cooper’s sculptural crochet dress inspired by the Yorkshire countryside, a colourful crocheted unisex T by Matthew, aka one man crochet, the cutest kiddy colourwork clothes by Anita Joyes, and last but by no means least some gorgeous hand knitted cushions by Oksana Dymyd.


Hand knitted cushion by Oksana Dymyd

And this was just the open category!  The graduate competition was also amazing in its diversity, managing to be both inspired, technical and wearable all at the same time.  I didn’t envy the judges their job and many of them told us afterwards how difficult they found it.  We await the results at Harrogate.

There was also some inspiring work on display at the Knit and Stitch show by other artists and makers this year.  I think my favourites were Renate Keeping and Jean Bennett.  More on them in another post. That’s it for now.  After a week away being looked after by my Mum, real life and the day job now beckon.  Firstly though a wet and muddy run around the woods with a hyperactive and neglected Weimaraner.


Way too much energy!

Packing three dog heads into a trolley!

This wet and windy Monday morning I have mostly been packing.  As usual, I have left it all to the last minute and after a frantic few hours trying to locate postcard and business card holders and the other paraphernalia that goes with exhibiting (now where did I leave that hammer!) I have succeeded.  I now know why there is a product called “No more nails”.  I thought the name was a reflection of its superior ability to stick things to exhibition panels but actually it is more about what it does to your finger nails while you try to scrub off the remains of its adhesion from the last exhibition.


Minimalist exhibition packing achieved!

So once I have decided on the most appropriate footwear to pack for the week (comfy AND waterproof is not the easiest objectives to meet!) I will be embarking on a damp journey around the M25 to hotel Mum and Dad where I will as usual be spoilt rotten.  Note to self: remember to take a big enough handbag to accommodate Mum’s packed lunches this year!  And I don’t feel too bad about leaving the husband on his own for the week as I have left him with the huge roll of bubble wrap for entertainment.

If you are planning to come to Ally Pally Knit and Stitch show this week please drop by the UKHKA stand TG Q13 in the Textile Gallery located in the West Gallery, and introduce yourself to me.  It would be great to put faces to names.  Hopefully see you there.

More Doggy Doodles and my new Nicky Barfoot Etsy Shop is now up and running.

I’ve been quite productive since my last post, utilising the luxury of a couple of lazy weekends in revisiting the embroidery threads and pointy needles.  The result has been more doggy doodles, with the finishing touches put to this doodle, “Tune”, this morning.

"hand embroidered doggy doodle on painted calico"

“Tune”: Hand stitched on painted calico, decorated with vintage lace and mounted on Khadi paper.

“Tune” is currently available to buy and has just been listed in my new Etsy shop.  Do have a look.  More items, including knitting patterns as pdf downloads, will be added to the shop over the coming weeks.