Ally Pally Knit and Stitch show 2015

The past few weeks have been filled with manic making as some exciting plans are now starting to hatch ahead of Harrogate Knit and Stitch show in November where I will be sharing a stand with the lovely Becca Tansley of Alterknitive.  More on this later.  In the meantime I wanted to share a few pictures from my quick visit to its sister show, Ally Pally, yesterday done in the name of research (and not at all a shopping opportunity!).  This was my first visit as a punter for ages having been on the other side as part of the Knitted Textile Awards in 2013 and 2014 and the Embroiderer’s Guild showcase in 2012 and it was a useful and enjoyable exercise to be reminded of the show experience from the customers point of view.

My first favourite gallery this year was Entwined memories, a beautifully curated exhibition by members of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.  I particularly liked this wonderful woven piece by Frances Crowe called Songs sung and stories told.

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Songs sung and stories told by Frances Crowe

Just a little walk up the textile gallery from this inspirational work was stitchmonger Kate Jenkins and her fabulous knitted fish stall.

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Kate Jenkins and her knitted fish stall

Now I’m not normally one to get excited about knitted versions of everyday things e.g. knitted cakes, vegetables etc (just ‘cos you can doesn’t mean you should right?), but I loved Kate’s fish. They manage to achieve a perfect balance between realism and the silliness that only knitting something can truly achieve.  And of course what female can resist the red sequiny bling of a knitted rock lobster?  If a number of household insurances hadn’t been up for renewal this month I would have come away with one of her framed pieces.  Sadly I had to settle for a card version of my favourite, Squid in Ink, which you can just see on the wall behind Kate’s shoulder in this picture.

The last of the three highlights of this year’s show for me which I wanted to share with you was the wonderful work of contemporary basket maker Stella Harding. I was blown away by this gallery which was full of amazing sculptural pieces woven from different materials including natural, wire, and my personal favourite collection, tape measures!

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Stella Harding: Geo-metric

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Stella Harding: “Another Star” and “Bling”

Of course it wasn’t all about research and inspiration. I caught up with some friends who were exhibiting, and there might have been a little shopping done as well.

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Ally Pally 2015 haul

As you can see I was very controlled. From left my Squid in Ink card from Kate Jenkins (don’t expect to receive this friends and family, this is going in my card collection and is not for sending until I can afford the original!), some lovely silk threads from Caroline Bell (definitely Weimaraner coloured!), a cheeky card from Embroiderer’s Guild Education Scholar Helen Dowdeswell, and pinking shears a requirement of one of the new projects I am currently working on. OK there might also have been four balls of yarn purchased but I’ll admit to those when I can show you what I have planned for them.

Overall a good day had, if a little rushed yesterday.  Now back to designing exhibition posters and stitching like a mad woman for the rest of the day (month!).  Until next time….