I’m back! And what a fabulous week I’ve just had exhibiting at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show sharing stand TG623 with the lovely Becca Tansley of Alterknitive. It may have been wet and windy but I still enjoyed my third visit to this picturesque spa town in North Yorkshire, possibly helped by the warm welcome and award winning breakfasts provided by Andy and Tracey at Wynnstay House, and according to Mr Barfoot, THE best coffee shop in the UK (and anyone who knows my better half realises that this is a well researched accolade) Hoxton North, which conveniently turns into a champagne bar in the evenings!
Anyway I digress, so back to the show. After a 4am start last Wednesday morning (Mr B still hasn’t forgiven me for that!) and only a 1 hour delay sitting stationary on the M1 whilst a broken down lorry took up two out of the three lanes (rude!) at rush hour, we arrived at Harrogate International Centre to this.
You can imagine what went through my head at this point? Yep you got it. Yikes! What was I thinking!? But by the time we left at 6pm, thanks to the expert help and advice of Julia Neal of Velvet Beacon Ltd we had transformed to this.
Looking at my 2m by 1m share of our cubby hole now it is hard to believe the amount of effort that goes into putting something like this together. However, it is also difficult to describe what a buzz I got from seeing nine month’s worth of preparation (and panic) displayed professionally like this. As a maker the opportunity to see a series of work in all its glory doesn’t happen that often and standing back it is extremely gratifying to be able to say to oneself, “Blimey, did I do that?” And even better than that was the overwhelming appreciation both myself and Becca got from the thousands of lovely visitors who came by and came in.
So enough about us. One of my favourite things about these shows is the other exhibitors. We hadn’t been there five minutes on set up day before Kevin Powell came by for a catch up. I spent the previous two Harrogate Knit and Stitch shows as part of the UK Knitted Textile Awards on a stand next to the Spellbound Bead Company and had many an entertaining chat with Kev, mild mannered bead shop owner by day and Punk Rock star with the band Skimmer by night, usually about music or sharing anecdotes about our furry kids. He also gave me a copy of Skimmer’s latest album, Baby Dinosaur, which if anything like their previous output will no doubt become my new favourite driving album. After his comments that it is probably their best to date (and they’ve been around a while!) I’m looking forward to getting in the car later and having a listen.
Situated opposite us in the Textile Gallery was the Nicola Jarvis Studio, The Art of Embroidery. The stand was huge and when we got there they were busy putting up wallpaper and furnishing it with the most amazing wooden furniture. The end result was a haven of calm in the midst of the show frenzy not unlike being in the drawing room of a large country house. This impression was further enhanced by the wonderful Brian Hunt, a past student of Nicola’s who, despite the bustle and chaos of a show set up, sat tranquil in front of an embroidery loom engrossed in his technically superb stitching for much of the day.
I found out later in the week that Brian isn’t the only expert stitcher in his family. That fabulous sweater he is wearing in the picture is one of his wife Helen Hunt’s creations. I saw the inside of that sweater folks, that lady knows her fairisle!
In another part of the Textile Gallery I discovered the work of talented felt maker Michala Gyetvai. Not one usually attracted to landscapes in art, this has got to be one of my favourite pieces in the show. The title of the stand was Enchanted Landscapes and this one summed that up for me, invoking all sorts of fairytale esque narratives as I was drawn into its depths.
Another piece of work that stopped me in my tracks to have a better look and more in line with my usual tastes was this winner of the Art Quilts category at the 2015 Festival of Quilts by Susan Orchin.
See how these quirky quilted characters, winners of the 3d festival of quilts category, are also mesmerised by this piece.
And no trip to the Knitting and Stitching show would be complete without a little bit of retail therapy. I didn’t have to venture out from the stand for some of my Christmas present purchases, but obviously I can’t say any more about those as the recipients may guess who they are after reading this and it would ruin the surprise. I have had a couple of orders for the dog blanket in recent weeks so I also had the pleasure of sourcing some yarn.
And look what I found (and yes it feels even better than it looks!) The lovely ladies from the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop guessed I might be a repeat offender as I came past most mornings for another look and a squidge, and gave me a shade card. Good move ladies!
Right, that’s enough putting off the unpacking. I also have a dog to pick up and all of those jobs I postponed until December to plan for. Not to mention the other business to run. But then I also have some lovely new yarn to play with. Mmm, maybe there’s time for just one more coffee and a quick cast on before I get back to the real world. Until next time……..