My visit to The Knitting & Stitching Show 2017


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Being a crochet blogger can certainly comes with it’s perks…like being invited to attend the biggest textile event in the UK!! I didn’t need asking twice let me tell you! So last Thursday saw me and my lovely mum, as my plus one, hot footing it down to London to attend The Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace (aka the Ally Pally).

Firstly I should advise you, my lovelies, that this is going to be a bit of a long post with lots of photos so you might want to get comfy and grab a cuppa (or your favourite tipple) before we proceed…right…ready…then I shall begin.

I’ll also quickly say I’m not usually one for selfies but seeing as this is a post about my experiences of the show there are some actual photos of me (and mum – who kindly gave me permission to post her photo on the web). Mum was also there in the capacity of a financial adviser basically to try and help me curb my need to buy everything I saw (more on that later). All photos were taken on my phone as I thought my camera would just get in the way of my shopping bags (ha!) so I’m hoping the quality isn’t too bad.

After a 3 hour journey we got to the Ally Pally at about 10.30am on the 12th October which was the second day of the show and late night opening (till 7pm). The show actually runs for a mammoth four or five days usually so there’s plenty of time to attend one (or more) of the show dates.  The Knitting and Stitching Show actually runs in several venues across the UK with two dates in London each year – you can sign up for their latest news by subscribing to their newsletter (link on the bottom of the website).

The Ally Pally was a completely new place to me and wow what a BEAUTIFUL building it is! 

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The stunning building that is the Alexandra Palace – just look at that window!

Situated on top of a hill in North London it offers a fabulous panoramic view of the city below. My mum, bless her heart, had never been to London before so I think she was a little thrilled about the view.

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It’s London baby!

First stop was to go and get my press badge! Yes that’s right my. very. own. press pass…and the next photo shows me completely geeking out about said badge (cringe)!

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Then after a quick visit to the loo and a large cuppa for sustenance we went inside to see what we could see.  

The corridor to the main event room was lined with some of the winning entries of this years Festival of Quilts. These quilts were pretty jaw droppingly stunning! The photo of the following quilt in particular, called African Village, was my favourite. You wouldn’t quite believe it was a quilt unless you saw it up close (I wasn’t the only one going up for a closer look). I think it just looks like a painting – the attention to detail is just amazing – and don’t get me started on the colours! 

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African Village by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga

Now I’m still relatively new to craft shows, I’ve done Yarndale, WoolJ13 and TOFTfest) and I knew this was going to be a big show but I wasn’t quite prepared for how MAHOOSIVE it actually was. Sooooo many stands and sooooo much to look at and take in! 

We arrived just as the show opened so people were just beginning to trickle in and, although it did get busy, I felt that it was never too squashy or overwhelming – and the giant ceilings of the room also helped alleviate any feelings of claustrophobia you might have

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Early doors at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2017

There’s no distinguishable layout to the stalls that I could make out; they didn’t seem to be grouped by name or craft, and there was also booth’s with workshops and demonstrations dotted about in between the stalls. We did have a guide book that listed all of the stalls but we actually quite enjoyed just walking round and kind of ‘happening’ on things of interest – which was a lot!

I literally was that excitable child out with mum pulling her about saying ‘Ooo look at this’ and ‘OOoo look at that’.  She may have accused me of bouncing about and being hyper but my enthusiasm got us talking to some lovely people who were also visiting the show. It was great listening to other people’s experiences of the show; why they were attending and what bargains they’d got or what they were going to make with the things they’d bought. 

I also met some celebrities…of the crochet kind!

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The celebrity makes (from left to right): Sophie’s Universe by Dedri Uys (Look At What I Made), The Hygge Shawl by Kirsten Ballering (Haak Maar Raak), A Spicier Life CAL by Sandra Paul (Cherry Heart) , not too sure about the knit chevron blanket, then it’s A Spicier Life again in a different colourway and I think the last one is the Apre’s Ski Colour Pack designed by Sara from Black Sheep Wools.

After seeing so many of these blankets and shawls online seeing them made up close was pretty exciting! I think my mum was slightly stunned as I started reeling off the names and designers for ones I recognised. It also got us talking to more people who had made the blankets or shawls or were planning to make them – seriously loved the chatting to other crafters bits of the day.

The Black Sheep Wools stall was one of my favourite stands of the day.  Aside from displaying many of the blankets above they had basically set up a yarn sweet shop of Scheejpes Catona (which I love – look out for a future review and new pattern from me soon!) And I don’t know why I didn’t realise that the actual shop is not that far away from me…I see a visit coming on sometime soon!

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I mean come on! My purse didn’t stand a chance!!!

Another favourite stall of mine was the TOFT stand. I love the brand and designs anyways (see my previous posts about TOFTfest and my interview with Kerry Lord) and my mum just fell head over heals for this giant version of ‘Caitlin the Giraffe’. It is just amazing isn’t it! It was certainly drawing a lot of well-deserved attention.

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Caitlin with my lovely little mum for scale

Kerry Lord, the designer behind Caitlin, was there signing her new book; Edward’s Crochet Doll’s Emporium (look out for my review of the book coming soon) and the stand looked amazing with many other of her designs hanging up. 

Kerry is a definite source of inspiration to me! Not only does she produce gorgeous designs but she seems to have unlimited energy! I’d just seen on Instagram that she’d just literally come back from promoting in Australia and there she was at the show signing books and giving talks…and she’s got two young children – just amazing!

I didn’t go and say hi, as she was very busy with the signing books business, but mum and I did have fun with the Ed’s Dolls face stand in…

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Another part of the show we really enjoyed was The Women’s Institute display of knitting buildings. So much detail in each and everyone, they were incredible!

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Just incredible attention to detail!

I don’t know whether you can see but some of the houses and churches were decorated with little Halloween items like a pumpkin, witches hat and broom. Here’s another photo of my favourite house…

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Look at the cute little pumpkin!

Whilst at the show I’d also arranged to meet some of the people from Let’s Get Crafting Magazine. After working on commissions with the magazine for almost a year it was it was so great to meet the lovely editor Rosie and deputy editor Jess in person after so much chat via email. Mum and I were treated to a cuppa and we had a great long chat about past and future projects (some exciting stuff coming soon so watch this space!).

It was really good to develop a better understanding of the behind the scenes workings at the magazine – and I think they were interested to learn my design processes too. 

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Rosie, me and Jess

And then before we knew it, it was time to attend our workshop; Sewing a Quirky Creature with Miss Libby Rose

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The fab Miss Libby Rose and some of her Quirky Creatures

Now sewing for me, is very much out of my comfort zone! I can basically make easy things like a lining for a crochet bag…and maybe sew up something fairly square, but tackle things with shape – not on your nelly! That’s when the session at the machine usually ends up with tangled bobbins and lots of swearing. 

However, you don’t get better at things unless you practice and try new things and I would like to be able to sew better so I was excited to give it a try. 

Mum and I were joined at the class with the lovely blogger behind Elsie Pop (who you can just see in the background) and her other half (who turned out to be a natural secret speed sewer!).

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I obviously missed the memo about wearing matching tops…

The experience went a little as expected…it seems I develop a very heavy right foot as soon as I sit down at a sewing machine so things have a literal tendency to run away with themselves. BUT thanks to the most fabulous Miss Libby Rose, we did end up with half finished kitties for Little G and Little Miss….

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which we finished off at home, didn’t they come out cute in the end!

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Then it was time to go home! We literally left the show at 6.55pm just before it closed at 7pm. We’d spent a mega 8.5 hours at the show and yet it seemed like it went by so fast – I could have stayed longer!

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And what did I buy? Well mum epically failed to rein me in – but to be fair she didn’t really stand a chance! So I bought lots of pretties and squishies!

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For me the show was pretty much all about the yarn and the people I got to meet, but there’s fabric, sewing and embroidery stuff, beads, buttons and chances to listen to crafty talks and take part in workshops – pretty much everything a textile craft loving gal could desire! If you get the chance to go to a future Knitting and Stitching Show I can thoroughly recommend it.

Before I finish off this post I’m just going to thank the organisers of the show again for my complimentary tickets, goodie bag, workshop and for making me feel like a mini professional (rather than an blogging imposter) with my press badge! And for supplying five tickets free for KCACO.UK readers. It’s was very much appreciated!

Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Santa and Bruno the Bear


I mentioned in a previous post that I’d got some more seasonal patterns coming soon and I can now happily reveal a couple of them! I’ve designed two brand new patterns for Issue 95 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine (out now).  

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Skip the store bought decor add a touch of magic to your home this Christmas by making your own holiday toys and gifts. Making your own decor can be such fun and every make will become an adorable little keepsakes to bring out every year.

I was tickled pink (or should that be red) to see my Santa as this issue’s cover star. Made in traditional red and white, with a bit of sparkle, jolly St Nick is ready to add a bit of classic charm to your home – and you can fill his sack with goodies too.

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Also featured in this months issue is my Bruno the Winter Bear. He’s all ready to tackle colder climes in his welly boots, jumper and cute bobble hat. I am completely in LOVE with how the magazine have styled him…just look at him sniffing that pine-cone in the snow! You can easily create a serene scandi inspired festive setting with a contemporary decoration like Bruno.

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As always the magazine comes with the pattern, the hook and the yarn to make your project choice.  In this month’s issue you’ll find:

  • Six Merry yarns…including a special sparkly yarn!
  • 5mm hook & 5mm needles
  • 44 exclusive patterns
  • Plus… a 68 page magazine

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is available in major supermarkets and newsagents across the UK.  If you hook up either Santa or Bruno be sure to share your photos with me on social media(facebooktwitter or instagram) – I love to see what you make!

 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Out of this World MCAL | Made by YOU 💚


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Well all good things come to an end eventually and this is true of the Out of This World mini mystery crochet-along. However if you missed the the CAL and want to catch up with the pattern you can find all the links on the 2017 CAL page.

But now, as promised, I want to share with you a little photo gallery of images collected from the KCACO-UK Facebook group and page and Instagram of wonderful aliens made by YOU! Do you see yours?

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Oh my word I have adored seeing all your little aliens from the #ootwcal!! And I love the variety of colours that you all chose.  It’s so nice seeing a design that was in my head come to life! Thanks again to everyone that joined in the CAL with me. 💕

Until next time! Keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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And the winners are…The Knitting & Stitching Show 2017


Winners

Is everyone ready! We have have ourselves some winners…but first I’d like to say thank you to everyone that submitted an entry, I really enjoyed reading your reasons why you’d like to attend and / or who you’d like to go to the show with.  And we also have to say a big THANK YOU to lovely people from the Knitting and Stitching Show for providing the ticket prizes. 

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So without further ado the winners, picked via this random name picker tool, are…

  1. Elisabeth (Isis) Plutt
  2. Miranda Shelley
  3. Helen Robinson
  4. Martina Kocourkova

and the ticket winner from Instagram is…

  1. Nannabess14

Congratulations my lovelies! I’ll be in touch today to request your contact details so that the tickets can be posted out to you. 

And to everyone else sorry if you didn’t win this time but there’ll be more giveaways and special offers for you coming soon.  And don’t forget the special discount for tickets still applies. Just quote KEEPCALM17 and you can save £2.50 on advance adult ticket price (or £1 for concessions)  which makes the tickets £12 instead of £14.50/£13).  You can buy tickets here or call 0844 581 1319.

Until next time! Keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Win tickets to The Knitting & Stitching Show 2017


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In just under two week’s time, the Knitting & Stitching Show opens in London and I’ve got FIVE pairs of tickets, kindly donated by the lovely organisers of the show, to giveaway to KCACO.UK readers!!! I’m giving away FOUR tickets here on the blog and for those of you on Instagram I’m giving away ONE ticket over there. 

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show

I’m extremely excited about this show as it’s going to be my first time going to the Ally Pally (otherwise known as the iconic Alexandra Palace). And the Autumn show is set to be the biggest textile event in the UK! With hundreds of workshops, demonstrations, interactive features, professionally curated galleries, as well as 300 exhibitors selling specialist craft supplies. As a veritable celebration of textile crafts it’s a paradise for makers! I can’t wait!!! 

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This, ladies and gents, is a huge huge show! You can spend a day re-stocking your yarn stash, learning to knit, getting help in the crochet clinics, having a go at a sewing demos, mastering the art of tailoring and so much more. There has never been a better excuse to get involved in craft!  Seriously just take a look at the full list of workshops here. I want to do them all!

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The Knitting & Stitching Show London takes place from 11th-15th October and the tickets are redeemable any day except Saturday.  

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show

Giveaway

All you need to do to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment on the bottom of blog post about why you’d like to go to the show.  The competition closes this Wednesday 4 October 5pm (GMT) with the winner being announced Wednesday 4 October that evening here on the blog. And make sure to check out my Instagram feed for the chance to another pair of tickets. Good Luck Everyone!

Special Discount

But if you want your ticket’s RIGHT NOW I’ve also got a special discount for you! Just quote KEEPCALM17 and you can save £2.50 on advance adult ticket price (or £1 for concessions)  which makes the tickets £12 instead of £14.50/£13).  You can buy tickets here or call 0844 581 1319.

I’d like to say a big thank you again to the shows organisers for offering this special deal to my lovely KCACO.UK readers! 

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Hook and a Book | Product Review & Coupon Code


Disclaimer: I did receive a free sample of this product however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the product.


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You may have guessed by my blog and posts that I am completely passionate about all things crochet…but I actually have another hobby which I love just as much. If I’ve got the time and it’s not a hook in my hand then you’ll usually find a book. So when I was contacted by the owner of Hook and a Book, to see if I’d like to review her subscription boxes, from the name alone I already knew I was probably going to love it. 

Hook and a Book is the brain-child of Maddy McMurray an avid crocheter and bookworm turned craft-entrepreneur.  Originally from Perth, in Western Australia, she moved to the UK in 2011 where she worked in various operations-based roles.  But with growing job dissatisfaction and a newly diagnosed headache and migraine condition she decided that something had to change – and that’s when Hook and a Book was born.  Maddy cleverly moulded her passions into a monthly book and crochet subscriptions box creating a book club and crochet gift in one. Each box is carefully curated around a particular surprise book with yarn, a pattern and other goodies. 

Maddy was kind enough to send me the August box to have a look at and I eagerly waited for it to arrive. First off I need to say that to me the idea of combining crochet and reading is just inspired! I absolutely LOVE the concept! And it was all very exciting to have the parcel delivered without knowing what I was going to find inside…

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Underneath the tissue paper I found a lovely little letter from Hook and a Book, a copy of The Art of Dancing in the Rain by Garth Stein, one ball each of Stylecraft Special Aran (in shades Empire and Emperor), an ergonomic 4mm (US size G) hook, two little Beanies coffee sachets (mint chocolate and double chocolate) and a pattern by Simply Hooked by Janet to make a cute doggy themed coffee cup cosy. There was also a special password to the Hook and a Book website to find hints and tips for the current box.

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I adored how carefully everything had been selected and styled in similar colours; the yarn matched the book cover, the book was linked with the pattern and the pattern was linked with the coffee gift. 

I also really liked the fact that the book was not one that I perhaps would have picked for myself but that’s the way that you discover treasures you never even knew existed isn’t it! And The Art of Dancing in the Rain is a little gem of a book. I’m not going to give too much away but the plot follows the protagonist dog Enzo (great name for a dog) as he takes stock of his life. You can’t help but fall in love with Enzo even if you aren’t a dog lover. Though the story is told from Enzo’s point of view the book isn’t really about dogs at all, it’s a story about family, love, loyalty, and hope. I got totally caught up with the characters (which is always the sign of a good book in my eyes) and was completely invested in finding out how it was all going to end. But to find that out you’ll have to give it a read – I will say that you might want to have some tissues ready!

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I was very pleased to see Stylecraft Aran in the box. It happens to be some of my favourite yarn as it’s always a delight to work with, and Empire and Emperor are two of my particular favoured colourways. The cup cosy, worked in tapestry crochet, turned out very cute. I chose to hook up the little paw print design, or I could have chosen a bone, and I think the end result would look grand on any dog lovers coffee cup. And as an added bonus there was still loads of yarn left over to add to my stash! 

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I very much enjoyed all the contents and my experience with my box from Hook and a Book! The perfect gift for a book or crochet lover subscriptions start at £21 per month with different options for 3, 6 or yearly subscriptions.  There is also the option for a one off box so you can try before you subscribe AND they also offer international subscriptions so no one has to miss out.

If you’d like to try Hook and a Book be sure to use the following coupon link ‘WELCOME‘ for 10% discount. Big thank you to Maddy for offering this special deal to my lovely KCACO.UK readers! 

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Out of this World MCAL | Joining and Tah-dah moment!


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Right all that’s left then is to put all these bits that we’ve got together! Have you guessed what it is yet?

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If you missed the announcement about the CAL and want to check out the general CAL info and material details you can find it all here and you can catch up with Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.  You still have time to make up your little amigurumi though, if you want to be featured in the finished project galleries you have until Saturday 30 September to submit a finished photo!

Making Up:

  • Add each part of section E to section A over rnds 8-12 and using a yarn needle and the tail ends attach securely. Insert a safety eye into the middle of each circle. Stuff section A firmly.

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  • Pin both parts of section G to the top of section A roughly 3.5cm / 1.5 inches apart; then using a yarn needle and the tail ends attach securely.
  • Using black embroidery thread embroider on a black mouth over rnds 14-16

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  • Insert the circle of section D into the loop of section D and the secure to middle of section B

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  • Sew the whole of that joined section (B & D) to the centre of section F
  • Sew section H to each side of section F on rnd 25

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  • Attach section C to either side of the bottom of section F

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  • Finally attach section A to the top of section F – and you are finished!

Tah-Dah!

And you’ve made a little alien buddy!

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I hope you had as much fun making him as I had designing him. I’m super excited to see your finished projects! The hashtag for this CAL is #ootwCAL. Make sure you link me your finished projects on your favourite social media sites so I can see them: RavelryFacebook page or Facebook groupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram! And don’t forget if you want to be featured in the finished project galleries you have until Saturday 30 September to submit a finished photo!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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