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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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 and Stitching Show

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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Wool@Jct13 Yarn Festival


It’s not everyday that a wool show happens pretty much on your doorstep so when I heard about the Wool@Jct13, the new wool show for the Midlands, I knew I’d got to check it out.  The festival is held on a family run farm in the pretty market town of Penkridge, South Staffordshire and the very first show was this weekend (13 & 14 May). I pre-brought tickets for the whole family which were very reasonably priced at £6.50pp on the day or £12pp for the full weekend. Getting advanced tickets I got a further 15% discount and the other great thing was that under 16’s and parking for the day were both free.

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So what is Wool@Jct13 all about? Well the festival is described as a celebration of all things woolly for anyone with an interest in wool – whether it be spinning, knitting, crochet, weaving or felting. Over the two days you could expect to find food, drink and live music (we very much enjoyed The Haywood Sisters) alongside demonstrations, competitions and wool craft workshops – and of course lots yarn themed shopping opportunities!

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Outside the large tent full of stalls was a fab singer (John) who recited a little ditty of his own creation for their stand the Wool Zone. Little G had a whale of a time dancing to the tunes…John’s song however has since turned into a ear-worm for the whole family as we are all still singing ‘come on into the wool zone!’ 

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There was plenty for children to do, Little G was fascinated by the spinning wheel over by The Woolly Roadshow Griffith Mill and was delighted and then thoroughly absorbed with the task of spinning when she was kindly allowed to have a go herself.  

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She also got to feed a lamb some milk and we all enjoyed watching the sheep shearing demonstration. I couldn’t believe how chilled out the sheep were when they were getting their fleeces removed…

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And inside the the tent…oh my! There were a plethora of stalls for all interests…

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And so much lovely yarn as pictured here at the Bellica Yarns stall – and they actually invited me to squish it! What an invitation!

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Everyone I met was so friendly! I had a wonderful time chatting to the owners and helpers of Crafts from the Dungeon, Fig Tree Yarns, Luxuryyarns.co.uk, Ewe and Ply, Thread of Life, The Woolly Roadshow Griffith Mill and Cotswold Alpacas – this isn’t a full list of all the exhibitors just the ones I happened to speak to on the day; the full list of folks around on the day can be found here.

I was quite reserved in my purchases as I really need to finish off some WIPs before I start anything else. That didn’t stop me from buying a couple of goodies though, I bought a sheepy braiding disc kit from Crafts from the Dungeon which is a tool to make cord with. I also brought a lovely wooden drop spindle kit from Cotswold Alpacas which came with some lovely alpaca fluff for spinning into yarn yourself. I’ve always wanted to give it a try and was very grateful for the mini demonstration and discussion I had about how you can hand spin yarn.

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All in all we had a really great day – I can’t wait until next years show! To find out about future events you can sign up to the Wool@Jct13 newsletter, at the bottom of the page, on their website here and they also have a Facebook page here.

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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