Friday, 11 October 2013

Ally Pally knit and stitch

Once a year, I get to go back to London to my beloved Alexandra Palace for the Knitting and Stitching Show. It's the mecca for all stitchy ladies (very few boys I'm afraid), like a giant magnet pulling us in by the knitting needles, armed with shopping bags and packed lunches. There is so much to see, I feel like a child in a sweet shop, dizzy with excitement and slightly battered by the hardened elbows of veteran bargain hunters. Despite manners being slightly amiss amongst the crowded aisles of the great halls of the palace, I challenge even the shyest of people not to make a friend when they sit down for a drink and the stall holders and exhibitors are the loveliest people in the world.

Habu Textiles is an old favourite now and it's my first port of call. I love the colours, the texture of the yarn and the exquisitely delicate garments created using their products. Mostly I like the linen and the paper threads and this year discovered a new stall, Namolio, fab for linen crochet thread.

Felt was also on my shopping list because I would like to make a stocking for my nephew's first Christmas and I can't leave out his sister. There were plenty of stalls selling felt wares but in the end I got some from The Eternal Maker because the colours were delightful.

Picture courtesy of Bella Leonard

Out of all the enchanting exhibitors, I was drawn to Bella May Leonard's pieces but as I don't have permission at the moment to use any of her images yet, I will have to leave photos until later. The use of perspex and thread reminded me a little of my own degree show all those years ago and I do think that once you have spent hours and hours exploring a medium in your art space, you never lose that love.

Another textile artist after my own heart was the inspirational Mandy Pattullo. Since arriving home last night, I've already spent some time researching her influences and previous work. Although I love the accuracy and pure genius of the amazing winning quilts (see below),

 Mandy's pieces rescue the sad and rejected treasures of yesteryear in the spirit of what she calls her "Thread and thrift vision". A thread and thrift vision just sounds so akin to my own ideals and that's without even starting on how much I would like one of her quilted skirts.

Jennie Atkinson was just as stylish and wonderful as her elegant finely knitted tops. One day I will knit something from a pattern and hopefully it wont be a disaster but until then I will just have to make do with flicking through Jennie's book and dreaming.

Other highlights for me included so many threads in so many colours at the handweavers studio
Pom Pom trim and Pinterest greatness at Caro London, super screen printing, mini style from Thermofax Screens and a new blog to explore Dolly does.....

The Knitting and Stitching Show is on at Alexandra Palace until Sunday 13th October after which it heads off to Dublin and Harrogate. You should seriously go if you get a chance, if not, maybe see you next year at Ally Pally.

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