The Knitting & Stitching Show

Last week I went on my annual gallivant (as my husband calls it) to London to visit the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. Well, I did some other things as well – I attended an opera lecture about L’Elisir d’Amore with my sister-in-law (and managed not to embarrass her by singing along), went for a lovely contemplative walk in Brompton cemetery, saw beautiful jewellery (including some that is typical of regional Dutch costume) at the V&A, and had lunch at my favourite Lebanese restaurant Le Comptoir Libanais. But the main reason or excuse was the K&S show, and I had a wonderful time there.

Some of the things I did there were Mabel-related; distributing flyers about the forthcoming SAL, delivering a sample kit to the lady who organises their workshops, and scouting out new threads and other materials. I found some lovely shades of hand-dyed fabric at Sparklies, but as Kate usually doesn’t bring any 25ct I tend to just make notes and order later. This time she did have one new shade with her, though, so I snapped it up. It’s called Caribbean and is a lovely light purply turquoisy blue. I also couldn’t resist a pair of Oliver Twists silks, although they are really too thick to use on my usual fabric. I may try them on 18ct and see how that works. Then there were some Miyuki seed beads – I usually use Mill Hill, but for some time now I have wanted to try Miyuki beads to compare them, and I found a lovely shade which happened to tone beautifully with the silks. How is that for serendipity! Some gold and silver pearl purl (wonderful name), a Japanese braiding implement, two tiny scissor charms and two strong magnets completed my purchases. Quite restrained, I thought!

Bits and bobs bought at the Knitting & Stitching Show

You may have noticed that the magnets aren’t in the photograph. That’s because they were already in use when I took it, stuck to my Lowery workstand and holding on to my scissors and needles. They really are remarkably strong and keep everything quite secure. The only problem is that my scissors have gone slightly magnetic and keep picking up the needle I’m working with …

Magnets at work on my Lowery stand

I always try to do at least one workshop when visiting the show, and if I do more than one I like to have at least one which is completely new to me. This year I did two, one on goldwork and one on bobbin lace. I did a RSN goldwork workshop two years ago (and must shamefacedly admit that I still haven’t finished the bee project) and thought this might refresh my memory. The bobbin lace workshop was going to be my big challenge, as I have never done anything like it and the thought of all those pins and bobbins makes my head spin. As it was it turned out to be easier and much more enjoyable than I’d expected, at least in part because the tutors had come up with a simple project that was not too scary for a complete novice, and that could actually be finished within the 1-hour slot! With the rather thick threads and no added twists it looks remarkably like weaving, which I suppose it is in a way. We turned it into a sort of flower or rosette which could be stuck on a birthday card. The goldwork dragonfly, as you can see, did not get finished on the day.

Bobbin lace and half a goldwork dragonfly

However, I didn’t want the dragonfly to languish like the bee, so I took it to my stitching group and finished it there. I’m really quite pleased with it and am now determined to finish the RSN bee as well some time this year!

The goldwork dragonfly in all its glory

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