Thursday, 10 October 2013

A Visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Today was the first day of the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in North London.  I went along with a friend, as we are both enjoying a bit of patchwork at the moment and quite fancied a day out and a mooch around the stalls and exhibitions.  We were greeted by this sight as we approached the entrance.

It was the first time I've visited this show and so enthused was I by looking around the stalls and exhibits that I forgot to take any photos I'm afraid.   I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the merchandise on sale and the interesting mix of work by the exhibitors.  Some of the work such as the crewel work embroidery was completely breath taking.  There was every kind of craft you could think of represented in the stalls we visited.  It was quite fascinating and reassuring to know that these crafts still have a good following.

As I'm participating in Stoptober this month and trying not to spend much money, I didn't take a huge amount of money with me on purpose.  Enough for transport, lunch and a few small treats should I feel the urge.  Although it was incredibly tempting, I didn't really come away with much to speak of in terms of actual material things, but I did come away with more knowledge that can help me in my patchwork quilting endeavours in the future.

Firstly, we were enlightened about a tool to help keep your quilt rolled up when you are quilting in order that it fits through the gap between the needle shaft and machine body. It was described to us as being designed on a similar premis as a bicycle clip.   We couldn't actually find one at the show, but have been assured by several stall holders that they do exist and have been seen on the internet. A quick look on eBay when I got home didn't bring any resolution to the holy grail, but I live in hope of finding one or maybe making one myself before I need one for my next quilt.

In addition, I found out why my needles kept breaking when sewing my quilt the other day.  Call me naïve, but despite a City and Guilds in Fashion, I'd never heard of a walking foot.  Makes perfect sense now.  I just need to buy one now and I'm reliably informed that they cost £28 or so for my machine.  It could save me a fortune on sewing machine needles.  I'd also not heard of a quarter inch foot needed for quilting too and I fear that I must be an incredibly untidy quilter as a result. I got to see and feel all the different types of wadding which was useful. Seeing how thin it was I realise that I've made more of an eiderdown that a quilt, but I still like it.  All in all it was a complete baptism of fire in the quilting department, but definitely worth it.

I also got to see demonstrations of the capabilities of some amazing sewing machines, many of which are designed with quilters in mind and I was incredibly tempted to buy myself a new one, but did manage to restrain myself in the end.  My wish list, however, has suddenly grown considerably longer.

There were crafts to try your hand at for a reasonably small sum, fashion shows, talks, information available about anything from knitting for charity, to educational establishments and courses in everything under the sun run by the WI.  There was a world record attempt at making the longest ever bunting that you could join in with, upcyling workshops, etc.  The whole show was quite a revelation to us and we were quite overwhelmed.

Although there were thousands of lovely fabrics on sale, I didn't actually indulge save for this incredibly pretty half metre of cotton I got free with a magazine I bought for £2.

  I have such an incredible amount already I just don't really need any more at present.  I did also buy the latest Homemaker magazine for just £3, instead of the usual £4.99 and it has lots of lovely Christmas ideas in it.

Finally I bought some cards for winding ribbon or thread onto which were so cute and only £1 for 50 and useful for taking a small amount of thread with you if travelling, without taking up much room, not to mention just storing ribbon, or odd ends of wool/thread tidily.

Was I good?  For me this was restraint personified, believe me.  Eventually we trundled home thoroughly exhausted, but having had a great day out with lots of laughs along the way.

If  like me and thousands of other people, if today's attendance was anything to go by, you love sewing, knitting, crochet or any such crafts, I would seriously recommend a visit to this show.  Be warned it is incredibly popular and is huge with many, many stalls and exhibitors, but well worth a visit.  The show runs until Sunday 13th October.

Please note that I have not been sponsored to write this review, it is just my honest opinion of an event I have attended.


  1. Check out
    Kath is a wiz and I am sure he has one of these fold up things xxxx

  2. It does sound like you had a good day :) I usually hit the same show when it's in Harrogate, although that version is a little smaller. But I did Yarndale so that's out this year ... I'm not involved in Stoptober but I've hit the limit on my crafty spend for this year now :)

    1. I'm afraid I've done my usual and commented instead of replied, but just to say like you I'm trying not to spend any more on crafting things at the moment as I'm trying to use all the fabrics I have already. I can easily get carried away given half a chance.

  3. Craft expenditure can get a bit out of hand for me, because I love fabrics and sewing ephemera so much. I'm now trying to use some of the things I've bought previously before buying any more.

    Yarndale sounded really good. I've read a couple of reviews about it. I'm not a great knitter as I can only knit very simple things, but I do enjoy it when I do do it and I enjoy reading about it.