Sunday, 13 October 2013

Stitching Sunday: The Knitting & Stitching Show

Yesterday I ventured to London to The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace...

...where I nearly went into craft overload! There is too much to condense into one blog post, so today I’ll focus on the stitching side of the show, in keeping with Stitching Sundays. Yarn love will follow!

I boarded a train nice and early with a very dear friend, had my compulsory chai tea latte from Starbucks at Waterloo (part of my “letting go of real life” routine every time I arrive in London for fun) and hopped on the Tube to Wood Green.

Interestingly, as the Tube came nearer and nearer to the destination, the ratio of female passengers carrying crafty-looking shopping bags and wearing colourful, artsy fashions increased substantially...snippets of conversations about sewing and craft kit drifted through the car...and seated across from us were two older, colourful ladies who we figured were us in a couple decades (and I’m sure some young gals standing by the door were thinking the same about us!).

We were already having fun and we hadn’t even arrived! Ah, how a little “me” time works its magic.

What a show! Inspiration hit as soon as we crossed the threshold

And skyrocketed as we wandered through the exhibition

Within ten minutes of arriving, we were seated at Rowandean Embroidery’s Make & Take table...

...trying our hands at embroidering over organza. We were supplied with a pre-printed fabric square, then given free rein to choose organza scraps and colourful threads to layer on with easy stitches.

Pinning on the base organza square
Layering the tiny organza scraps
Adding the stitches
The long, straight stitches for the flower stems secured the organza to the fabric. How do ya like those French knots? I learned some good tips, which I will share very soon...

This took about half an hour, then we bundled up our projects to finish at home.

Here is my finished piece – with my feeble attempt to take a photo in the in the grey light of a rainy English autumn day (I really must find some tutorials for taking photos during dark winter months, or everything will have this dull cast until spring!)

We walked and walked, admired and shopped

Threads galore! 
Liberty love
I love the 3D birch tree 
I bought this fabulous spring-loaded embroidery hoop – no tugging fabric and tightening screws here!

I bought a little cross stitch kit from The Cross Stitch Guild.

It is high time I learned to cross stitch (all that counting and following of a pattern intimidates me!). I was so keen to buy about half a dozen beautiful, complicated cross stitch projects here, I’m a sucker for natural linen tones and soft thread colours, but luckily my friend encouraged me to start with a beginner’s kit and work my way up. I tend to put the cart before the horse with a lot of projects...

In addition to all the exhibitors selling their wares, the show highlighted artists’ work with threads and yarn.

I was very intrigued by these mini galleries, and it set this exhibition apart from other craft shows I’ve attended. It was wonderful to see the crafts on a contemporary, truly artistic level.

One mini gallery showcased historical and modern crewelwork. Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed, but I was able to speak to a woman who was working on a piece of crewelwork, and after our conversation I was inspired to try my hand at it!

This little kit is from Sue Hawkins – her beautiful stall was chock full of tapestry, cross stitch, crewelwork, stumpwork...all in subtle shades and lovely fabrics.

And speaking of stumpwork, our favourite little stall, from the Embroiderers’ Guild, enchanted us with the most delicate stumpwork flora and fauna from this book

I was gutted that photography wasn’t permitted, because these were the most beautiful, perfect, delicate stitches I found at the show. The woman who created them was there, sitting at a table with tiny stumpwork acorns and leaves that I very nearly begged to take home! So I simply must buy this book and learn to do stumpwork.

Hmmm, I really am living up to my tagline, aren’t I? Life is most definitely one big WIP...

Thank you for reading my very lengthy ramblings today - time for a nice hot cup of tea!
Chrissie x


  1. Oh WOW, and WOW! I want to be there Chrissie, that is w o n d e r f u l! What you did with the little scraps of organza is so fairy-like and delicate with a capital 'D' - I love it, I love it all. Can't wait to hear your new tips re French knots, little pests that they can be. I'm so glad you had such a scrumptuous time with your friend and I'm sure we will benefit greatly too from your experience, for you are always so good at passing on the things you learn. Thank you lovely!
    Joy xo

  2. wow it looks much fun to be inspired like that and even better shared with a friend! Looking forward to part 2 x

  3. Wow it looks amazing!!! I'm sure you needed more than a day to really appreciate it all. You did a lovely piece with the organza and I'm intrigued to see how this work. The stump work sounded amazing what a shame you couldn't take any photos. Looking forward to seeing your cross stitch. I've got a small one to do that I've had for a while it is all part of this WIP mantra. Xoxo

  4. Just sitting down with a hot chocolate, so reading your post made a perfect accompaniment. Looks as though you had a great time and there were some stunning things to see. Love your little artwork. Looking forward to seeing the things you bought when you have made them up and to reading about the yarny side of things! Glad that you had some me time. xx

  5. Dear Chrissie
    What an amazing collection of beautiful embroidery. I love your organza piece - methinks yet another project to try! A fantastic place for inspiration, so thank you so much for passing this on.
    Best wishes

  6. Really enjoyed your train observations! It must be wonderful to see all that talent under one roof! :) x

  7. Oh how truly fab! Sorry I couldn't make it there this year (my boss took the day off on Friday and went!) - but thanks for sharing the wonderment with us. I love your little organza stitchy project, it's just so pretty.
    I've been organising and re-arranging my craft room all day, but hoping to sit down with some stitching and Strictly this evening :-)
    Have a lovely week, Chrissie. Hugs xx

  8. Looks like a fabulous day out .... the stumpwork book ..... ahhhh, just the cover is enough of a reason to buy!
    I LOVE your organza embroidery, so pretty and the hoop looks ingenius.
    Please please please bring above items on wednesday ;o)
    love jooles xxx

  9. Oh thanks for sharing you're day Chrissie it all looks so exciting and wow I love the organza embriodery, looks almost like stitching a water color so beautiful. I'd love to give that a try.
    Clare xx

  10. What a great day to explore what you love. Yarn tomorrow - I'm tuning in. Jo x

  11. Oh Chrissie I wish I could have gone for the whole time - it looks fabulous, they would have had to chuck me out! Thank you for sharing with us all, I can't wait to hear more about your day and all your finds. Fabulous post, have a great week Chrissie
    Lots of love

  12. What a really interesting and fun day out, sounds like you really enjoyed yourself and your purchases look lovely. I predict that you will really love cross stitch when you get started...!
    Marianne x

  13. Wow what a wonderful show to looks so inspirational. Your organza embroidery is amazing, A.

  14. Oh, lucky you! I had the opportunity to go but I couldn't get the day off work. My friend went without me and said how good it was so it's nice to see some pictures. Your embroidery on organza looks lovely. XX PS. blogging later abt bookmark - thanks again

  15. Anonymous5:30 pm BST

    It sounds as if you had a fabulous time, and to think I was going to go but decided not to at the last minute - my loss. Looking forward to hearing about what else caught your eye.

  16. Looks like it was an amazing day out lots of inspiration! xx

  17. Thank you for the photos. Roll on the 21st November, when the K & S show comes to Harrogate. I've booked my place on the coach and have saved up some cash. The stitching over organza is beautiful. Waiting for the info on French knots - wonder if I am doing them right!
    S xx

  18. Oh wow - how I wish I'd gone with you, sorry reading your post makes me want to share the fun!! sam xx

  19. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful looking day! It's so great to get away from little daily responsibilities for just a few hours and do something indulgent. Your stitching is wonderful. Excellent french knots!

    I know what you mean about photographing things on grey days and I find picmonkey (a free online photo editing tool) really useful for those times when you just need to add a tiny bit of colour and light to a picture. I try not to do it too often though, as it feels like cheating! x

  20. Amazing needlework! I would have been in awe, I would have also wanted to buy one of everything! I've never been to any craft show except a scrapbooking one, I seriously need to try a show like this!