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Category: Yarn

  1. The Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Show

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    Alexandra-Palace - Compressed

    The Ally Pally

    The Knitting and Stitching Show is a four day event takes place every year over the 2nd weekend in October, at Alexandra Palace (affectionately known as the Ally Pally) in London - and I never miss it.

    Alexandra Palace is an iconic building dating back to 1873, which sits perched on top of a hill in North London.  Along with the exhibition halls, there is an ice rink and a lovely park that spreads out in front of the building complete with a boating lake and cafe.  The park is even more stunning this time of year with the leaves turning on the trees.  Being so high up, the view over London is second to none.  You can see all of the landmark buildings from East to West across the City from the new glass towers in the City of London in the East to the old and much loved Post Office Tower in Central London to the West.

    It is a wonderful weekend of creativity with amongst other things, textile galleries showing amazing textiles in every imaginable medium from all over the world and the graduate showcase which again covers all textiles.  There are always a handful of graduates there who are more than happy to talk about their exhibits and it's always heart warming to see these young designers about to make their way in the world.  Normally I take lots of photos of the exhibitions, but this year for some reason, I didn't.  At the end of this blog post are some I took from previous years to give an idea and flavour of the items on show.  There are also famous faces from the textile world giving talks and demonstrations and sometimes book signings.  This year's show was no exception and I eagerly lapped it all up, chatting to exhibitors and watching some of my crafty heroes give talks and demonstrations.

    Oh and the shopping!  Oh my goodness the shopping - there are so many tempting crafty things to buy!  This year I was VERY restrained.  In fact I didn't buy anything knitting related at all - very unlike me.  Everything I bought in the end was for dressmaking.  Even though sewing patterns and fabric were the order of the day, it didn't stop me swooning over and squishing a considerable amount of yarn and flicking through many inspiring knitting reference and pattern books. 

    The Ally Pally show is a mind boggling array of all things crafty and there's always more to see and do than can possibly be crammed into one day.  You really need to spend a couple of days there to do it justice - and one year I may well do just that.  It is my annual crafty pilgrimage and I can't wait to do it all again next year!

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    Exhibition pieces from previous years

     

     

  2. Initiate Knit Design Challenge

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    Waves Mood Board - Compressed

    Mood Board

     Back in the summer I signed up for the Initiate Knit Design Challenge, which is a challenge run from time to time on Instragram by Frenchie of Aroha Knits fame.  As with most things I do, I just did it because I thought it would be interesting and to see if I could actually design anything worth making.  The challenge was structured very well with emails being sent explaining each step of the challenge and live Q&A sessions with Frenchie herself.  They weren't live for me though, as she lives in Japan and I am in the UK, so our timings were completely out!  I caught up with everything on the replays, so, thankfully, all was not lost!

    From day 1 I was absolutely hooked and I found the whole process fascinating.  We started by creating a mood board.  Now, I had heard of mood boards, but to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what they were.  What a revelation and what fun! Like most people, I don't need much of an excuse to rummage around on Pinterest, so I was very happy to get lost down that particular rabbit hole and come up with some stunning images to put onto my board (see above).  I have to say at this point that I had a rough idea of what I wanted to create using a particular ball of yarn in my stash, so the Pinterest search was pretty focussed.  From here I moved on to thinking about the stitch pattern I would use.  As the ombre colourway of my yarn is reminiscent of the sea I wanted to use a stitch that represented the beach and sea in some way.  After flicking through my knitting books for a while, I found the perfect stitch pattern - a modular shell shape. 

    After that, it was time to get out the knitting needles and have some fun!  Suffice to say, there has been a lot of knitting and unpicking...  knitting and unpicking...  which is all part of the designing (and learning process).  It's fascinating to me, that an idea that looks so amazing in your head can end up looking completely different once on the needles.  The shawl is now finished and it is time to get the pattern tech edited and tested.  Once all of that is done, the beast will be released into the Big Wide World!

    Shawl1 Compressed

    Shawl

    All aspects of designing were covered from the mood board, right through to pattern layout.  I really loved doing this challenge and have since joined Frenchie's Swatch Studio Circle to take my designing further.  Yes, I have definitely got the designing bug and have a cowl and socks in the production line as we speak, with other ideas still in the noodling and doodling stage waiting to be transformed into something wearable.

    So as they say..... Watch This Space!