Sunday, 10 October 2010

Alexandra Palace

Yesterday I made the two hour trek up to London to the fabulous Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.  It wouldn't normally take two hours, but London Underground in their wisdom had closed the nearest tube station, so I had to take an extra train to get there. Billed as the 'best textiles show in Europe', it combines a huge marketplace with all sort of displays, including graduate showcases, designer showcases, juried competitions, stands from manufacturers such as Coats Clark (Rowan and Paton) and others, magazine and book publishers, and displays by all sorts of weird and wonderful guilds.  You could easily spend the whole day there, as there is also a programme of 'taster' one hour workshops, learn-to-knit clinics, a swishing salon (clothes swaps), and various demos and mini-workshops going on.

I spent four hours going around and then did a one-hour workshop (which was a complete waste of time but you can't win them all). To begin with, it wasn't too crowded and I was able to view the first two rooms, where most of the displays and guilds are, fairly easily. I said 'Hi' to Liz on the Guild of Machine Knitters stall and let her finally talk me into re-joining.  I admired the Ring of Tatters display (I am a lapsed member), and fell in love with books on Sally Holman's stand for creating landscape pictures from quilt fabric.  Now that I am making less money, it was not quite as much fun as in past years when I would have just bought the books.  This year I bought a kit from her to make a card, to see what the techniques are, and didn't spend the money on the books.  I got some 20" squares of vintage Java batik fabric from an absolutely gorgeous display by Textile Traders, and enjoyed seeing some of the sample garments from Rowan 48 magazine.

By the time I moved into the main marketplace, around noon, it was getting quite crowded and eventually it was so crowded that you literally had to squirm through gaps in the crowds to get down the aisles.  There was a fair bit of jostling going on, and one poor lady had her foot run over by a mobility scooter, which sounded painful.  As in previous years, there were a lot of knitting stands, but this year there seemed to be a lot more quilting stands than usual.  Some good prices on fabric as well, £3m, £4, etc. with Doughty's putting on two stands, one of which was mainly batiks.  Black Sheep had commandeered almost half an aisle all to themselves, selling lots of bagged up yarn at cheap prices, plus tapestry kits etc.  I did a lot of fondling but only bought a half-metre of yellow 30s fabric.  I was very tempted by a jelly roll on sale for £20 but as usual thought "why don't I just cut 2.5" strips from my own stash?"  Plus I would really like to use up some of my stash and not buy any more fabric for a while.

It's been that time of year, lots of fairs, and I had a great time at Miniatura last weekend, as reported on my Fairfield blog.  DH also drove me up to Ripley afterwards to visit the Dolls House Emporium shop.  I mainly went to see Maddie's Hobbit Hole which was on display, but was curious to see their Chinese-import-headquarters.  Although a lot of their stuff can be a bit crude or out of scale, they had an impressively wide offering in the shop.  What did surprise me was their line of modern dollshouses, which were really rather good.  It's so unusual to see a dollshouse with modern architecture and they had three or four, including one that looked just like a modernised canal-side warehouse converted for modern open-plan living.  Of course, they only do 1/12th scale so the houses are all huge, I wouldn't have room for them. But neat to see.

The wife of someone at work just had a baby.  It was two weeks overdue, and came out at 9lbs 9oz!!! Ouch.  I knit a hat for it in Lion Brand Wool-Ease, and chose the toddler size as I didn't think the baby size was going to cut it.  This was a pattern from my 2010 Knitting Pattern calendar.

After doing a few tension swatches, I have started knitting a sleeveless pullover vest on my Brother 881 knitting machine, using Regia sock yarn that I got cheap online from Black Sheep yarns.  This is the back right after it came off the machine, before it has been blocked.  I'm aiming for a similar shape to the Knit Camp Vest that I made in August.

A few weekends ago, a friend came over to see my dollshouses. The big ones are all out on display, but the room boxes etc. were here and there, so we got them all out onto the kitchen table to make them easier to see. It was rather daunting to see how many I have, all together like that. A lot of time, and money, and effort which I suppose could have gone into something more worthwhile - like housework... hee hee hee, nope, can't say that with a straight face.

On the knitting front, I have progressed on my Freedom Wool Cable Vest...

...And on my Sanquhar glove.  You can see the date that I worked into the bracelet.  Interestingly, the people I bought the pattern from, EJT Trading, were at Ally Pally again this year.  I was looking at their sample when I realised that it was actually different from the picture on my pattern.  The fingers were orientated differently, so that the first column of motifs next to the thumb ran straight up the index finger.  It looked better than the way my pattern shows it.  Obviously I will have to knit another pair in the new way.

I've started knitting a Pumpkin Tea Cosy from Lion Brand Wool-Ease, kind of making up a pattern using cables. It's that time of year, and I have dug out my various Halloween / autumnal quilted wallhangings and hung them up around the house.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Sounds like a very good use of your time to me! ;-)

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