I visited the show last year and loved it, but am on a tight "crafty treats" budget after splurging on lots of pretty fabric at the Festival of Quilts (and afterwards!) so I'd planned on saving my pennies and giving it a miss this year. But a free crafty day out with a friend? Yes please! :)
So last week I caught a train, the tube, and another train... and eventually arrived at Alexandra Palace station and walked up the hill to the venue.
It was chucking it down with rain that morning, so these are some photos I took on my way home :)
Even on a grey day, the views out over London are pretty fab.
I met up with my crafty chum Carina and we sat and had a pre-show brunch under the trees in the Palm Court, chatting about how it totally didn't seem like a year since we were last there together.
Then it was time to explore the show!
First up was the fabulous knitted pergola - a colourful, joyful community knitting project raising funds for Livability.
Next up: shopping!
There's such a varied and colourful selection of supplies on offer at a show like this: fabric, yarn, beads, buttons, trims, craft kits, magazines, books and more. We did lots of oohing over all the loveliness, including...
... fabulous hand-dyed yarn from Debonnaire Yarns:
... beautiful beads from Ilona Biggins, bright felt and threads from the Eternal Maker... and a veritable mountain of yarn!
... and wonderful, colourful trims from Aarti J.
I was mostly window shopping (thanks to the aforementioned tight budget) but I did buy something for a secret project that I'm working on and it was a pleasure just to wander round and soak up all the delicious crafty goodness on display.
I loved this sheep on the Woolyknit stand!
And these amazing needlefelted creations by Fi Oberon of Alua's Garden.
The organisers had added an extra day to the Ally Pally show this year, and being the first year that extra day was a little quiet so instead of pushing through bustling crowds we enjoyed a quiet stroll round all the stalls and had plenty of time to chat to the stall holders, catch up with crafty folks we knew from blogging, and ooh over all the loveliness.
Of course the Knitting & Stitching Show isn't just about shopping - there are lots of textile-themed exhibitions on display as well. We stopped for a quick cuppa then went to explore...
There was a great mix of knitted and stitched pieces on display as well as work connected to and inspired by textiles. There were fabulous knitted garments, fascinating needlefelted sculptures, banners stitched from textiles washed up on the shores of beaches, intricate embroideries and much more.
It was a pleasure to look at it all and to have a chance to chat to many of the makers and artists about their work. It is always wonderful to be able to tell someone to their face "I love your work!" and always so interesting to hear about peoples inspiration and processes. Photos weren't permitted of many of the displays, but I got permission to take a few snaps to share with you guys.
These fun Hobbit-inspired knitted characters by The Knitting Witch were delightful. (Do visit Carina's blog to see pics of the amazingly intricate knitted coat that's just out of shot in this pic - sadly my photos of it turned out super blurry!)
This installation by Caren Garfen exploring women's relationships with dieting and food was really interesting, and her stitching was so tiny and neat! This kitchen looks like a small model in the photo but it was a full size room...
... with lots of stitched details throughout, like text on the walls and cabinets and quirky objects like these stitched biscuits.
Caren was also exhibiting some other pieces exploring women's experiences - I especially loved these medicine bottles with stitched labels.
I also really enjoyed Prism's coded:decoded exhibition which was exploring "the tension between stitch and artform", especially this fun piece about food labelling by Helen O'Leary...
... and these wonderful sculptures by Jackie Langfeld:
We just managed to get round and see everything before it was time to head home! Phew!
Missed this month's Knitting & Stitching show? Click here for info about the Dublin & Harrogate shows later this autumn and the Olympia show in March 2015.