Knitting and Stitching Show 2014 – Alexandra Palace

knitting_and_stitching_show_bannerWelcome back to the highlight of this years’s Wool Week! The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace took place during Wool Week this year, and was my personal finale of the week.  My friend Sarah from Nottingham Knitter came to visit so we could spend the day at Ally Pally together, and boy did we have fun!

Our first stop was the LoveKnitting/Rowan Yarns stall. We said Hi to designers Sarah Hatton and Jem Weston before heading off into the depths of the exhibition. Rowan has designed a variety of beautiful ponchos just for Wool Week – I’ve wanted a Poncho for a while now. Just which colourway to choose.. help?

Off we were to  the famous Black Sheep Wools‘ Yarn Dive (which shall not be pictured here – things do get a bit… passionate there sometimes). I managed to pull away from the pile without buying anything for the first year ever, but I was on a budget and there was so much more to see. After all, our biggest interest was yarn, Yarn and more YARN. I was searching for Fyberspates Sparkle Sock Yarn, only to find out it had been discontinued (sad).

Fyberspates

Fyberspates

I had seen Millamia Yarns at the show before and was seriously tempted to buy their new book Winter Knits, but sadly my budget didn’t stretch far enough. It’s on top of my Christmas wishlist though. *hint hint*

MillaMia Sweden

Millamia

Eden Cottage Yarns had some of the softest, fluffiest Baby Alpaca Yarn I’ve ever felt. And such delicious colours too!

Eden Cottage Yarns

Eden Cottage Yarns

But there were of course also lots of finished projects and patterns to be admired. Purl Alpaca Designs are one of my favourite stalls every year, their designs are just so incredibly flattering and I can’t stress enough how much I love their Alpaca Yarns in natural shades.

Purl Alpaca Designs

Purl Alpaca Designs

Mrs Moon‘s stunning Super Giant Granny Square blanket first caught my eye at the Handmade Fair a few weeks ago, I was delighted to see it again at Ally Pally. Another future project for sure, and their pastel colours are just so pretty!

Mrs Moon Crochet Blanket

Mrs Moon

The crochet work on display at Jane Crowfoot‘s stall was just breathtaking, I need to join one of her CAL’s one of these days.

Jane Crowfoot Stall

Jane Crowfoot

And while we’re talking KAL’s – don’t you just love Debbie Abrahams Beneath The Sea blanket? I mean come on, it has mermaids and seahorses and glitzy things, how much better does it get? I was gutted when I found out that the patterns are only available for one year for members of her Mystery Blanket Club.

Beneath the Sea

Debbie Abrahams – Beneath the Sea

Sue Stratford had some pretty cool Knitting Kits. I loved the chickens, Sarah really liked the Monster Cat.

Sue Straford Kits

Sue Stratford Kits

These Hedgehog Hats win my personal ‘Wacky Knit of the Day’ award.

Hedgehog Hats

Gillian Gladrag had the cutest peacock bag felting kit, sadly I missed out on this one.

Gillian Gladrag Felting Kits

Gillian Gladrag Felting Kits

And then there was this incredible exhibition called ‘Black Sheep – The Darker Side of Felt’. Mind. Blown. Check out the amazing dresses, and the felted skulls! And those alien guys – they are the 7 Deadly Sins.

 

But in my last post I promised you the story of how I lost my heart at Ally Pally, so here it goes.
Sarah and I were on our way home, and just wanted to stop quickly at the Toft Alpaca Shop before leaving. Everybody loves the cute crochet animals from Edward’s Menagerie and we are no exception. But when we arrived at the stall, there was THIS guy.

Teddy.

Teddy.

Isn’t he just the cutest, fluffiest, best Teddy you’ve ever seen? And once I had given him a good hug there was no way I could leave him behind. NO WAY. The Toft guys probably thought I was a bit weird. But I don’t care. All I know is that Mr Fox said Teddy could come home with us. And that made me one happy Snowfox.
iamsnowfox_teddy_toftalpacashop
THE END

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Wool Week 2014 – Marie Wallin Knitting Workshops

wool_week_sheep_pink_green

It’s Monday, and the Wool Week Blues has properly set in. After a week spent knitting and learning and looking at pretty things and meeting interesting people, being back to my desk and laptop is all a bit dull. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little blog, but I’ve had such an amazing time last week that I just wish it wasn’t over yet.
Wool Week kicked off on Sunday with the Wool Ride, organised by the Campaign for Wool. I had tickets, but sadly couldn’t make it due to being away for work. There are lots of cool pictures on the CFW Facebook page though, go have a look!
My personal Wool Week started on Tuesday, with a visit to the Wool Interiors exhibition at Southwark Cathedral, followed by a Fairisle knitting workshop with Marie Wallin. I’ve never been very good at stranded colourwork, but I have to say, this workshop helped me a LOT. I’m normally a continental knitter, and for the past years I’ve been struggling along trying to hold one colour of yarn in each hand, which usually results in a puckered, untidy mess. But boy, what a revelation.. changing to English style stranded knitting seems to be doing it for me. I managed to produce a neat little swatch of the project of the day, Marie’s Christmas Mittens made with Rowan Yarns Felted Tweed, and am determined to actually make these pretties before the winter is over – and I’m not even scared of messing up anymore. Yay! 

Wednesday kicked off with another workshop with Marie Wallin – 3D knitting. I had no real imagination of what exactly 3D knitting meant – a quick search on Google led to 3D printer produced knitwear (yes, that’s a thing apparently), but that probably wasn’t what this was all about. 
We were given a ball of Rowan Yarns Cocoon which is one of my favourites as it is super soft and fluffy, and instructions for 2 different stitching techniques. The first is a folded fabric, the second one literally has knots in it. I really enjoyed making both of these – Not sure I would actually use them in a garment, but they were super fun to knit.

After the workshop I paid a visit to John Lewis Oxford Street to check out the Woolly Window and their workshop space. Rowan Yarns were teaching cowls and capelets in Rowan Big Wool, the free patterns can be downloaded via the Rowan website.

That’s it for now! Read all about how I lost my heart to a ball of fluff at the Knitting and Stitching Show in my next post. See you then!

Wool Week – Day 4: Knitting is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll

As I am writing this, Wool Week 2013 draws to a close. It’s been a wonderful week full of  inspiration, shared creativity and  fun.
I tried to go to as many events and workshops as time would allow. On schedule for thursday was the Rowan Yarns workshop at John Lewis Oxford Street. The classes were all booked out, so I decided to just drop into one of their open sessions, which also allowed me to check out the progress of the wool window.
People have been hard at work all week, and by now you can view the finished room in the side streets off Oxford Street. Just as a reminder, we started out with this on monday…

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

By Thursday, things were looking rather different. A majority of the originally white interior is now covered in colourful stitches.. they don’t even stop at the afternoon tea.


Those who still think knitting is for old ladies only, think again. Knitting is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Knitting is the new  Rock 'n' Roll

After saying Hi to the busy people in the window, I headed up the First Floor for the Rowan workshop. Upon arriving I noticed models of the snoods they were teaching to people – 3 different variations, all knit in wonderfully soft and chunky Big Wool. I borrowed a pair of needles, and one of the design consultants who work at John Lewis attempted to teach me to knit English Style (I’m normally a continental knitter). I started working on this cabled cowl and will definitely be making a few of these as Christmas presents.
 Cabled Cowl


Stuart Hillard from the Great British Sewing Bee having fun knitting a purple scarf.

Stuart Hillard Knitting

After a good two hours during which I more or less successfully attempted fair isle knitting with one colour in each hand, it was time for another class. This one was fully booked, and even reality TV star Oliver Proudlock joined the group to learn how to knit. Since the pop-up store was getting really crowded, I packed what I had made into my already too-full bag and headed over to Liberty’s, where the Awards ceremony for the winner of Wool Week 2013 Hand Knit & Crochet Award was taking place.
The Awards are a collaboration between Rowan Yarns, The Campaign for Wool, Liberty’s and The Royal College of Arts. To learn more about the awards, head over to the Campaign for Wool’s website. I got a chance to talk to the winners and Rowan brand manager Kate Buller and designer Marie Wallin, who are both very passionate about the competition, and who knows – they might even be recruiting some of those fresh talents to work with on future collections. Marie Wallin (wearing her own design Anatolia from Rowan Mag 54) then presented the awards and prizes to the winners and told the audience a little more about the designs and the creative minds behind them.


I am a bit sad that Wool Week 2013 is now nearly over, but am sure that Wool Week 2014 is already being planned as we speak, and will have many more inspiring exhibitions and events in store for all of us. I’m signing off now to work on my knitting :)

Wool Week ‘Knit Nation’ – Day 1

This year’s wool week has finally arrived! I kicked off the week by joining Toft Alpaca Shop for some live Yarn Bombing in a window display at John Lewis in Oxford Street. The idea is to start out with a completely white space, and gradually cover it in colourful stitches during the week. Lots of different artists are joining the fun, and there will be stints of live knitting and crocheting every day. 
John Lewis is also hosting FREE knitting workshops every day, for more information and class schedules check the Campaign for Wool’s website
We spent the afternoon covering the sofa in what will be a fitted throw by the end of the week, and were joined by Dan from Sheperd’s delight. Check out his pictures of Daisy Lowe opening Wool Week on tumblr.

After finishing the crochet session in the window I joined WOOL AND THE GANG for a free knitting class in the women’s fashion department. They had been doing some live knitting in the window earlier and were now busy teaching knitting chunky hats and scarves to anyone who dropped in.

I had so much fun and can’t wait to be back on thursday to check out the progress of the wooly window and join Rowan Yarns for free workshops during the day. Follow me on facebook for some live updates!