Updated: Oct 15, 2022
After finishing several big projects throughout August and September, I treated myself to a day out at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Alexandra Palace. It was quite a short day as I had to go between school drop-off and collection and it's exactly the other side of London from us with no sensible route on public transport but I had so much fun! Did you go?
I know how tempting it is to see so many wonderful yarns and craft products, so I made myself a list of things I wanted to look for and checked out the classes and talks that were on. I knew I wanted to see if any of the stands sold my favourite crochet hooks as I broke my 3.5mm on my last project and they are hard to get in the UK. I had to complete the project with it wrapped in tape as I couldn't get gauge with any other hook! I wanted to have a look at Toft yarns as I'd been admiring the textures and colours for a while and also to find some plastic free sock yarn plus some thread for crocheted jewellery products. A talk by the editor of Prima magazine sounded interesting as I've enjoyed designing patterns for magazines and thought it would be great to hear things from an editor's perspective.
Alexandra Palace is such an amazing venue. Looking above all the stands and the theatre, you can see the beautiful organ and stained glass windows but they couldn't distract me for long from exploring the stands and galleries. There were some amazing displays from schools, colleges and community groups from the gorgeous prize winning quilts at the entrance to a stand of garments made by boys and lots of projects by those studying fashion and textiles.
I got my hook! There was just one stand with the Brittany Birch hooks and they had just one 3.5mm hook left. I was so happy. I'll need to be really careful with this one. Unfortunately the stand also has some beautiful pink laceweight Yak yarn and I was tempted to buy it. I don't regret that though. It looks like it will be lovely to use and I do find pink a useful colour for a cardigan. I have two pink cardigans that I'm regularly repairing! Do you also repair your homemade clothes beyond where you would bother for something you bought because of how much effort they took to make? I feel so attached to my handmades and it's hard to declare them too damaged to wear.
There were many options for sock yarn. I liked several of the ones on offer at the Debonnaire stand and picked one called Frisky to try in a beautiful blue semi-solid colourway called Vital. I like the idea of having Vital and Frisky feet. I don't wear socks a lot, so they are mostly for when I have to fish small people out of soft play or dive in to rescue one who thinks he might be broken and needs a magic kiss to make it better. I do love making socks though and would love to design some. I have a few ideas for this yarn.
I looked at the Toft yarn and it was every bit as lovely as I'd expected so I got a ball of cream and some of their lovely bright shades This is for a yoked cowl with a plainish, stretchy, ribbed neck and a patterned, maybe floral looking, yoke in the style of a fancy granny square, using the main colour and the other shades alternately.
The most exciting and unexpected thing was to see Studio Flax there. I had been looking for linen thread to crochet with for a while. I had a tiny skein of linen embroidery thread from a charity shop bag of lots of threads and I loved working a little swatch with it but I knew I didn't have enough for a full project. I found Studio Flax online and loved reading the company's story but wasn't sure it was the right texture for crochet. Seeing it in person at the show was really helpful. it looks just right! I got a few shades to see how it goes. Maybe that will be my crochet thread as I didn't really see any other options for that and I'd really like to get my jewellery and hair accessory patterns written up.
The talk from the magazine editor was really great. It's so nice to understand what goes on behind the scenes and I finished off the time I had by taking a look at the amazing giant Toft butterfly but somehow not realising that there was the opportunity for visitors to add their own dot to its wings. I would definitely have done that if I had realised. It's such a fun project! I enjoyed following it on social media over the next few days as different colour dots were added. Maybe next year there will be something similar.