Today, with less than three weeks to go to my first major event of the Christmas season what I should have been doing is spending the day making, labelling and packing but instead I somehow found myself driving round the North Circular this morning on my way to the best source materials show for knitters and stitchers in the South East, the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. To be honest, it wasn't totally about spending money on new supplies (no, really!) but the day out gave me a chance to regroup myself (if that's possible) and some new ideas to think about on the way back.
My first port of call was Blooming Felt http://www.bloomingfelt.co.uk. I've probably said this before but Sarah, the entrepreneurial owner of this company is a personal inspiration to me. She's built a very well known and successful business in the craft world and I hang on her every word!
Today she inspired me with some lovely felt ball flowers which I think may appear in some of my mini pictures
and a rather disjointed (literally) person for whom I have some knitty ideas. (You'll just have to wait a bit for these - a 2013 project).
But I was also on the lookout for a little present for me and Sarah suggested this little kit
which was fortunately marked
I was also lucky enough to snap up the last few of these ceramic buttons which sent me whizzing round to the Alpaca Select stall http://www.alpacaselect.co.uk for some matching yarn. More knitted corsages on the way!
I can never visit this show without calling at the Black Sheep stall. They always have amazing bargains but you have to be prepared to rummage around on the floor! Today I was good and limited myself to one purchase which was some pale pink Rowan Siena 4ply. I have decided, after years of not knitting garments to have a go at a lacy jumper pattern. If it turns out OK you may see it here, if not, forget I ever mentioned it! I'll only need a few of the 10 balls in the bag so thinking about what to do with the rest was one of the topics in my mind as I was queuing at Hangar Lane on my return journey.
The stitching part of the show for me was a hunt for some different fabrics and for this I went first to The Village Haberdashery http://www.thevillagehaberdashery.co.uk. I've been following them on Facebook and joined their survey panel as it gives me a chance to give some feedback on new stock. Everyone at the stall was really lovely and I picked up three really interesting prints. Keep up the good work girls!
Of course, I can't resist a bargain and at the New Threads Quilt stall I picked up six lovely fat quarters and owner Meg very kindly helped me to find the perfect thimble for my very sore finger. Phew! Find her on-line here http://www.new-threads.com and near Andover which fortunately for me is on the way to my favourite hotel in Somerset.
And finally I found three pretty ditsy prints at the Fabrics Galore (https://www.facebook.com/fabricsgalorelondon) stand which will be the perfect backdrop for some textile cards I have in mind.
Craft for me is also about trying out new pieces of kit and I found three items to make fabric roses, bows and flowers. Sometimes these things do not work quite as well as they appear to but I'll roadtest these and let you see the results.
I was just about to leave but realised this show wasn't all about spending money so took a wander into the hall showcasing the talents of textile designers. And who did I find but Clare Beaton! If you have or have had a young child but you don't know her beautiful illustrations you've missed out and should remedy this situation immediately! When my daughter was very young I bought her Clare Beaton books as a keepsake because I so loved the textile illustrations. Today I saw some of the original sewn work for these illustrations which have so inspired me and, even more importantly, had the chance to meet Clare herself. You can find out more about her at http://www.clarebeaton.com. I bought these lovely Christmas cards as a final reminder of a fantastic and inspirational day out.
Back to work now.
Love as always