Yesterday I visited the Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia in West London. I only just managed to get round the whole show; there are so many lovely stands, products and people there! It's on until 8th March in London, or you can catch it in Dublin or Harrogate towards the end of the year.
Apart from all the great stands they have a whole schedule of workshops and demos that you can get involved with, exhibitions of quilts, embroidery and fashion and, perhaps best of all, a CROCHET JUNGLE and a KNITTED FARM!!!
The Crochet Jungle in an immersive, creative way of fundraising for Noah's Ark Hospice Charity and Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity, devised by Toft's Kerry Lord. It was a joy to behold. You can buy crochet monkey kits on the toft website.
The Knitted Farm was a wonderful idea too. What you see in the pictures below are the results of a competition, with all the "livestock" hand knitted by members of the public. It was run in conjunction with Muir & Osborne who are well known for their marvellous animal patterns (I'm the proud owner of their book Knit Your Own Zoo!).
I was very much drawn towards Namolio's stand with it's emphasis on natural textiles, especially linen. They displayed a very tasteful and considered colour palette and I particularly liked the fine linen yarns (shown below) which would be a dream to crochet with. You can find them and other pretty things in their Etsy shop.
I enjoyed chatting with Ian of Black Bat from North Yorkshire. They have the most amazing array of rare breed yarns made from fleeces sourced from all over the UK. I loved their fine 1 ply wools (pictured below) which demonstrate the sheer variety to be found in our native flocks. You can acquire some of these gems from their website.
Special mention also goes to Devon based UK Alpaca Ltd. whose yarns I took a particular shine to. No photos I'm afraid, but I did bring some skeins home with me to test, so watch out for the appearance of alpaca in CHELACHE designs some time in the near future...
I think the best looking stand of the show was Sincerely Louise's. London designer Louise Walker's trademark "Faux Taxidermy Knits" stood out a mile and made everyone smile. Such a fun idea, brilliantly executed and beautifully presented. They're all available as kits which you can also buy from her etsy shop and she has some super cute patterns on ravelry too (from podgy pugs to hanging pheasants!)
If you have even the slightest interest in textiles, knitting, crochet, quilting, dressmaking or embroidery, I highly recommend getting yourself down to The Knitting and Stitching Show as soon as possible!