Last Friday Clair and I took a trip to London to one of the craftiest shows going – The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia. Given that it has been a whole month since we ventured off to Germany, we thought we deserved another little outing, so we popped on the slow train and made our way over to one of the biggest gatherings of fabric, wool, and knitting and sewing suppliers in the UK.
Neither of us were sure quite what to expect having never attended one of these kinds of shows before, so we were very pleased by what greeted us: a vast amount of independent sellers, all gathered under one roof and showcasing their very best products. Having made our way into the centre, we found ourselves surrounded by all kinds of innovative crafts, a plethora of wool and fabrics, new and vintage patterns, workshops, craft magazines, sewing machines and basically everything you would need to set yourself up with one crafty obsession or another. It was a little overwhelming to say the least, but it was also very exciting to think that we could spend the whole day indulging ourselves by window shopping (and actually shopping) at the stalls and talking to loads of like minded people.
There were lots of other independent fabric sellers like us on site, and although lots of them had similar stock to us, there were also loads of different prints for sale too. Sewing cafes, fabric shops, and haberdasheries all had plenty of variety in the prints, including lovely stuff from Michael Miller, Riley Blake, Copenhagen Print Factory and Makower to name a few. We were also delighted to bump into our friend Paul from Fabrics Galore, with whom we spent lots of time on our trip to Germany. He was extremely busy selling lots of crazy and amazing prints by Californian designer Alexander Henry inspired by all kinds of things, including Japanese tattoo designs, half naked cowboys and pictures of the Virgin Mary. His reduced price Liberty was also walking off the shelves as people snapped it up for summer dresses and skirts.
Quite a few other stallholders grabbed our attention as we walk around the site, and many of them were kind enough to let us take some photos and have a chat with us about their products. So, for those of you who didn’t make it to the show over the weekend, here is a little snapshot of some of our favourite makers from the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show.
Sincerely Louise is the fabulous lady behind these amazing knitted taxidermy heads. She has not only created the cutest version of a fox stole you could possibly want, but she’s also gone all out in creating a full on knitted tiger rug. Louise herself was manning her stall and showcasing her stunning knitted creations and told us that she very much enjoyed what she did, and was more than happy to share the love of her hand crafted heads with her patterns and kits. Personally we loved the tiny polar bear and hedgehog slippers best of all.
Gorgeous vintage inspired patterns were on sale from Sew La Di Da, and Clair and I fell completely in love with their beautiful designs. From 1930s style gentlemen’s waistcoats to fifties fashioned full circle skirt dresses with sweetheart necklines, these patterns are simply to die for.
We were really inspired by the clever tools and simple techniques from MiY Patterns, which give people the chance to take measurements and design their own well fitting garments. Ideal for anyone with the confidence to get mathematical with their sewing. Plus, they sold some seriously cool sewing shears necklaces.
The most amazing buttons were on sale from Hamilton – these tiny little pieces of haberdashery heaven were made by one lady, using just her own hands and some Fimo. How ridiculously cute/insanely intricate are these cucumber, tomato, strawberry and apple slices? Simply astonishing.
Other things that were fascinating to look at were the quilts which were on show from The Quilters Guild, and of course the knitted farm, which featured the most fantastic shire horse, who had won third prize in the knitted farm competition (personally, I think he was robbed and should have come first, but best in show was taken by a turkey), and the Crochet Jungle, where newbies could learn the basics of crochet and contribute to the green fronds that were strewn all around the ceiling.
All this, plus workshops aplenty and the chance to meet Mr X Stitch himself, made for a very inspiring and very exciting day. Now we can’t wait for the next one in September …