Saturday, 8 October 2011

Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show

Today I spent several hours at the huge Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace

It was MASSIVE! -
The Great Hall
 There were hundreds of stalls, representing every type of craft and needlework you could think of: knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, braiding, tatting, embroidery, beading, spinning, weaving, buttons, scissors, and on and on. It was like a cross between a trade fair, and a big needlework shopping mall. You could buy sewing machines, subscribe to magazines, buy books on any subject, attend workshops and watch demonstrations.

After several hours, tea and cake was necessary, so I treated myself to afternoon tea in the rather over the top tea room:

Crazy wall paintings in the tea rooms - nearly put me off my scones!
 And I came away with some lovely stuff:

'New' vintage patterns - £6
Lurex thread for crocheting - £2.99

Some cute embroidery scissors - £2.99
And best of all - this Alexander Henry fabric from Fabrics Galore

This will be perfect for a gypsy style dress!

Overall, the event was pretty good, and it was great to see so many people interested in, and practicing, so many crafts. But it's that word......


 I just don't like it.

(This is the bit where I start to sound like my mother)

I sew, not because it's a hobby, but because this is how I clothe myself. I've been doing it long enough (nearly 30 years) to be pretty good at it, and I wouldn't dream of relying on the high street or designers to make up the bulk of my wardrobe. To me, this isn't 'crafty', which implies a certain folksy, amateurish, lumpiness. This is just what I do.

I feel by categorising all of the skills at the Knitting and Stitching show as 'craft', you seperate those skills from everyday fashion and they become regarded as hobbies. But fashion couldn't exist without most of these skills!

There's also a danger that these skills will become seen as luxury pastimes; I felt that many of the exhibitors, especially some of the knitting based ones, were quite expensive, specialising in silks and cashmeres, and with very little for the everyday. 

And I think that is exactly what was missing from the show - the attitude that knitting, sewing, etc, is not for everyday, just for Christmas (decorations).


  1. I wish I could have gone; I could do with going to a 'proper' knitting event. You're right about the skills being seen as a luxury past time, especially when you get into the 'luxe' area of knitting with rosewood needles and artisan yarns.

  2. I know what you mean about the word 'craft' to me it conjures up images of white lace and pink satin pillows, and crinoline doll toilet roll holders.

  3. Alexander Henry fabrics are always so pretty. would love to see a Mexi-dress made out of this fabric.

  4. I love the Fabrics Galore stall, always make a beeline for that! I know exactly what you mean about the word 'craft'. It sounds so worthy and lumpen.


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