Last weekend it was that time of year again, when flocks of craft addicts (both young and old, I was pleased to note) pack out the vast venue of Kensington Olympia. The Spring Knitting and Stitching show was here.
When I wrote about going the first time I visited, two years ago, I noticed a definite trend in the target audience. This time however, the number of younger visitors, families with young children and men was noticeable. It’s clear that hobbies like knitting and sewing are becoming mainstream, despite a young girl I met saying knitting was old-fashioned! I think The Great British Sewing Bee has helped with this, particularly as this year had more excellent male sewers in their ranks, showing that it’s not just a woman’s hobby. The contestants from this years Sewing Bee turned up at the show, much to the delight of many!
Depending on what’s on display it can be a bit hit and miss whether I see anything I like. This year, there was a lot. Here is my fabric haul.
The first stall I went to was fashioncapital.co.uk, and I could see there was a lot of interest with knots of people crowding round the racks. These were each sorted into different colours, with all sorts of fabrics on them. Apparently they provide a lot of fabric for asos.com and other stores, displaying some of the clothing made from their fabrics. I had my eye on these two with fantastic texture, I’ve no idea what I’m going to make with them yet, but I just couldn’t resist. They’re both very stretchy so I’ll have to be careful when I sew them!
Next up was Euro Japan Links, who had some beautiful fabrics on display. Most were in fat quarters, though some were in half metres, and for the decadent, there were a few on the roll. I normally don’t pay much attention to the multiple stores selling fat quarters, as I don’t tend to do that type of sewing, but I have a bit of a soft spot for all things Japanese, and these were beautiful. They also had a whole range of kits to make various bags and cushion covers that were displayed around the stall, and I spent a while looking through them all trying to choose! I picked out three sets of fat quarters which I might make into little purses, or add as a highlight somewhere. Towards the end of my visit when I had a little money left I went back and bought a cushion kit, because I loved the pattern so much I couldn’t get it out of my head!
I spent a while wandering around the show after that, I always love seeing what the schools and colleges come up with, their stands hold some pretty original designs!
From Kings Ely I’ve just realised that Lara Edwards has cropped up twice in my favourites, first for her linear ‘Landcape Manipulation’, which has the most incredible fascinator, and also for her personal investigation which has resulted in a gorgeous green dress with leaves climbing artfully around it. Just a tad sheer for normal wear!
I was also a fan of Michiko Takehara’s stunning blue design. It creates an amazing structure around the body with the soft fabric draping at the hips contrasting nicely with the sharp lines around the waist and breast. The vertical ordered lines of the skirt are a nice finishing touch.
One last notable mention is Camille Lewis’ from Ibstock Place School. Her design, Coral, is a fantastic architectural piece, really giving the impression of a scarf floating in water, imitating coral.
I stopped for a chat with Sincerely Louise, whose latest dinosaur designs were hanging proudly on the wall amongst the others. I’ve got my eye on having a bluebell of my own! I’m afraid I was too busy chatting to take any pictures of her lovely stall, whoops!
My last purchase of the day was from my favourite fabric shop, Simply Fabrics in Brixton. If you haven’t been before I would highly recommend it, they have two shops on opposite sides of the road, holding an absolute treasure trove of fabrics. I am in love with the patterns on these.
Don’t worry, I haven’t completely forgotten about yarn and knitting! I did make a small purchase of some very colourful yarns that I’m going to experiment with. I already have quite a large stash that I need to get through and I’m running out of room!
So there you have it! If you want to be in a large room full of fabric, yarn and like-minded people never fear, there will be another show in the autumn, at Ally Pally.