K&S Harrogate 2016

As usual, I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate this year. Got there on the first day of the show, the Thursday, and had a belting time. Fortunately, I was feeling quite energetic because the whole experience was exhausting. But I stuck it out for well over five hours, with only a cup of coffee to keep me fuelled.K&S logo

So, what was good? Actually, this year, I was most attracted by the dressmaking, and spent more time on that than anything else. On going into Hall A, I was immediately attracted by the Maker’s Atelier stand which I don’t recall having seen before. This is the brainchild of Frances Tobin, a fashion designer, who has set up in business designing dressmaking patterns. Each of her designs was available to inspect, made up in simple, high-quality, fabrics. I loved them, and so, by the looks of things, did lots of other women. Many of the visitors to this blog will know just how difficult it is to find simple and stylish clothes, especially when one is at a certain age and a less than ideal size. I spent some time talking to Frances and her assistant on the stand. The assistant was particularly inspiring as she was wearing a couple of the items that she had made recently, but, and here’s the thing, she had only started dressmaking about a year ago.

I bought two of the patterns and was directed to Rosenberg’s stand where a mighty scrum was taking place as many, many women all attempted to buy fabric at the same time. I’m not surprised – the quality of fabric seems to be excellent and the prices are unbelievable. Have a look at Rosenberg’s website here. There was a long wait but it was all very good-humoured and cheerful. A woman standing next to me told me that you have to get in at opening time, 10 sharp, in order to get to the front of the queue. I eventually managed to buy some lovely fine wool at ¬£12 per metre, and I hope that I will find time in between all the working and the pincushioning etc to actually get something made.

What else did I buy? Well, not a vast amount, as I really have all that I need. I bought a few small pieces of silk and some sari strips from The Silk Route – I almost always buy something from them. And some plain Kona cottons in fat quarters to provide a sturdy backing to my pincushions. Other than that, not a lot. I spent some time looking at the exhibiting artists’ stands and was especially impressed by the work of Debbie Lyddon. I’d been aware of it previously, but hadn’t seen it in the flesh. The work in the show had been inspired by time spent at Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, and I thought it was genuinely evocative of the place (which I first visited a couple of years ago).

So, yes, all good. I’m pleased I went, and I’m looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with dressmaking. I did a lot of it in my youth but it was a lot easier back then when I was slim and a UK size 12 pattern would fit me without any alteration. Ho hum. Times have changed and so have I.

New blog visitors

Hello new blog visitors! It’s a bizarre feature of this blog that the less often I post, the more views I seem to get. I no longer¬†look at the statistics every day. I used to do this when my website and blog were new, hoping that I might get at least one visitor each day (sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t). Nowadays, I get quite a lot, which is very pleasing, and which should encourage me to write more often. Note to self: must try harder.

When I do look at the stats I always drill down a little further to see where my visitors are located. And I’ve noticed recently a lot of new readers in Russia, and especially St Petersburg. Welcome new Russian visitors! I’ve never been to St Petersburg (indeed, when I was last in Russia it was still called Leningrad which gives you some idea of how long it’s been), but I’ve visited a number of other Russian cities, Ukrainian and Georgian cities (e.g Moscow, Kiev, Rostov and Tblisi). I like to think of us all across the world in England, Russia and many other places, busy stitching away (or drawing or dyeing or doing something similarly useful and important). It’s an uncertain world out there, and I think anything that brings us closer together should be encouraged. So, busy stitchers, keep plugging away at your non-trivial pursuits.