Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate

This year I’ve been to two Knitting and Stitching Shows – Alexandra Palace in London and Harrogate. The people I went to Al Pal with were mostly interested in the K rather than the S, so I didn’t get to see nearly as much as I’d have liked of the stitch exhibitions. Also it was so overcrowded that it was hard to see anything at all at times.

So, on both counts, I thought a supplementary visit to the Harrogate show would be useful, and I went last Friday. I’m so glad I took the trouble to go as I had a lovely time. I went with my stitching chum Bren, who is also doing the Stitchbusiness Masterclass. We went our separate ways around the show, but met up for lunch and again to go home. This is an ideal way to go to a show, I think; you’re with a friend which is good, but free to go around on your own to spend as much or as little time as you like looking at things.

We got off to a cracking start and were in there ten minutes after opening time. Although it got busy it was nothing like the scrum of Al Pal, and it was much easier to wander about. I didn’t buy much – I’ve got enough stitching materials to last me several lifetimes – but I’m pleased with the odds and ends I did get. My main purpose was to look, especially at the exhibitions.

The outstanding experience of the whole day for me was the Dorothy Caldwell exhibition. I just loved it, and kept on going back to it for yet another look. This show is based upon her response to seeing two very different parts of the world: the Canadian Arctic and Australia. Although they’re geographically remote from each other these landscapes have some aspects in common too – they’re remote, rugged, colourful and bleak, or at least to an eye like mine used to the English countryside. There were some very large pieces in the show, but the ones I really wanted to take home with me were the smaller pieces, especially those featuring her interpretations of kantha stitching. Dorothy Caldwell

Many of the exhibitors discourage photographs and I can see why, but there wasn’t any indication at DC’s exhibition. So I asked DC herself for permission which she kindly gave me. What I forgot to do was to ask for her permission to put one of the photos on my blog (I’m new to this blogging lark and wasn’t thinking ahead). So I hope if she ever sees the photo in this post she will forgive me (or ask me to take it down which of course I would).

Of all the lovely pieces in this show, the one pictured here is the one that appealed most to me. The balance of colour, shape and stitch is exquisite. The photo really doesn’t get close to doing it justice. Partly this is because I took it on my rather old compact camera, but also I think it’s difficult for even the best photographer with the best possible camera to capture the impression given by a piece like this.

In summary, this was a beautiful exhibition and I’m so pleased to have seen it.

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