The Knitting & Stitching Show 2018: Yarn and Fibre Highlights

Suzie Blackman
Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Last Thursday I popped along to the The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in North London (both the event and the venue are affectionately known as ‘Ally Pally’). I sent myself there armed with camera on a blogging mission, with a strict ‘no shopping’ rule, which incredibly I managed to stick to. I hoped to get my write-up done in time to be useful to everyone visiting over the weekend but life got in the way, so apologies for that! I find it’s impossible to see everything there, so even if you did go, I hope I can help you discover something new.

For anyone unfamiliar with the event, it’s a large, affair with over 250 exhibitors comprising galleries, talks and classes and retail stalls. It is insanely busy, as you can see. Don’t be fooled by the grey hair – these shoppers are on a mission, elbow barging and tactically deployed walking sticks are rife.

The main retail area at The Knitting & Stitching Show 2018, Alexandra Palace

This annual event was once the highlight of the London knitter’s calendar, though in recent years it’s become less about knitting and more about stitching (but us knitters now have so many dedicated yarn shows, that’s not surprising), and certainly the event has a more commercial feel than it used to with US-style roaming mic sales demos a plenty. Nevertheless, I thought the layout this year was improved with the second room being relative sanctuary of calm, much of it being given out to gallery space. I also met many wonderful independents and found plenty of goodies for the knit-inclined and I’d say it was definitely worth a trip.

One of the few independent dyers at the show was Qing Fibre whose stand was adorned with their stunning ‘Melted Baby Suri’ alpaca yarn, which is, like, so hot right now.

Qing Fibre at The Knitting & Stitching Show

Qing Fibre at The Knitting & Stitching Show

Qing Fibre at The Knitting & Stitching Show

I was delighted to see Sue Stratford Knits stand decked with Ziggy-style lightning bolts, just a few days after discovering her new Voltage Shawl design on the Knitting Vicariously podcast (1.3K followers after your third episode – nice going gal!). I see a mini volt sweater in my kiddo’s future soon.

Sue Stratford Knits at the Knitting & Stitching Show

The stall was super-busy and sadly I couldn’t get close enough for a chat.

Sue Stratford Knits and The Knitting & Stitching Show

Rowan Yarns had a sizeable and beautifully designed stand, full of cosy sweaters that I immediately wanted to snuggle up in (despite it being rather hot in there).

Rowan Yarns at The Knitting & Stitching show

Rowan Yarns at The Knitting & Stitching Show

It was great to see such an inspiring display from this classic British brand that I know has been going through a lot of changes and as a consequence, we haven’t seen as much trend-setting from them in recent years.

Nestled in the gallery area I found Dawn ‘Midnight’ Hemming‘s fascinatingly intricate hand-knitted artwork.

Dawn Hemming at The Knitting & Stitching Show

Her pieces are worked in-the-round, sometimes in extremely fine vintage yarns or self-striping yarns with long repeats, using a mixture of contemporary and traditional motifs. The effect is quite hypnotic.

Dawn Hemming at The Knitting & Stitching Show

Another display that caught my eye was Mrs Moon Yarns. They specialise in simply luxury, natural fibre yarn. I adore these juicy colours, and who doesn’t love a chunky bobble hat!?

Mrs Moon Yarns at the Knitting & Stitching Show 2018

And finally, no trip would be complete without a visit to Spin City!

Louise McDonald of Spin City at The Knitting & Stitching Show

Louise McDonald of Spin City

It was at The Knitting & Stitching 2015 that I first met Louise in person, and every show I’ve seen her at since then, her stall becomes yet more overflowing with fluffy, glittery delights.

Spin City at The Knitting & Stitching Show 2018

Spin City gradient batts

Spin City acrylic drop spindles at The knitting & Stitching Show 2018

Handmade acrylic drop spindles

Louise McDonald of Spin City at The Knitting & Stitching Show 2018

What a treat!

My selection is by no means an exhaustive list. I would love to hear your highlights and don’t forget to show off your swag!

PS: Thank you to my friend Nadia of Clear The Decks for the guest ticket, I can’t wait to hear how your class went!

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.

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