Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show 2015

From the end of September to the end of November the calendar in my kitchen has three very big red rings around three important dates. Yarndale at the end of September, the Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 at Alexandra Palace in London and the same show but at the International Centre in Harrogate.

This last weekend was Knitting and Stitching 2015 at Alexandra Palace – often called by its nick name Ally Pally – and I was lucky enough to be able to travel down just for the day on the Sunday.

From Kings Cross, its a 15 minute train journey back up the line to Alexandra Palace Station from which a big red shuttle bus runs up to the Palace every few minutes. If you fancy a walk, its a brisk mile uphill through a very lovely part of north London. You wouldn’t really know you were in the capital at all. The road passes along through parkland with walkways, lots of trees and there’s even a boating lake and ice rink. As you near the top of the hill where the Palace sits, the view across to central London is quite something.

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 approach to Ally Pally

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 hazy view over London

It was a lovely sunny day but still quite hazy even though it was not too far off 11 o’clock when I left the station. Alexandra Palace is on top of a hill as you can see with the view. The transmission mast, left from the days when the BBC leased part of the palace for their broadcasts still towers above one side. This is where the first ever television broadcasts by the BBC were made in 1936 and it was used to transmit the news until 1956.

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 the old TV mast

Poor old Ally Pally has had a bit of a hard life, coming back to life after two serious fires in its history and the boards outside were full of the appeal to raise the last million pounds to finish its refurb. But the entrance is still impressive and it makes a great venue for the Knitting and Stitching show.

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 Ally Pally Palm Court Entrance

Once inside there are two large exhibition spaces absolutely crammed with stalls selling so many essential items if you are into crafting. Crochet was not too much in evidence but there were many different stands selling yarn. The Stylecraft stand was next to their sister Yarn Stories, which produces lovely soft 100% wool yarn. This was a very busy part of the show and I was so pleased to see my rainbow tote bag on display with all the other things made with the new limited edition pack of Stylecraft Special DK, which was on sale there for the first time at £11.00. I couldn’t take a photo once I was in the middle – no elbow room!

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 Stylecraft

Other stands had indie hand dyed yarns and even reclaimed silk saris. Many had gorgeous garments made from the yarns on offer, with patterns, as kits or you could buy the hand made item. These were incredibly pricey but obviously reflect the amount of time that has gone into making them as well as the high cost of the yarns. I don’t know what the items in these photos retailed at but I did see a child’s jumper for sale at £75. These prices contrast so much with the high street prices for mass produced ‘knitted’ goods and this has left me pondering. People who try to make a living from making knitted and crocheted clothes, blankets and other items have an uphill struggle to get a fair price for what they do, but as a buyer, I would have a hard time justifying spending that kind of money. It makes me keep thinking again about making some crocheted garments…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 yarn and knitted goods

The colour displays on many of the stands were amazing…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 glorious yarn colours

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 glorious yarn colours 2

And the sari silks…. they inspired me yet again to get on with processing the three saris that I bought last year and using them in a crochet project…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 sari silks

Extreme knitting with giant needles and really chunky yarn was also everywhere. I think there were at least four different companies now doing kits like this one…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 extreme knitting

The stitchers attending the show had plenty to go at with all the major sewing machine manufacturers represented and some machines that even I drooled over. I saw one machine doing lovely embroidery all by itself – just program it, put the material in and the thread and away it goes! Which isn’t really in the spirit of making things by hand though, I thought anyway. The good thing about the stands was that they had lots of space and it was possible to sit down and try out the machines. I don’t think there was a lot of hard sell going on – spending several hundred pounds on a  new machine is something that needs a lot of thought and the people on the stands seemed to recognise this and were still enthusiastically doing demos even thought by the Sunday lunchtime, they had been there for five days.

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 sewing machines

Quite a few stands were running low on supplies – even the needles were selling out. I was elbow jostled here, so a bit blurry…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 depleted needles

The show did get very busy after about 12.30pm but from the comments of a lot of the people on stands, this was nothing to the Saturday when it was really crazy. The slow show shuffle happened a lot, just moving along an aisle with so many other people looking at the stalls on either side. This makes shows very tiring and it makes it very difficult to see everything. At least Ally Pally has a wonderful high ceiling to make things a lot more airy and less claustrophobic.

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 crowds and ceiling

Cross stitchers, quilters and even jewellery makers and beaders had plenty to look at, although judging by the bulging shopping bags, many there (like me) are interested in loads of different crafts and skills, making for a very high temptation factor…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 quilting

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 sewing threads

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 fat quarters

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 cross stitching

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 vintage fabrics

I think I only found one stand that was more aimed at crochet – crochet animals as toys. The flamingo was amazing…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 crochet toys

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 crochet flamingo

About half of one of the halls was dedicated to art exhibits with some gorgeous work on display. Sadly with No photography signs much in evidence, which is a big shame. I know people are worried about their ideas and images being ripped off but they also stunt any publicity and interest from blogs. I did sneak a quick photo of this one as I thought the silk panels were so lovely…

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 silk panels

I was actually very restrained as I had bought quite a bit at Yarndale. I managed to get a Yarn Stories shade card and a free gift of quilting templates and to chat to people on the Deramores stand and the Stylecraft stand. To be honest, the only yarn I really fell in love with was some of the new Carnival yarn by Stylecraft and my purchase there was foiled by the lovely Annabelle on the stand who insisted I could have the yarn as a present for taking part in the blog tour. Can’t wait to start making a new project with it and sharing it with you soon.

So that was the end of my visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 and a very happy me headed out and back down the hill to go home taking just a couple more photos of that stunning view in the much clearer afternoon.

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 clear view

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 1 clear view