The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace this year was amazing! There was such a variety of exhibits from the totally traditional to the zaniest abstract.
With an extra day added to see everything, it was wonderful to spend time on the Wednesday just browsing through all the galleries and admiring all the displays.
I was disappointed that the winning quilts from Festival of Quilts in Birmingham were not there this time round, but the fabric kitchen, felt dresses and knitwear were fascinating – even to a dyed-in-the-wool quilter like me!
My favourite exhibit was a wall hanging by Jo Beattie – a portrait for an elderly lady called “Aggie” – she sat in her pale blue dress on a chair all stitched on a background of organza. As the piece was about half a metre from the white wall you could see the shadows of the stitching fall on the backdrop and I was astounded when I saw what looked like a faded old black and white photograph of this wonderful subject. Jo also encloses her stitching in resin and I really admired some of those studies too. See more on her website. http://www.jobeattie.com
After all that inspiration it was time to shop, so off I went to see what the traders had to offer. Fabrics galore, wool by the bucketful and threads for every occasion were all available and it was difficult keeping the purse strings from emptying the coffers entirely. I succumbed to some lovely African batiks as I had a bag project in mind for them.
The fashion show was a must for a sit down and a chance to see what our up and coming designers are doing, so I whiled away a very pleasant half hour there.
After a chat to Stuart Hillard who was entertaining some young visitors who had come all the way from France to see the show, during a brief respite from signing copies of his new book, it was time to find the restaurant, a well earned lunch and a chance to talk to some of the other visitors to the show.
When I reached the Bernina stand, it was very busy with people being tempted by the wonderful array of machines on offer.
Jane Thorne, our Sewing Consultant from Gloucester, was demonstrating the Circular Tool as I went past, so I stopped to look. On the wall were lots of examples of what could be done with various different feet too, so I just had to take some photos. Jane had made lots of little bags and each one had a label telling you which foot had been used to create the effect on the front. They would make wonderful presents and I couldn’t wait to order the presser feet I needed to make some just like those on show!
I made this little video while Jane was demonstrating the tool.
This will give you the basic idea of how it works, but you can see a more professional one made by Bernina here:
You can see the possibilities in the Bernina video and let your imagination run riot as you watch the techniques and savour the patterns created by the decorative stitches.
Just look what you can do with the No. 10 foot too!
All too soon it was time to leave and after collecting all my goodies from The Quilters’ Guild stand where I was due to represent our wonderful craft on Sunday, I headed for home, happily dreaming of all the projects that would fill the coming cold winter days!
Jan Allston October 2014.