Monday, 24 November 2008

Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show 2008

Pretty much everyone who knows me, has had to put up with my giddiness over the last few weeks in the lead up to my trip up north to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. I have been giddy for two reasons, 1. I was going to visit my family for a slightly longer than normal visit, and 2. I was going for a day out with lovely crafty stuff.

I stayed with my brother Stephen and his lovely fiancée, Emma. She not only brings joy to my brother but shares my love of crafty pastimes. She enjoys more stitch based crafts and is currently starting on learning to quilt. Her forays into this particular craft make me want to have a go, as did the lovely fabrics at the show, but I know I do not have enough time and energy at the moment to stray from wool based activities.

Stephen and Emma made me feel very welcome and I had a very comfy bed, and my own personal companion during my stay.... Pumpkin.

Pumpkin is a very sweet cat, who seems to like feet for some reason. He kept me company throughout my visit in exchange for fuss and treats. In this picture, he is curled up on a gorgeous quilt, made for Emma by her incredibly talented mother, it has a tiger on it, which may be why Pumpkin is so fond of it. I wish I had taken a better photo of the quilt as it shows why I have been tempted to stray from the wool based path.

I had planned my big day out very carefully. I arrived on Thursday and rested on Friday before going to the show on Saturday. I had withdrawn some cash and my Dad had also given me my Christmas present, of cash, early (great timing Dad, thanks!!!) I had also arranged with my Mum to buy a magazine subscription if there was a good deal at the show. If there was I would take out the subscription and she was pay towards it when she saw me. Stephen and Emma also said they would get me something from the show if I wanted for Christmas. I was so pleased with all these offers of presents that I was sure that I wouldn't spend all the funds I withdrew from my bank account. I was so very very wrong!

I shall start at the end of the day with a picture of my haul. It is impressive isn't it. I'm very glad we had a wheelchair, not only for me to sit in, but also to hang all our goodies on while going round the show. Emma was a trouper shoving me round, as she is only little, and I am not. Mind you every time I got out the chair to stretch myself out a bit, she dived in for a sit down. There was a distinct lack of seating at the show, so I don't blame her in the slightest.

Here is the list of things that I bought:
  • Magazine subscription to Let's Knit Magazine, this came with £75 worth of goodies including pattern, project bag, yarn, beads and buttons etc. (this will be from my Mum, and from my Dad and his wife). The pink bag in the above photo is the bag full of stuff that I got from this deal.
  • Lovely aran type yarn in self striping wool that will felt from Riverside Spinning

  • Gorgeous shot silk fabric from Bombay Stores (I'm sure I will used this one day, but until then I will just take them out to look at occasionally). Sorry about the quality of the photo, but it gives you the general idea.

  • Beginners wet felting kit plus some more yummy wool tops to go with it.

  • I am enjoying fulling so much I really wanted to try needle and wet felting to incorporate these two techniques into the work I was producing. These starter kits were perfect to have a go and were only £5 each. This type of thing was all over the show and a great way of finding out if you get on with a new craft without having to shell out great quantities of money.
  • Some Shetland wool from Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool (this is coming in the post and I can't wait cos it's lovely)
  • Fancy yarns from Bee Bee Wools to make an interesting scarf for the Christmas pile and and also to make a shawl for Emma. She picked out the yarn and begged me to make it for her, so I couldn't refuse her after all she had done to get me to the show, now could I?
  • Several items for the Christmas present pile that I will not list in case their recipients are reading this.
  • Lantern Moon needle case from The Amore Group, which is my Christmas present from my brother and Emma, which I love but am not allowed until Christmas. Can you believe how harsh that is.... I thought they were joking.... but they weren't. (sobs).
Here is the list of things that I wanted that I didn't buy...
  • Wool from Biggan Design, (oh the colours!)
  • Tops from Black Hills Ltd, (so soft!)
  • Dye starter kit from DT Craft & Design, (I want to dye my own yarn one day)
  • Great sock wool from Web of Wool, (I have so much sock wool, and I have knit hardly any socks)
  • Shawl kit from Jamieson & Smith
  • Stuff bucket from Storage 4 Crafts, mainly because I have so much stuff and not enough places to put it.
  • Anything from Choices Embroidery because their kits and threads were amazing. It made me want to return to cross stitch again. I will definitely be going to their shop when I want to start stitching again.
  • Spinning starter kit from Knit 'n' Caboodle because spinning looks like fun.
And loads and loads of other lovely gorgeous stuff. The above are just the ones I can remember, and got details of. I have listed them so that I remember what I wanted when I have money again.

We also saw some fab displays of textiles and knitting from students. One of our favourite was Debbie Lyddon who is a textile artist. The item she was displaying was linen with threads cut out and frayed, then painted with acrylics. Very beautiful and interesting textures just made us gawp for ages. Definitely one of our favourites along with Joy Wardell who is a ceramic artist. Her ceramics are made from knitted forms then soaked in clay and fired. Her finished forms are matte and she also uses copper wire to give interesting colour during firing, rather than relying on glazing. Basically she produces the pieces that all potters who knit wish they had thought of first. I couldn't take any photos of these exhibits for copyright reasons. I suggest though, you keep your eyes open for their work in the future.

One of the things I had known about and looked forward to seeing was the Hyberbolic Crochet Reef. The link shows much better photos than mine but they give you a general idea. I love the idea of crafters around the world joining together to produce this amazing work of art. Pictures don't give you an idea of the scale of the project so when I got in front of the reef I was in awe of the amount of work put into it's production.

All the things I have listed in this blog were the things that jumped out and hit me, but I KNOW there were lots of gems that I didn't see. There was a sensory overload from the moment I arrived, until the last shattered minutes when I slumped over in my wheelchair as I was pushed towards the door. Everyone we met during the day, especially the Yarn Forward folks (I wish I was a good enough knitter to subscribe to your magazine) were lovely to us and seemed to be enjoying themselves almost as much as we were. Oh and I got a few compliments from strangers about my Frankenstein Bag. I was well chuffed as they say back in York. I was also glad I had taken such a large bag to in which to stick all the bits and bobs I collected on the way round

I have had some knitter friends tell me that the Harrogate Show is a little disappointing, and I can understand that point of view, if you are only interested in knitting. However as you know I am a Crafty Cripple and all crafts captivate me. I was in heaven wheeling around the stalls, flitting from glittery object towards silky threads. I could have spent so much money in this gorgeous place and I hope that the next time I go to such a wonderful show I have equally good company and slightly more cash!


  1. Wow, I'm so jealous !!! Sounds like the craft show was so worth the long trip there.Love all your purchases especially the self stripping wool, looks really yummy. I'd be interested in seeing how you go with the wet felting kit. Would like to have ago at that myself one day.
    Cheers Lee

  2. Sounds like you had a great time at the show and came home with lots of goodies. How fun.


  3. wow... what a great haul! sounds like you had a great time!

    dont you just hate it... when you covet another craft but know you have too many other wips going on?

    (i found your blog via ravelry blog train!)


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