A Peek at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London 2015

A Peek at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London 2015

Our guest artist/author/photographer today is Leonor Calaca from Felt Buddies.

If you’re in Europe and a fibre aficionado, you’ve probably heard of the Knitting & Stitching Show. It happens in a few different locations and dates in the UK, and is probably the largest fabric/fibre event in Europe when hosted in Alexandra Palace here in London.

As it happens, the Alexandra Palace (or Ally Pally as it’s also known) is only 45 minutes away, on foot, from my place; as it happens as well, I’ve been volunteering for the past two years as a member of the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, to work a few hours a day at a booth that serves as a hub for all such UK guilds. Not because I’m such a wonderful and helpful person, mind you, but because this means I get a free pass to come and go anytime during those 5 days (and, at £16 for entry only, I think it’s well worth my time).

Last year I got all mesmerised by the fibres and materials I saw, and almost went bankrupt. This year I decided to be good,  more sensible and buy only the things I absolutely needed, which worked to an extent. I also decided to focus more on my energy on the really good exhibitions, and that’s what I’m going to write about.

Let’s start with an embroidery. How lovely and detailed is that?

Photo 1

Art wasn’t just in 2D, the sculptures were very interesting as well.

Photo 2

A glass and wool sculpture by Helen Pailing. She aims to use remnants from the glass and wool industry and incorporate them in a way that makes them not only art, but something you can keep instead of take to a landfill.

Photo 3

The Wishing Tree by Eileen McNulty. Just look at those little details.

Photo 4

I don’t know the author of this one, but here is ‘Palace,’ made with cocoon stripping paper and silk organza. The theme of this booth was vessels.

Photo 5

Elena Thomson embroidered a sieve. Would you have thought of that? I think this would be wonderful to confuse old ladies.

Photo 6

‘Stumpwork’ by Alana Chenevix-Trench.

Photo 7

And a lovely sheep by Margarita O’Byrne.

Photo 8

Then I went to Studio Art Quilt’s Associates (SAQA) booth that just blew my mind. I had no idea these detailed works of art could be made in that technique. The theme was Food For Thought and this is ‘Mushroom Frittata’ by Jean Sredi.

Photo 9

‘Pepitas’ by Vicky Bahnhoff.

Photo 10

‘Yum! Pineapple Upside Down Cake’ by Diane Powers-Harris. Yes, this is still a quilt.

Photo 11

‘Il Mercato’ by Jeannie Moore

Photo 12

‘Elegant Edibles’ by Jennifer Day.

Photo 13

Who doesn’t love dolls?

Photo 14

This one was my favourite: what a grumpy face.

Photo 15

These two sculptures surprised me, as they’re made from a traditional paper folding technique native to the Philippines.

Photo 16 Photo 17

And I saved the best for last: a fishmongers called Kate’s Plaice! Everything you see here is either knitted or sewn, and the details just make it extraordinary.

Photo 18 Photo 19 Photo 20


The artist herself.

Photo 21

Did you go to the K&S? What caught your eye? And am I going mad for taking more time to look at art instead of yummy yarn?

Thank you Leonor for taking us on this great fibre adventure!

22 thoughts on “A Peek at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London 2015

  1. Absolutely amazing work, thanks for sharing – those knitted shrimps & octopus!! For those who don’t know & want to see the crazy detail – click on the photo, then draw your mouse over the photo & you’ll get a plus sign – click & the picture will go *huge* – fantastic!

  2. Thanks for this Leonor! I love the quilt art, the textures and details are amazing. Was there anything people were allowed to touch? I really confused people when I did makefest because I had a table of felt with a big sign saying ‘Please touch the felt’, it was worth the extra effort of making, to see their faces from touching a stiff hat or placemat to felt made from camel.

    1. Isn’t it just amazing how much textile art there is in the world? Unfortunately, this year I didn’t see anything that was touchable, but last year’s exhibits did have one item that said “Please Touch,” and I did – a rare treat since this was a teddy bear skull sculpture by one of my favourite artists!

  3. Thank you very much for sharing! I’ll be at the IFA stand next week at Knitting&Stitching show in Harrogate, it will be interesting to compare…

  4. Thanks for giving us a peek into the fabulous UK fiber/stitch show. There is some amazing work going on there!

  5. Fantastic show and fabulous pics to show us these wonderful details! Thanks for sharing this virtual tour.

  6. Thank you for the photos Leonor! Annie and I didn’t go to Ally Pally this year as the journey is a real work-up, especially the traffic jam coming out of London at the end of the day. We like the exhibitions best and we always spend way too much money in the hall with all the goodies.

    1. You’re welcome, Lyn! If you go to next year’s, let me know – I might be volunteering again with my guild 🙂
      The exhibitions are indeed amazing, and worth the visit just for them – however, I know what you mean, I get so tempted by all the fibre as well!

  7. I am so jealous. I would love to volunteer there. I have never been to the show but would absolutely love to go at some point. Just have to get across the pond 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and I would spend more time at the exhibits I think because I really love to see the beauty and creativity that you’ve highlighted here.

    1. Thanks, Ruth! It is indeed a fun event, but you have so many in your neck of the woods, I’m the one who needs to be jealous! Maryland Sheep and Wool, for example 🙂

      If you ever come by, let me know and I’ll show you all the local fibre shops – so you can comment on how much more expensive things are in the UK :p

  8. Thanks for sharing all that Leonor. I love the K&S, though I usually go to the Harrogate event as it’s not too far from here, not quite as big as Ally Pally, but still amazing.
    Not sure I’ll be able to go this year, but It’s at the Harrogate International Centre 26 – 29 November if any Northeners are interested.
    Recommended – leave the ‘plastic’ at home!!! 😉

    1. Thanks for reading 😀 K&S is indeed amazing, although I’ll say, from a seller’s perspective, it’s often very tiring and expensive. I didn’t see many of the independent sellers that were there last year, and that makes me sad.

      I wish I could go to the Harrogate one, any excuse to see fibre is great for me 😀 And yes, leave the plastic (and linen) at home to avoid temptations 😉

  9. What a great looking show so many interesting exhibits. If I ever win that lottery I will travel to some of theses great shows. You have to remember that for us on this side of the pond it is almost as far to some of our shows for us as it would be to go across Europe to one for you.

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