Catching Up – The Stitch Festival

It seems like a lifetime ago, but on the 1st March, we went to the Stitch Festival. I remember joking at the time that we would be surrounded by 100’s of people and we should watch out for people who were coughing. Now it doesn’t seem so funny.

But let’s think back to those happier times, so I can share with how wonderful it was!

We’d bought the tickets ages ago, even splashing out for VIP tickets so we could have somewhere nice to go for lunch. This, by the way, is a brilliant idea! Not only did we get a gift bag with all sorts of crafty things in and priority entrance we also had a nice room to escape to when it got really busy. It was more than worth the extra cost! And I will definitely do it again next time. The VIP lounge was lovely and quiet and had comfy chairs, something my fragile back was very grateful for!

We went on the last day of the show, so it was very busy and lots of the stalls were running low on supplies. However, I did manage to find the stalls I wanted to see.

Top of my list was Ernest Wright, as I wanted to look at their dressmaking scissors. The guys running the stall were very knowledgeable (and hilarious). My boyfriend spent an enjoyable time chatting manufacturing and F1 with them. Meanwhile, I checked out the dressmaking scissors. I can confirm they are as amazing as I’d been led to believe and I bought a pair of 8.25″ dressmaking shears.

We also stopped by lots of stalls that caught my eye. Like Paintbox Threads who had a gorgeous range of embroidery threads (a set of which has also been purchased, probably now for some quarantine crafting!)

Knowing how easy it is to spend lots of money on things that just end up in a cupboard, I was careful. I had a specific budget and I had planned what I wanted to try and get. Looking back now, I managed to get the materials for quite a few complete projects – perfect for the situation I now find myself in.

A quick summary of the project supplies I picked up (you may see these appearing in future posts):

Fabric and stretchy binding to make a t-shirt for a soon to be 2 year old.

A patchwork cushion kit (disclaimer: I hadn’t done any patchwork before, so I didn’t know if I was going to like it – but I did!) from Daisy & Grace.

Embroidery thread from PaintBox Threads (I already have a pattern I want to do with these).

A pencil case pattern from Beyond Measure (it uses Fat Quarters, and I seem to have quite a few of those in the stash).

Will I go back to the Stitch Festival next year? Absolutely yes! If it’s on that is.

But for now, I will continue staying home and staying safe – while getting on with my quarantine crafting.

Last weekend I intended to make my Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It, using the fabric I bought from Girl Charlee at the Knitting & Stitching show. But my beloved 1940s zigzag machine stopped working.

The needle wouldn’t move when the foot pedal was pressed. I tried everything, checking the wheel at the end was tight, looking inside at all the parts. But I couldn’t get it to work. I had been contemplating buying a more modern machine for a while, and this seemed like a sign that now was the time.

I happened to be going to Oxford Street on Sunday, so I popped into John Lewis to see what sewing machines they had.

I quite liked the Brother JK4000, but I wasn’t sure how heavy it was going to be (ironic when you consider I’ve been using vintage cast iron machines for the last few years).

There was also the Janome 5030, but as there wasn’t anyone around who could demo the machines to me I didn’t feel that I could make an objective decision.

Then I remembered the machines I had used in the Sew Over It course I went on last year. After checking which ones they were, I did a bit of online price comparison and purchased one.

So here is my lovely new Janome CXL301. I’m still setting it up, but I’m hoping to sew together the dress pieces have had ready for a machine that actually works.

Today I went to Olympia (via non-working trains, torrential rain and wind that wouldn’t let my umbrella stay the right way round) to visit the Knitting & Stitching Show. The last time I went I felt very overwhelmed by the variety of stalls on offer, so this time I went with a plan and a better budget!

I wanted to visit Sew Over It to see if I could get their new skirt pattern, or pick up the wrap dress pattern. I also wanted to try and get some fabric to go with the pattern I picked up. Lastly, I wanted to try and pick up some yarn for a secret project.

As I predicted there were so many stalls with all kinds of things.

There was the most amazing ribbon stall called Crafty Ribbons. I picked up some 1m ribbon, I plan on turning them into lanyards (once I get some bag clasps).

I managed to pick up the yarn for my secret project from Debonnaire (no picture of specific yarn, just in case a certain person is reading this!)

I found Sew Over It and bought the pattern for the wrap dress and so popped to the Girl Charlee stall (they are lovely by the way) to get some jersey for the dress.

Finally while browsing the numerous knitting stalls, I found a stall that specialized in Knit Pro needles. I bought my set of interchangeable Nova needles many years ago. The bag they came in has split, and much though I love them they are very ‘boring’  (I feel very middle class saying this!). I spotted the new(ish) Zing interchangeable and fell in love. Fortunately, I had enough left in my budget so I bought myself a new set of needle tips.

It was a fantastic day and I now have several projects to keep myself busy with. If you get the chance to go the Knitting & Stitching Show then I would recommend going in the morning. It seems to get busier around lunchtime, by which time I was done and ready to go home.

Today my daughter and I trekked off to Kings College London to visit Yarnporium. We had been looking forward to this ever since my sister mentioned she would be volunteering at it.

Here she is in her fantastic volunteer’s shirt having just finished an 8-hour shift!

We went round all the stalls and there was so much lovely yarn to touch/fondle and quite a lot of it made it into my bag to come home (after being paid for, obviously!).

One of my favourite indie dyers, Easy Knits, was there with their beautiful vibrant yarn.

There was a stall selling Blue Heron yarn which has to be the most luxurious, sparkly yarn I have ever seen! It was £48 a skein, which was a little too expensive for an impulse purchase. I will have to do some careful project planning and saving before purchasing some.

I don’t think this photo does it justice but looks how much it twinkles!

There were stalls selling other things as well, including buttons. I picked up 2 sets to go on shirts.

There were also plenty of notions. I found these really cute darning needles and stitch marker sets.

All in all, it was a fantastic afternoon out, now I have yarn to make hats and gloves – which is perfect as the weather has definitely started to get a lot colder. When the lighting is better (it’s dark out at the moment) then I will take some pictures of my purchases. But for now, I’m off to go and wind some yarn into a ball to start making a hat!

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