lizetta loves

The Stitch festival

I wasn’t going to go to the stitch festival on Sunday. I’d had it pencilled in the diary for a while, having really enjoyed it when I went last year, and I was looking forward to surrounding myself with fellow crafters. But I was exhausted at the end of the week and with a busy Saturday I felt I could do with some down time at home, so I decided I wasn’t going to go.

I got FOMO though. As I scrolled through Instagram on Friday and Saturday I saw so many posts about it, I feared I’d regret it if I didn’t go. I decided I wouldn’t spend any money though, afterall I don’t need any more craft supplies. It also meant I’d get to see of my fellow Cheeky Stitchers who, someone later pointed out, I hadn’t seen since we went to the show last year. I couldn’t believe that was true but it’s highly possible – it felt like the last show was only a few months ago rather than a year ago, and I know I’ve primarily been stitching at home rather than out and about with others, something I’ve really been missing.

It meant an early (for me) start as I wanted to get there before it got too busy. Last year I really struggled with the crowds. That was on a Saturday though so I hoped Sunday would be calmer.

10 years of Katie Jones

As I changed buses at Farringdon I immediately spotted a couple of people who I correctly guessed were heading there. As I wandered down Upper Street in the hunt for some breakfast before going in, the crowds of crafters heading towards to Business Design Centre reminded me that I was off to join my people and I’d made the right decision.

On arrival I was going to head straight upstairs, but got distracted by Katie Jones’ stand as she was celebrating 10 years of her colourful crochet business. As a new crochet addict I couldn’t resist buying her book for inspiration for my next colourful make – her designs are so fun. She signed the book for me too. Immediately doing well on the plan to not buy anything then.

Upstairs I was able to meet small business owners that I’ve followed online for a while, such as The Pigeons Nest, who I have to thank for helping me get the hang of crochet, and Kate Blandford who makes the cutest cross stitch accessories. I also got to say hello to Emma of The Makers Marks, and get the low down on her second needlepoint book, and Niamh of Wimperis Embrodiery, her Christmas embroidery kit still waiting for me to build up the courage to start. There were a heap of new to me makers showing their wares too, plenty of items to add to my future crafting wishlist.

I headed to the gallery for a sit down and a natter with my stitch buddies. I opted not to bring anything to stitch as I didn’t want to spend the whole day at the show, but it’s always lovely catching up and seeing what everyone else is stitching.

We were sitting right by a display of art textiles curated by the Textile Curator which immediately caught my eye. Having followed the work of Sarah Gwyer and Alicja Kozlowska online for a while it was great to see their stunning work in person. Other work on display included Jordan Cunliffe’s scrabble series made with beads (her book about using data in textile art has gone straight on my wishlist) and fantastic stitched self portraits by Jenni Dutton. So much inspiration in one small space.

Generally I loved seeing the colours and textures for the threads, yarns and fabrics on sale. I wanted to buy so much and whilst I didn’t manage to completely resist temptation I did restrain myself. I bought a collection of threads from Paint-Box Threads, which will be a beautiful palette for a future stitching project, and some end of line fabric from Lady McElroy even though I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.

It certainly got busy, but based on the photos I’d seen and what people were saying it was a lot quieter and more manageable than other days of the event. I kept seeing faces of people I recognised and thought I knew as I roamed the main hall downstairs. I quickly realised they were some of the contestants from last year’s Great British Sewing Bee, including the well deserved winner. It was great to see them all supporting each other in their crafting endeavours.

The show is definitely more focused on sewing than other stitching crafts but I found it a great source of inspiration for potential future projects and came away armed with a number of new suppliers for whatever craft I want to tackle next. This year was going to be the year I learned how to quilt but something tells me that’s been overtaken by crochet.

I do find these venues exhausting environments though. The lack of fresh air made me so glad when I walked outside to London’s not so fresh air, and it’s easy to walk far more than you realise. I was relieved when I sat down on the bus to head back south and onto part two of my Sunday adventure.

Will I go again next year? I don’t know. But considering the lack of quality craft shops and haberdasheries in London these days it is great knowing that once a year there is such an event when you can buy all the craft supplies you need to keep you going for a year or more.

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