London is starting to feel like a dim memory now although it's only 2 weeks ago. So I thought it was about time I shared my 'Ally Pally' haul. 'Ally Pally' is short for the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. The venue is amazing. Some very interesting architecture. I took some pics from the exhibition halls because Simon wanted to see how bit it was but you don't really get a sense of the size from these pictures. It really is HUGE!The stalls included a variety of textile and non-textile companies. There were lots of yarn companies, big and small, plus lots of sewing, cross stitch and other craft companies and there were some non-craft/stitching related companies selling things like bags, skin care, jewellery, sweets, some ironing thing (I didn't stop to look) and i heard that someone was selling floor mops although i didn't see that stall.
These pictures were taken mid afternoon when the crowds had thinned out a bit in the largest exhibition hall. When i arrived around 11am the aisles were full of people.
In addition to the main hall there were two smaller halls and as well as sales stalls there were fashion exhibitions and colleges and guilds promoting themselves too.
Here's my entire London haul, which wasn't all from the show as I visited London yarn shop, Loop, the day before the show. There was a bit of a red/purple thing going on in London.
Shilasdair sell gorgeous cashmere yarns and I got a cone of a purple cashmere blend (on the left) dk. It was cheaper to buy it on a cone than in a skein. I'm planning to knit a hat and maybe a cowl for Christmas in Norway. The other 3 cones are merino 2ply which I'll either use for machine knitting or lace knitting. I'm swatching with the red at the moment.
I got 2 skeins of pure Indian silk.And a little ball of textured silk from the Bangkok Loom Co.
I ran into Ruth and Belinda who are from Exeter so we're almost neighbours. They gave me a skein of their 'Light Kiss' sock yarn which is a blend of merino and silk and is actually the same base yarn as my Supreme Sock, but I didn't realise that till I got back to the hotel. I do like it in this undyed version though. Very pretty.
There were some American companies there I'd heard about but never seen in person before and one of them was the Buffalo Wool Company. This skein is a bison and silk blend and is very luxurious and soft. I quickly cast on for a little shawl but I've had to put it on hold to concentrate on a deadline sweater.
I got some non-yarn related items too. The Textile Garden had a stall and I always stock up on their buttons when I see them at shows. I just choose a selection of random buttons in colours i like. That way I always have a great button stash to choose from when I design. the fabric covered buttons are from 'House of Alistair'. He does amazing fabric covered buttons and other cute haberdashery items. I could have bought a lot more than I did.
And I couldn't resist buying this yarn themed Christmas cards. isn't it cute? All my knitting friends will be getting these yarny Christmas cards this year.
I've had dpn tubes before but they were getting a bit worn out so when I spotted these at Tall Yarns n Tales I jumped at the chance to replace them. They stop your dpns from poking through your knitting bag. I also got this cute pink crochet hook from a company called Tulip. Never seen these hooks before and they did a set of several sizes and I really wanted one but I decided it was better to buy a single hook to try out before I splashed out on a set.
The day before I visited the show I popped in to Loop which is a gorgeous yarn shop in Islington. The shop is full of temptation including some yarns which aren't easy to buy in the UK. I was trying to be good and save my pennies for the show but I gave in to a skein of Madelinetosh lace, I think it's Prairie in a lovely read colourway. I'm rather keen to knit with this soon.They had a great selection of Wollmeisse and I couldn't resist coming away with a couple of skeins of sock yarn. I havne't quite decided what to knit with these two but I guess it'll be a shawl of some sort. I did buy two colours that went together just in case i decide to do a two-colour shawl.
The worst thing is that I've been working on an urgent deadline for the last week so I've just got to ignore all these beautiful yarns. I daren't even wind them into balls because the temptation to cast on will be too much.
I did give in to temptation this afternoon though. But I'll tell you about that next time. Tomorrow I'm leaving for Oxford and on Saturday I'll be teaching at Purlescence near Oxford. By the way, next year I'll be teaching 'Steeking' at Purlescence. You can book your place here. This is my second visit to Oxfordshire in two weeks. It's quickly becoming a favourite part of Britain for me.
Do you want to learn to knit beautiful lace? Have you had a go at lace but found it difficult? Can you do basic lace knitting but want to take your skills to the next level? I'm teaching Easy Lace at Spin A Yarn on Tuesday next week and Lace Improvers in November. Want to join me? I'm teaching Easy Lace at the Yarn Cafe in Coventry on 1 December too. This is the last chance to catch one of my popular lace workshops this year.
Next week I'll share an amazing new yarn discovery with you and I promise there'll be more details on The Beads & Lace Collection.
Have a lovely weekend x