If you’ve not been before, The Knitting and Stitching Show is an annual event that brings together all kinds of makers under one roof.
Held at The Alexandra Palace in London, it’s like a festival for craft. You can find workshops, showcases and the biggest thing - stalls, selling both raw materials and beautiful handmade goods, for anything from cross stitch, to leather work.
This year was my first visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard mixed reviews - some people return year after year, leaving with bags and bags of goodies, some people say there’s too much variety and that it would be better to split the show into smaller, craft-based events.
I was so lucky to have won my ticket in an Instagram competition from Beyond Measure UK, so I didn’t have to pay the entrance fare. I believe the normal price is about £15-£25. However, getting into London does cost a little, so I was happy to save money on the ticket price. While I’m based in the south, it still takes a bus, a train and a good few tubes to get to the show, so I was hoping that it would be worth the trip - especially at 6 months pregnant. (It takes a little longer to waddle around right now!)
So here’s what I thought of the Knitting and Stitching Show…
I really liked the amount of different stalls I saw at the show. While I might not be into all the crafts myself, it’s always fun to have a look at the materials other crafters use and see other artists’ work on display. I personally only went there for the knitting and sewing bits and bobs, but I had a particular love for the cross stitching stalls too.
When it came to knitting and sewing, there was a lot to take in. Many of the big names in pattern design and fabric sales were there, including Sew Over It, Atelier Brunette and Tilly and the Buttons, which was really great. I also enjoyed taking a look around the Stoff and Stil store, where I ended up buying a few goodies.
The only downside in terms of variety was the amount of hand dyed yarn available. I know that the Knitting and Stitching Show isn’t a dedicated event for knitters, so I shouldn’t have been disappointed, but I think I was hoping to see some of the indie dyers I’ve been following on Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few - The Loveliest Yarn Company was there, as were Qing Fibre and Laine Amouree, however, I would have loved to see a few more dyers and their products.
I did feel like I got some good bargains at the show. I mean, most of these savings are from the fact I didn’t need to pay £4 in postage for each different thing, but even so I picked up a few savings.
Stoff and Stil were selling a lot of pre-cut fabric in bundles, which worked out cheaper than their online prices, and they were also doing a lot of free patterns for knitting and sewing products. I picked up some lovely remnants which I’m going to use to make some bits and bobs for the baby.
I believe that on the last day, many of the stalls had some extra savings going on, so maybe it might have been good to hit up the show then too.
I went to the show on the first day it opened, which was a Thursday and although I was expecting it to be fairly busy, I was not expecting anything near as hectic as it turned out to be.
It seemed logical to me that the weekend would be the most busy, what with it being the days people have off work, but apparently not. The day started off fairly calm, but by around 1pm, I was getting massively claustrophobic and getting very tired of being elbowed out of the way. It was very difficult to even get to some of the stands to have a look, let alone ask a question. Especially as a pregnant person, it didn’t feel like a good place to be, so I left about 2pm. I don’t know how this experience compares to anyone else who went on a different day - let me know how you found it.
What I bought:
Overall, I think I was pretty restrained with my purchases. There was a lot I liked and could have bought home with me, and there was some gorgeous fabric I could see myself loving, however, I’m trying not to make too many garments while I’m still pregnant, as I want to be able to wear them for years to come. That’s why I settled for a few purchases that I know I’ll use.
One was a lovely skein of mohair lace from New Forest Mohair, that I think would pair really well with some baby alpaca yarn I already have, to make a Kobuk Hat from Caitlin Hunter. I also bought some Soak wool wash, as I’d just run out, some lovely little snips from Merchant and Mills at the Beyond Measure booth, and some cute jersey knits to make something for the baby.
Overall, I’m glad I had the opportunity to go to the show and I am so pleased with the things I bought home with me. As I don’t have a great amount of knitting and sewing shops near me, it was great to be able to just get up close and personal with some of the products I normally only ever see online - seeing them in the flesh and being able to actually feel them makes a huge difference.
Would I recommend going to the show? Yes, if you don’t live too far away I think I would, but I do have some tips for you:
Bring your own lunch and a drink with you. Food and drink is so expensive and the queues wrap around the building. You’re lucky to get a seat anywhere to actually eat your £10 sandwich too.
After my experience of attending the first day of the show, I’d recommend going on the second day - it was just so busy on the Thursday.
Come with a shopping list, it can get massively overwhelming once you’re at the show and it’s easy to get distracted by the sheer amount of lovely things on offer.
If you’re not the planning type and don’t want to make a shopping list, it might be helpful to set yourself a bit of a budget. I set myself a budget and took that amount of cash with me.
Get there as early as you can. As it seemed to get more and more busy throughout the afternoon, I wish I had been able to get there as soon as the doors opened.
Let me know what you thought of the show and if you have any tips to add to the list. I’d also love to hear your recommendations for any other events you love around the UK.