I was lucky enough to be invited to visit the Knitting and Stitching Show at the RDS this weekend. This annual event attracts thousands of craft-fanatics from all over the country who come to gorge on craft supplies, discover new products, network and learn new skills.
The venue is huge and stuffed to bursting point with stalls selling all kinds of supplies from scissors to stamps, beads to yarn, fabric to fleece, giant knitting needles and all kinds of kits to get you started on new addictions. There is also an exhibition area showcasing the best of Irish and international craftwork.
|Toy kits by Toft|
I brought my mama along with me as she had been before and really enjoyed it. She is a fantastic knitter - making mostly toys and beautiful outfits for her grandchildren - but she has turned her hand to many other crafts in her time and loves to discover new things to try. She also knew that, with a crafty family like ours she might get a bit of Christmas shopping done too!
|Detail from the Cinque Terre Project's The Fiber Lands|
Unfortunately, I was on a tight budget as we've had a lot of expenses lately (think births, deaths and marriages... literally...) but luckily what I was looking for was going to be small and inexpensive anyway. I so enjoyed making the Miniature Dollhouse as part of the Parcel Hero/Oxfam Advent Calendar* project, and found it so hard to part with, that I'm already planning on making another one. I have it in mind to make a Christmas scene in a larger box and use it as an interactive decoration year after year. With that in mind, I was keeping an eye out for tiny charms, fancy papers, pretty buttons and any other bits and bobs I thought might work.
I scored some wooden beads for doll heads, a tiny cup, dice and key, some lovely 'wall papers', gorgeous miniature apothecary bottles... that might not be suitable for a Christmas scene but that I'm sure I'll find a use for at some stage... and some little wooden horse buttons.
Mama chose some gorgeously soft alpaca wool, a wooden block carved like an oak tree and some fabric paint for printing and lots more stuff, including a gift or two for a few lucky family members including MEEEE!
We both really enjoyed the exhibits too. The highlights for me were Kate Jenkins' The Stitchmongers, Stella Harding's weaving and basically ALL of the quilts - which were unbelievable works of art. I also adored the Royal School of Needlework's exhibit and the stunning, asian-inspired embroidery work of creative duo Nikki Delport-Weppener and Lesley Turpin-Delport.
I'm slightly kicking myself for not enrolling in one of the many classes run in the Learning Curve section of the show... but at least that will give me an excuse to go back next year!
There was inspiration to be found everywhere you looked and my brain is buzzing with ideas for things I'd like to make over the next few months. I think the Knitting & Stitching Show has fast become an absolute must on my annual calendar.
I'm looking forward to K&S 2016 already!
*The auction for the advent calendar starts tomorrow - November 16th - I'll share the link on my social media channels as soon as I get my hands on it!
Disclosure: I was given two complimentary tickets in return for a review of the K&S Show at the RDS. All opinions are my own and I was not paid to give them.