Sunday, 22 November 2009

Knit and Stitch Show

Here we are, back on track once more. I had a great day out at Harrogate yesterday, the Knit and Stitch Show was very popular judging by the crowds that came pouring in from the many coaches arriving. I got there at just gone eleven, after abandoning my car in a side street on the outskirts of town and hopping on a bus.

I declined the invitation to buy a £3 brochure after parting with my £11 entrance fee, and waded into the crowds elbowing for space to view the goodies on offer. Of course without a floor plan the only way I could make sure I saw it all was to methodically walk up and down every aisle. My reason for going there was to search for new ideas to inspire me, but after an hour or so of seeing nothing but trade stands flogging their wares, I wondered if I had wasted my time. It was ok if you wanted to buy fabric, wool, and crafting materials, or spend £250 on a machine that punches six holes in fabric over and over again.

I sat down next to a lady who was supposed to be giving knitting lessons, and tucked into my sandwiches. I think she was happy just to chat with me. Nearby was a full size boat which had been covered in knitting, including all the bits and pieces you would associate with it, all knitted.

For the life of me I cannot understand why women take so long to go to the toilet, for goodness sake, don't they faff about! There were long queues, 99% of visitors were women so it was to be expected. Eventually some bright spark came up with the good idea of sticking a sign up on the door of the Gents, immediately turning it into a Ladies, but not before I had already been in there to miss the queue, I don't faff around, in and out in a jiffy, ha ha.

In the next hall I found what I had come to see, the exhibition side of the show. This was better, a gallery of artists showing their work. I had a chat to a very talented lady, Jill Flower, she is a textile artist who stitches paper and adds beads and buttons. Her work is stunning. It is difficult to explain and you need to see it close up to appreciate the hours she puts into it. I didn't take any photographs because they wouldn't have done it justice, but I urge you to look at her web site.

Most of the exhibits had 'No Photography', notices close by, but I did ask permission to take these. Backpack, boots, flask, and sandwiches, all knitted.

A knitted dustbin with it's contents spilling out.

As you know I am more interested in making things out of rubbish, the world is awash with the stuff, there really is no need to to buy your crafting materials. There seemed to be a frenzy of activity around the trade stands so I had a quick look to see if I should treat myself to something. I have to say there was nothing that caught my eye. The only thing that did interest me was the huge wooden knitting needles, I thought I could perhaps rip up an old blanket and knit it into a rug. But then it crossed my mind that I could possibly make the knitting needles out of an old broom handle I have in the shed. So I didn't buy a thing.

The quilts were fabulous, I would never have the patience to take on such a huge project. One exhibit that was very powerful which sticks in my mind was part of a display of the deterioration of the human body after death. Centre piece was Jesus on the cross, resembling nothing more than a skeleton draped with fragments of cloth. On the opposite wall was twelve rough pieces of wood, about 6" x 12", set vertically. Nailed on each one was a glove which look as old as if they had been on the hand of Christ. They had been torn to shreds but were still obviously gloves, and treated with some kind of plaster and resin. A very powerful image.

The last two photo's I took are clever ideas with rubbish. Someone drank a lot of Guiness to make this wall hanging. Each aluminium can has been painstakingly cut up and stitched together onto a fabric backing. It's about the size of a single bed sheet. An idea I might try, smaller version of course.

This picture is made out of woven, knitted, and crochet, plastic carrier bags. The more I view artwork, the more I realise I have to move further outside the box. Each one of the exhibits have their written signs next to them explaining the artists thinking when they create them. More often than not the jargon means nothing to me, I am drawn to certain pieces only because I like the look of them. Getting inside someones head is one of the most complex activities ever, I wonder if I should even bother to try, or am I missing out on the true enjoyment of art. Oh, I almost forgot, I met another Ilona, she was selling beads. They are coming thick and fast now.


  1. It was interesting to read your feedback on the show. You must be the only person who spent less than me (I splashed out £1 on a reel of thread). I agree that the displays were the best bit.

  2. I would love to go to a show like this, but I hate crowds so will probably never go :o( Your post about the toilets cracked me up.

  3. £1 for a reel of thread, Lindsey! My goodness that was a bit extravagant. I bought a bag of 43 reels from a charity shop for £1.50 a couple of weeks ago. Yes, the artists exhibition was best, I thought the students work on the college stands was excellent, some wonderfull up and coming talent there.

    I hate crowds as well, Sharon, I would have preferred to go on a week day. I even worried that I might brush by someone with swine flu, shock horror :-0

  4. I got a laugh from the Guiness-can quilt. The quilt pattern is called "Drunkards Path". =)


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