Tag Archives: knitting and stitching show

The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Last week passed by in a bit of a blur at Alexandra Palace. It was the annual Knitting and Stitching show which is a huge gathering of all things textile related spread over a massive 5 days and the whole of Alexandra Palace. I was there with a stand for MIY Collection and taught 3 sell out workshops.

I always find the run up to the show a bit fraught and full of worrying about the design of my stand, organising stock to take and planning my workshops (not to mention making sure everything will continue to run smoothly at MIY Workshop and the MIY Collection online shop while I’m away)!

However, once I’m there and everything’s set up I do enjoy it. Here’s a flavour of the show:


Here’s my stand this year and even if I do say so myself I think it was my best yet!


Yours truly in action on the stand. Who knows what I’m saying but I seem to have them hanging on my every word!

It’s a great opportunity to meet dressmakers from around the country and talk to them about my patterns and book, lots of whom follow me online so it’s doubly lovely to be able to meet them in person.


I was really lucky this year to have some help on the stand for a few of the days from Rebecca Eaton of Rebecca Jane who is going to be doing some bag-making workshops at MIY Workshop and the always lovely and smiley Emma of Dressmaker’s Social who was an absolute star and helped me out for the busiest 2 days on Friday and Saturday. She also drove us to the launch of The Foldline at Sew Over It in Islington; a super bit of sewing networking crammed into 90 mins. If you haven’t checked out The Foldline yet, have a look; founders Kate and Rachel have worked really hard on launching it and they’re promising it will become the Facebook for the sewing community. Let’s hope so as the sewing community has been lagging behind the knitting community on this.

Thanks to the very witty (see badges above….!) Emma of Dressmaker’s Social, I was also able to take some time away from my stand to go and chat to people who I’m normally only able to chat to online, this time I caught up with Grace of Beyond Measure UK (beautiful tools and accessories for makers), Amy aka Almond Rock Sews and editor of Love Sewing magazine, Pam and Simon of Ernest Wright & Son (the best scissors traditionally made in Sheffield), Tina of Tina Francis Tapestry (tapestry kits and patterns), Jules of Sew Me Something (sewing patterns, fabrics, yarns), Wendy Dolan with her super new machine embroidery book, Kim Thittichai on the Vilene stand, Elizabeth Betts editor of Popular Patchwork, Carolyn Clark professional long arm quilter,  and Sara Cook who was doing her first spot of teaching at the show.


I also met Sophia the flamingo on the Toft Alpaca stand and wanted to take her home with me!

Excitingly I launched a few new products at this year’s show, some of which are now available from the MIY Collection online shop, but more on that in one of my next posts.

I’m also going to post some of the teaching I did at the show as online tutorials: A Complete Guide to Sewing with Knits (a collection of all my tutorials and guides to sewing stretch knit fabrics) and How to Make Continuous Strip Bias Binding. Watch this space.

See You at The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show?

spring knitting & stitching show olympia

It’s the Spring Knitting & Stitching show at Olympia in London next week from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th.  The show opens at 10am every day and is open late until 7pm on Thursday, then 5.30pm Friday and Saturday and 5pm Sunday.

I’ll be there with signed copies of my book “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”, MIY Collection dressmaking patterns and sewing tools and my scissor accessories.  Find MIY Collection in the main hall on stand L16 near Fabrics Galore and M Rosenberg fabrics (now that will test my fabric shopping willpower!)

I’m also teaching at the show for the first time this year:

  • Thursday 3.30-4.30pm Customising with Easy Appliqué £12 – tickets still available.
  • Saturday 3.30-5pm Sew Knits on a Sewing Machine £15 – sold out.

See you there!

Wendy Ward Spring Knitting & Stitching Show OlympiaPhoto © Julian Ward

See you at the Knitting & Stitching Show

Later this morning I will be heading off to London town to spend 5 days at the Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace.  If you’ve never been it really is an amazing event, my two pieces of essential advice if you’re going…….

  • wear: comfy shoes and layers
  • take: food!

There are three halls full of stalls selling everything you could ever need and more for sewing knitting and creating in general, exhibitions, workshops and fashion shows.

I’m playing with the big boys this year in the Great Hall with MIY Collection on stand O19.  I’ll have my sewing patterns, tools, accessories and an advance copy of my book.  Here are some new things I’m launching at the show……

cowl sewing patternA new sewing pattern for the show: MIY Cosy Cowl – quick, easy and perfect for this time of year when you’re not quite ready for your winter coat!  Available to buy online when I’m back from the show.

scissor earringsTeeny tiny scissor earrings! A treat for you or the perfect gift for your stitchy friend.  Also available to buy online when I’m back from the show.

Look forward to seeing you there!

What I found at the Knitting and Stitching Show

allypallyviewThe amazing views you get from Alexandra Palace.  The building is a great bit of architecture and the park is beautiful – hard to believe you’re actually in London.

Hard to believe that this time last week I was in the thick of it.  It was a great show, super busy with keen creative types visiting, exhibiting and selling.  I met some really interesting people, talked myself silly, drank lots of tea, got a bit chilly and soaked up some inspiration.  Oh and sold lots of patterns, tools and stencils!

beforeandafterBefore………………and after!

Having a stand on your own at these events is quite a mission which leaves little time for looking around to see what else is there, but I managed to dash around each morning before the show opened and these were my highlights…..some things to inspire and admire, some things you may find useful.

There are always some high quality exhibitions at the Knitting & Stitching shows,Mandy Pattullo’s exhibition blew me away.  I can’t believe I hadn’t come across her work before, it’s stunning.

mandypattullo-websiteImage from Mandy’s website.

She takes old patchwork, quilts and tapestries and re-combines them into art works onto which she adds her own stitch and appliqué.  The resulting pieces have a lovely washed out, subdued colour palette due to the use of old fabrics and I loved them so much I bought one.  Here it is:


Have a look at her website to see more of her fabulous work.  She also teaches…..

Next door but one to my stand was Harriet Riddell with her “In Stitch You” stitched portraits.  Now I think you’d need nerves of steel to do what Harriet does…..basically she was using machine embroidery and appliqué to stitch portraits while people sat for her in her stand at the show with an audience watching!  No way could I do that, so hats off to Harriet.  Have a look at the huge gallery of portraits on her website.

institchyouImage from Harriet’s website of one of her previous on-site portraits!

Now for the knitters amongst you.  Knitting makes me go a bit funny, I’m definitely not a knitter.  I’ll have a dabble at crochet, but knitting I stay away from!  I do like what these knitters are doing though….

woolandthegangImage from Wool and the Gang’s website.

Wool and the Gang (what a genius name for a start!), are making knitting very cool.  They sell yarns, kits and readymades.  Their website looks so slick and modern, I love it and all their readymades are made by hand by a gang of knitters from around the world.  You can even knit for them yourself if you want to earn some extra spends.  Find out how here.  A genius name and a genius idea if you ask me.

Another inspiring exhibition was by Tilleke Schwarz, an artist of whom I’ve been a big fan for a long time.


She does hand embroidered almost graffiti style stitched pieces taking everyday life as inspiration, often resulting in mixtures of poignant thoughts and situations stitched alongside things so mundane they make you laugh.  Have a look at her work on her website which is in the same entertaining style.  A read of the FAQ section of her website will definitely make you smile…..

My stand was next to the very busy Upcycling academy where several organisations were educating visitors about some of the darker sides of the fashion and textile industry and how we can all get involved to try and do something about it.  There was much activity upcycling and customising old clothes, making rosettes, doing giant knitting and making mini protest banners.

craftivistcollectiveImage from Craftivist Collective website.

The Craftivist Collective were one of the organisations keeping people busy.  Their manifesto is “To expose the scandal of global poverty and human rights injustices through the power of craft and public art.”  Have a look at the many many great projects they’ve organised on their website.  I particularly like the mini protest banners.

So, the main activity of the day at these events is shopping, here’s a little round up of some of interesting shops I found on my early morning dashes!

Scissors – if you’re in the market for some new scissors and feel it’s time to upgrade to a quality pair that will last a lifetime have a look at Ernest Wright and Son.  They make a huge range of specialist scissors and they’re still made in Sheffield using traditional skills.  I have my eye on a few pairs.  Maybe one for your Christmas list?!

Sewing machines – I’ve always sung the praises of Bernina machines as being the ultimate machine to aim for.  It seems to me that Juki are now snapping at their heels and just possibly for the serious dressmaker, overtaking them.  Juki are known for making industrial sewing machines and are now putting all that technology and experience into domestic sewing machines.  I have two Juki overlockers and after using most other brands, I wouldn’t have anything else.  Franklins are a well established family run business who know their sewing machines and were at the Knitting Show with the full range of Juki machines.

Fabrics – have a look at Fabrics Galore.  Visitors to my stand were singing their praises.

For a huge range of any thread you could ever want and some quality basic fabrics Empress Mills is a good place to start.

If you can’t find the buttons you want, chances are you’ll find them at The Button Company or Textile Garden along with plenty of other haberdashery!

If embellishment rather than making is your thing, have a look at Thermofax who do mini screen printing.  I’m currently toying with the idea of running a workshop on this technique next year – could be a good solution for adding professional looking prints to your garments without the mess of traditional screen printing.  Also Art Van Go has every kind of dye and fabric paint you could ever need and a very useful techniques section to explain how to use them and which is the best to use for your particular project.

Books – those that know me or regularly read this blog will know I am a fan of old sewing books.  Luckily for me I didn’t have enough time to browse the shelves atThe Old Bookshop which has a brilliant collection of old sewing, fashion and pattern cutting books.  They do have an online shop though……

I also met some people I’ve only ever met online before – Fiona from the Sewing Directory, Julie Briggs editor of Sewing World magazine and lots of lovely people who follow me online, either on my blogs, facebook or twitter.  It was a pleasure to meet you all!

The next place we can meet “in the flesh” will be at “Made Brighton” on the 21st to 24th November at the Corn Exchange.  Look forward to seeing you there!

New Pattern and Tools Available From my Etsy Shop

After much talking about it, my Pull-on Loose Fitting Shift Dress sewing pattern is now available to buy from MIY Workshop and online from my Etsy shop.  It was a very popular purchase at the Knitting and Stitching show this weekend at Alexandra Palace!shift patternThe pattern is suitable for beginners; there are no fastenings or openings to deal with and there are lots of ways to make it your own style – it can be made with or without the collar, optional side seam pockets and the pleat can be put in the front and/or back or completely left out.  There’s also an optional tie belt.  It works in woven and knitted fabrics and I’m planning on making a few that mix different fabrics for the skirt and for the bodice……..

It’s a quick pattern to make, here are a few made by students this summer at my Summer Frock Making one day workshops:

shift-studentsMy neon green perspex tools are also now available at MIY Workshop and online from my Etsy shop:


The perspex is called “live edge” and you can see why!  There’s no way you’re going to loose either of these tools in your sewing stuff.  Even when they’re just sat on the table with not much light around, they somehow seem to glow…..


You can buy the little sewing tool and seam gauge in cm’s and inches and the bigger sewing and pattern cutting ruler in cm’s only.

And well I hate to say it but……Christmas is just around the corner…….one for your own list or for your crafty friends?!