Saturday, my best friend, “A”, and I went to the “Stitch & Craft Show” at Olympia for a girly day out. We had a fantastic time. The show is dedicated to the embroidery arts: most of the stalls sold cross-stitch, crewel work and needlepoint kits/charts. There was little for the knitter.
First up was a goldwork class taught by Sue Hinde. Sue is a mastercraftswoman and a very good teacher. She leads the Rhuddlan Goldwork Group, who exhibited at the show. You can see Sue’s work at www.golden-hinde.co.uk, a web-store run by her daughter. We learned several basic techniques: couching gilt wire with “jap” thread on a silk background; stitching wire beads (sorry I’ve forgotten the correct name) to the surface of our work; and outlining using fine “gold” wire thread. I’d show you what I made, but I decided to use it as an insert in my wedding anniversary card in September. So you’ll just have to wait! :o)
Then we wandered over to Jane Waller’s stall. I met Jane at the Knit & Stitch Show at Alexandra Palace last year, when she was promoting her book Knitting Fashions of the 1940’s. At the time, the publishing company was running late with her book so she only had some proofs to show. The book came out in late November and I purchased it at Christmas. If you’re into vintage knitting patterns like me, then it is a fascinating resource.
Jane had decorated her stall with garments from the book and was busy signing copies. She also had a couple of copies of her first book, A Stitch in Time, which was published in the 1970s and contains facsimiles of knitting patterns from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. We got chatting and she told me that, due to a warehouse fire at her publishers, they couldn’t reproduce/reprint A Stitch in Time. The films had burnt in the fire. There were three remaining unsold copies, two of which were decorating her stall. Somehow, and I’m not sure who sold the idea to whom, Jane managed to sell me a copy for £50! It’s wonderful and was worth every penny. Jane’s website is www.janewaller.co.uk.
“A” and I had a good wander around, looked at all the stalls, and both felt drawn to cross-stitch designs by Michael Powell (see www.michaelpowellart.com). Michael was manning his stall, so we chatted to him about how he got into cross stitch. Turns out that he’s a painter. During an exhibition of his paintings, someone mentioned that they’d make great cross-stitch designs, and the rest is history. I purchased the “Mini Greek Island”, but I’m also drawn to his “Greek Window” design. “A” chose the "Pots of Love" design.
An entire gallery was dedicated to the work of the late Jo Verso. Jo was a cross-stitch designer par-excellence, who died in a car accident in 2002. “A” had owned one of Jo’s books, which disappeared in a move. Jo’s publishers, David & Charles, are preparing a 20th anniversary special edition of her first book, Picture It in Cross Stitch. It’s getting added to my wish list.
Our final class was Linen Band Sampler which was presented by the Cross Stitch Guild (I didn’t catch the teacher’s name and it isn’t listed in the program). Again, a well delivered and fun class. Also a much needed sit down. If I ever get around to finishing it, the Sampler will become a bookmark.
Finally, two very happy but footsore stitchers went home.