The Knitting & Stitching Show’s in Dublin next weekend, ticket giveaway!

That time of year has returned at last, next weekend sees the return of the Knitting & Stitching Show in the RDS, Dublin, from October 30th – November 2nd. More than 25,000 visitors are expected to attend the show, which will feature a unique combination of inspirational galleries, workshops and exhibitors selling everything from stunning fabrics, wools and threads, through to sewing machines, patterns and books.

Sea Slug II (photographed by Rob Lamb)

Sea Slug II (photographed by Rob Lamb)

Some of you may remember my Seaslug on exhibition several years ago at the event, others may have participated in the felting taster session I facilitated with Clodagh McDonald via Feltmakers Ireland, you can actually get a link to Holly’s felt brooch tutorial which we were teaching on that occasion by clicking here!

Learning Curve at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

Learning Curve at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

Thanks to the organisers I’m delighted to offer blog readers the opportunity to claim three pairs of tickets to the Dublin show, they need to be used on either Thursday (if you can pick them up from me), Friday or Sunday and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to post them out to you in time, I think that Friday or Sunday would be the best days time wise! Sooooooo, if you live in Ireland (or will be travelling to Dublin for the show!) and would like to enter the draw for a pair of tickets please just comment on this post and let me know what you are most looking forward to checking out at the Knit and Stitch, the exhibitions, the vendors, the taster sessions, the PicKnit, the artists in action??? You get the idea so please leave your comments now and email me your postal address, I’ll make the draw first thing on Wednesday morning (hence the email address, no email = no tickets) and post the tickets out asap. Here’s a taster from the organisers of what will be happening at this years event…………..

A new attraction will be The PicKnit, brought to Dublin by the UK Hand Knitting Association. Under the theme of ‘Knit One, Hook One and Pass it On’, visitors to The Picknit can learn, create and share their knitting and crochet skills with other visitors. There will be free one- to-one knitting and crochet tuition for beginners, and a chance for the more adventurous to experiment with some exciting new designs.

Helen Marriott, The Knitting & Stitching Show, said: “For decades, knitting has been a sociable pastime with knitters happily chatting over coffee and yarn. PicKnits takes that idea to the next level, combining a love of food with a love of knitting, stitching and craft. Knitting PicKnits don’t have to be big formal occasions though – all you need are needles, some snacks, a few friends and some space. Importantly, Knitting PicKnits, like the one coming up in the RDS, help keep the traditional skills of knitting and stitching alive.”

Thanks to celebrity knitters such as Cara Delevingne, Ryan Gosling, Kate Moss and Lily Allen, organisers have noticed a huge increase in interest in knitting and sewing. “Knitting and sewing have both been around for centuries, but celebrity knitters and sewers are helping to bring the hobby and craft to a whole new audience.” added Helen Marriott.

Visitors to the show, which is Ireland’s largest textile and craft event, can also look forward to:

  •   Artists at work in the ‘Artists in Action Studio’
  •   Learning a new skill at one of the 100s of ‘Learning Curve’ workshops
  •   Professionally-curated galleries including one featuring the 1913 Lockout Tapestry, designed by Cathy Henderson and artist Robert Ballagh
  •   An exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One
  •   An inaugural display by the students from the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design.
  •   An exhibition of new textile artwork exploring relationships between commemoration and memory by Nigel Cheney of NCAD
  •   A Design & Crafts Council of Ireland exhibition, called ‘Entwined Memories’
  •   ‘Explorations’ by the Irish Patchwork Society.
  •   116 hours of workshops ranging from Beginners’ Crochet to Embellishing Bed Linen to Sewing a Vintage Clutch Bag.
  •   A student showcase from various colleges and academies, such as the NCAD, The Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the National Tailoring Academy at Louis Copeland.

Unveiling Irish Designers and Tailors of the Future – Student Designer Showcase announced for the Knitting and Stitching Show (#knitnstitch), October 30th – November 2nd at the RDS

Up-and-coming Irish textile designers and tailors will be unveiling their talent at the Knitting and Stitching Show in the RDS, Dublin, at the end of the month.
The talented designers will be showcasing spectacular creations – including a steel-boned bodice red dress, a 60 metre-long braiding coil and a zipped patchwork armchair – at the show which takes place from October 30th – November 2nd.
This year’s show is expected to attract a record number of knitting and hand craft enthusiasts, with 25,000 expected to pass through the doors of the RDS over the four days of the show.
The student creations will be displayed at various curated galleries during the show. “A Room of One’s Own” is the theme of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin gallery, featuring one-of-a-kind artefacts like chairs, wall hangings and screens for a contemporary interior space.
Sixteen students from CIT Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork will be making their show debut with works such as “Big Bad Braid”, involving 60 metres of braiding coil and “A Journey Through Emotion”, highlighting the traditional Korean technique of Bojagi.
And students from the National Tailoring Academy at Louis Copeland will be demonstrating their bespoke tailoring skills with garments such as a 1930s-style frock coat, a steel-boned red bodice dress, and a tailcoat with a hidden tail pocket.
Meanwhile, the Graduate Showcase gallery, which will challenge notions of stitching and surface embroidery, is set to feature the work of students from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the NCAD.
Student Mary Brady, from the National Tailoring Academy at Louis Copeland, created a hand-sewn fairytale ballgown with a steel bone corset, inspired by dresses worn at Masquerade Balls in Vienna.
“The dress took me three weeks to finish. I started with the steel bone corset and then I draped raw silk over it and finished by sewing the skirt by hand. This was an amazing experience and really helped me develop and hone my hand tailoring and corsetry skills,” said Mary from Co. Meath.
“We have invited some of Ireland’s most promising young textile designers and tailors to showcase their skills and creations at this year’s Knitting and Stitching Show, which is expected to attract 25,000 visitors,” said Helen Marriott, the show’s organiser. “Through the Student Designer Showcase, we want to put Ireland’s young designer and tailors at the very heart of the show and into the national spotlight.”


Time is flying and an odd sort of premonition proves well founded!

Wow, I can’t believe how quickly this week has flown. It’s Thursday evening now and I’m trying to prepare for Borris Food and Craft Market in the morning as well as a busy weekend ahead at Duckett’s Grove. I’ve got a hen party booked on Saturday morning, that’ll be fun as we’re felting flowers which will then be used at the wedding ceremony I think! Interestingly enough I’ve also got a child’s birthday party booked for later in November, I think that felting’s a great idea for a creative gathering, what nicer than to get your hands soapy and try out a new craft with friends?

This morning I should have headed to Dublin and the Knitting and Stitching Show, from last night onwards I had a really edgy feeling and for some reason this morning just had to act on it and not drive the 2 hours up to the event. I can’t explain to you why I didn’t think it was a good idea to go, I look forward to this major textile show all year and right up until yesterday evening was really anticipating all the lovely goodies I’d snap up, exhibitions I’d visit and the friends I’d meet and have a natter with. Anyway, someone was looking after me because Carmen rang late in the morning to say that there were major problems for some reason, it took half an hour queueing in the cold to get inside, the venue was packed and horror of horrors, no credit card machines would work and all the ATM machines were not functioning either due to some computer glitch or other. Whew, I’m so glad I didn’t travel because I was not going to bring any cash with me, instead I was going to just use my card and therefore have a good paper trail for my accountant to follow next tax return time!

Voluntarily confined to Clasheen, I did manage to finish felting two nuno scarves incorporating naturally printed/dyed silk, work on a new design for a short silk rich scarf (not 100% happy with the two I felted yet) and make a soft prototype cowl (I am happy with this design) which I will bring to the market tomorrow although I am tempted to keep it for myself! I’ve also got 6 silk chiffon scarves ready to bundle and a pile of eucalyptus leaves soaking in a vinegar/water solution in the kitchen, I’ll get these going shortly then head upstairs for a nice hot bath!

Felt, fibre and other art related highlights from the last few days!

I’ve spent an action packed, satisfying but tiring long weekend in Dublin and am going to jot down some of the highlights here for you to peruse.

Things kicked off on Thursday morning when I delivered a workshop titled ‘Using Social Media to Promote/Sell your Craft’ as part of the Crafts Council‘s ‘Craft Enterprize Programme’.  I met a great group of dedicated crafts people and hopefully they had as much fun as I did and learnt something new to help their business from what we were discussing!  The venue for this workshop was in the Dodder Rooms at the RDS and convieniently the Knitting and Stitching Show 2011 was also held at the RDS, this time across the road in the Simonscourt Arena.

'Scavangers' by Caroline Schofield

As well as old favourites like The Yarn Room, Art Van Go, and Jean Oliver’s stand with beautiful hand dyed raw materials, stands, exhibitions and events from the show that I really enjoyed included …….

  • Feltmakers Ireland – it’s always wonderful to see the expression on faces as people discover the magic of wet felting for the first time!
  • Seascapes – an excellent curated textile exhibition put on by the Crafts Council.  I thought that Caroline Schofield’s ‘Scavangers’ were particularly stunning, 5 swooping sea gulls which projected amazing shadows onto the walls!
  • Kate Ramsey’s stand with her beautifully felted wearables
  • Chatting to felting friend Lizzie Houghton, author of Creative Felting and ‘Felting Fashion’
  • The Toft Alpaca Shop
  • Mary Sleigh’s wonderful exhibition of Africian textiles
  • Facilitating the Friday session at ‘The Learning Curve’.  Thanks ladies, I really enjoyed your company and hope you love your new felt brooches!

Learning Curve at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

On Thursday evening Alan and I walked to the opening of our friend Anthony Lyttle’s exhibition ‘The white mark’ which is running in the Cross Gallery until 3rd December.  This gallery is at 59 Francis Street, easy to walk to from the city centre and Anthony’s beautiful exhibition is well worth a visit if you are in the area!

On Friday evening we both walked into town again and had a brilliant time at the launch of ‘Profiles in Felt, a Feltmakers Ireland book published after a LOT of hard work and with help and support from the Crafts Council.  Congratulations to the team involved in making this book happen, the result is truly wonderful and Sonya Lennon was an inspired choice to speak at the opening!  Champagne and cake helped with the bubbly atmosphere and it was such fun to meet with many of the 44 felters profiled in the book!!!

Whew, I’m just about out of time again so suffice to say the weekend progressed!  On Sunday I helped good friend Eileen MacDonagh by starting to cover one of her current amazing sculptures with papier machier (more in another post, 15 HUGE trees!) and last night we went to a screening of ‘The Way‘ at Visual, a great night.

Coming in a post soon for those who have asked, a quick little glimpse (thanks Holly!) about how the brooches were felted during the learning curve experience!

Felt, fibres and findings

Yesterday I had a great day at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the RDS in Dublin.  Carmen and I left at 7 o’clock to beat the worst of the traffic and we arrived at the RDS by about 9.30am.  Because we were both doing a stint helping and demonstrating on the Feltmakers Ireland stand we were lucky enough to get in free!  It was a great day.  I had never actually been to any big fibre event before being so new to felting but Carmen had prepared me well!!  What surprised me the most was that I did not go too mad buying things, I have a habit of jumping in like there is no tomorrow and I could have ended up with a truck load of bits and bobs that never would have been used had I not restrained myself.  The absolute best stands for me to pick up more unusual items were Art Van Go and Twisted Fibres, both had BEAUTIFUL fibres for felting (or any other type of textile art) and I was smitten.  It was great to see Stephanie from the Yarn Room in Co. Wicklow absolutely snowed under with customers, I really didn’t get any time to chat to her properly as obviously sales take priority over everything else!  So, what did I buy?  Pink Pig notebooks to embellish with felt for Christmas presents, handmade paper to make gift tags and cards, 2 beautiful wooden stamps, gorgeous hand dyed silk roving, seed beads, 2 huge buttons, a piece of coarse scrim to felt into a wall hanging, some findings for jewellery making, wire for using with beads and finally some more Pink Pig notebooks!  The Feltmakers Ireland stand was totally mobbed for all of the day.  If people have never seen felt being made before the attraction is usually instantaneous, many new people joined up and many old friends visited the stand.  I was delighted to meet some people local to the South East and I think that all the upcoming courses on the workshop page are going to be totally full before long judging by the interest at the show.  It was lovely to met some people who are following my activities on this blog, I hope that you all had a great day in Dublin!

Funky felt neckpieces, button magic, interesting poll

Enjoyed a busy but fun couple of days and still only 15.53 Irish time!  Carmen and I drove to Dublin yesterday morning to join in the Feltmakers Ireland Wednesday session, my first time actually managing to attend.  It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new like-minded people who all love their felting.  Because we were helping with some paperwork in preparation for our stand at the 2008 Knitting and Stitching Show not much actual felting was created.  Elenor did make a beautiful bowl to demonstrate what we might be asked to do on the stand, why not come along between Thursday 30th October and Sunday 2nd November to check out the Feltmakers stand and stock up on all the goodies on offer at the show?  It takes place at the RDS in Dublin and if you click here you can get all the details and information about the wonderful demos and workshops that are on offer.  I will be doing my bit on the stand from 12.30 until 3 o’clock on Thursday and would love if you called over to introduce yourselves!

Once we said our goodbyes to the rest of the gang Carmen and I had a wander around a few of the shops in Blanchardstown.  Coming from the country I have to say that although I prefer shopping locally in a more boutique type setting it is nice once in a while to catch a few of the larger chains.  We browsed a couple of the bigger stores, had a bite to eat and then hit Borders book shop!  First we had an after dinner coffee upstairs in Starbucks, then we headed downstairs to look at the magazines and explore the craft and textile sections.  Carmen bought a book with some crocheting patterns and I found an absolute darling book called ‘A Passion for Buttons’!!  One of my biggest problems with felting is that although I enjoy looking at other peoples embellished work I find that for me it is the felt that counts.  Obviously other people might want a bit more embellishment and I do have a great stash of beautiful vintage buttons so I am going to do my best adding a few to some select pieces for Christmas.  Visit my Flickr account to see the necklace I made last night copied from an idea in the book, for some reason I am having problems uploading images directly to the blog this afternoon. 

Today I got up early and I had the whole morning to work on some funky new styles of neckpieces and also to make two vessels.  I actually made 4 neckpieces, 2 lattice type and 2 from an idea that I saw in a book recently, any of them would make very nice presents for a friend or even yourselves!  This weekend I intend putting a new page up on this blog showing images of work for sale or else linking to the same work on my Flickr account.  Because I am still waiting for my Etsy shop to be operational I think that this is the simplest way of allowing everyone to see what I have for sale at any given time and if you then see an item that you like but would prefer another colour scheme than all you have to do is ask!  If I have the fibre available then I will be able to make a commissioned piece for the same price.

Vessels and seamless bags are my absolute favourite items to make along with anything in nuno felt.   Why not take the poll below and let me know what you are most interested in?