Meet The 2018 Knitting & Stitching Show Ambassadors
The Knitting & Stitching Shows are all about bringing together textile enthusiasts from all over the world and this year’s show ambassadors reflected that. Our ambassadors are the very best in their field spanning a wide range of textile disciplines including crochet, dressmaking, cross-stitch and textile folk art, but their common denominator is that they are all very, very passionate about creativity.
Meet the faces of the 2018 Knitting & Stitching Show…
Kerry Lord is the mastermind behind one of the UK’s biggest crochet brands – Toft. Launched in 2006, the business began (and acquired it’s name) when Kerry returned home to her families alpaca farm in Toft, the small Warwickshire hamlet. The company started out producing luxury yarn, sourced from the farms alpacas as well as crocheted animals which Kerry would sell at craft markets.
As Toft grew in popularity customers would enquire about the patterns to make their own crocheted toys and a new market began. Toft now produces hundreds of crochet patterns – over the past few years Kerry has created a new line of crocheted animals patterns the ‘Edward’s Menagerie’, consisting of over 300 crocheted animals.
At this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show Toft are offering a world first opportunity to see the complete Edward Menagerie collection of 300 crocheted animals displayed together.
Tilly Walnes is the founder of online dress-making blog and store Tilly and The Buttons. Tilly made a name for herself in the sewing world back in 2010 when she started blogging about her sewing escapades. Fast forward seven years and Tilly is regularly voted as Sewing Personality of the year, she has been featured in The Guardian and The New York Times, have sewn on telly as a contestant in BBC2’s The Great British Sewing Bee and has one of the most popular Instagram accounts for dressmakers in the UK
After being a regular at our sister show The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia – Tilly has taken the plunge and will be exhibiting at our flagship show at Alexandra Palace for the very first time. Meet Tilly and co. on stand J14.
Q: What would be your advice for any dress making newbies?
A: Just jump right in and give it a go! When you get started you need a very limited kit so don’t feel you need to splurge on a huge tool box right away. As long a you have a sewing machine, some sharp scissors, pins and an iron, you can get going on your sewing journey.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at The Knitting & Stitching Show?
A: Meeting lots of DIY dressmakers, as well as anyone ready to take the plunge and catch the sewing bug!
Lisa Comfort is the owner of Sew Over It – the one stop shop for everyone who loves to sew. The Sew Over It brand is home to two sewing stores, an online shop, a multitude of sewing classes and has one of the most watched sewing vlogs to its name.
Lisa fell in love with sewing aged 11 when she made her first skirt. A year later her parents gave her a sewing machine and she has never looked back since. After studying at the London College of Fashion she worked for British designer Bruce Oldfield and then bridal couture designer Phillipa Lepley, before setting up the Sew Over It brand.
Louise McDonald is considered a rare breed these days as she is one of the few people who still spins her own yarn – and has created the online fibre craft business ‘Spin City’ from her craft. Louise makes luxurious hand blended fibre batts, colourful rovings, unique resin drop spindles and hand spun and hand dyed yarns for knitting, weaving and embroidery.
Louise started her career at Central St martins where she studied for a Master’s in in Fashion Knitwear Design at Central St Martin’s and has since created work for an array for fashion brands including Burberry, Mark Fast, DVF, Ports 1961 and Per Una.
Join Louiseat the show on Stand TGR19 where she will be happy to teach you to spin or weave.
Q: How did you first get into spinning?
A: I was obsessed with knitting and yarn and from a young age, so it was a natural progression for me to learn to spin my own. About a decade ago, armed with youtube videos and spinning wheel, I picked up some fibre from a local farm and it instantly captured my imagination. I still get a thrill after every bobbin! I love that I can design the thickness and textures and choose materials that are rare and unusual, entirely natural or neon glittery rainbow. I can design with a project in mind or just spin for the love of it!
Q: What can visitors look forward to seeing on your stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show?
A: Expect an explosion of colour and fibre! Hand spun yarn, luxury fibres for spinners and felt makers in every shade of the rainbow, unique resin drop spindles, spinning wheels, weaving looms, hand dyed yarn for knitting and crochet and exciting craft kits. I will also be teaching visitors how to spin and weave on the stall. Come and say hi and discover your new obsession!
Lauren Guthrie is the owner and founder of fabric emporium and sewing school Guthrie & Ghani, which she set-up in 2013 with her husband Ayaz. Lauren spent a year renovating the building that houses the shop and sewing school before catapulting to stitching fame as one of the most loved contestants on BBC2’s The Great British Sewing Bee.
Lauren will be busy at this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show hosting daily demos in The Creative Living Thetare as well as running her Guthrie and Ghani stand at the show. On her stand you will find a gorgeous selection of dressmaking fabric, sewing kits, special Prym haberdashery packs and a huge selection of independent sewing patterns.
Q: With the rumoured return of the TV series The Great British Sewing Bee what would be your advice to anyone hoping to be a contestant?
A: It’s important to be yourself and just enjoy it as much as possible.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show?
A: I love meeting lots of customers at the show and checking out what people are wearing and spotting my favourite sewing patterns made up. There is always such a lovely buzz of general sewing excitement and I always leave the show feeling really inspired!
Chris Woodward & Annie Nelson: Yoke
Chris Woodward and Annie Nelson are the combined forces behind the art collaborative ‘Yoke’. Their work is multi-disciplinary, utilising a wide variety of materials such as fabric, wood, ceramic and printed media to create sculpture, installation and intervention, Seeking to offer alternatives to our fast paced society. Through an interest in the environment and how it has been shaped both physically & socially they explore the stories of people and places on the fringes, drawing attention to the barriers in their place. Yoke question our perpetual desire for quick fixes and fast solutions, challenging the audience to move away from predetermined views.
Chris and Annie are bringing their gallery entitled ‘Undercurrent’ to this year’s Knitting & Stitching Shows. The exhibition is based on the Aire & Calder navigation and explores the place where tranquility, excitement, dread and fear collide. This showcase is an extract of their larger project Akkyduck, supported by Arts Council England which is an exploration of Stanley Ferry, Wakefield and its surrounding navigation through its stories past and present.
Q: What was the first project you collaborated on?
A: We met at Leeds Metropolitan University whilst we were studying Fine Art and collaborated in our first year alongside a third artist putting together a show for the then leeds Met Gallery. We went on to collaborate on a number of projects and works throughout our studies, during which time we also played a key part in the forming of the art collective Woolgather. Together with a number of other artists we ran small and large events and created large installations, one of which was a huge moving maze for Millennium Square in Leeds. Hundreds of metres of fabric walls were held up by around 40 people zipped into the walls which enabled the mazes construct to shift and change as the audience wandered through.
Q: If you had to sum up your gallery ‘Undercurrent’ in three words what would you say?
A: Ambiguous, Anecdotal, Tense