Meet The 2018 Spring 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 denemoenator is that they are all very, very passionate about creativity.

Meet the faces of the 2018 Spring Knitting & Stitching Show…

Tilly Walnes

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

Tilly will be launching her brand new book ‘Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics’ at The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show. Meet Tilly and co. on stand G60.

Q: If you had to sum up your latest book ‘Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics’ in a few words how would you describe it?
A: In recent years stretch fabrics have become more popular with home sewists, yet they still have a reputation for being difficult to work with. So I wanted to share my tips and tricks for handling the stretch, to build readers’ skills and confidence and expand their fabric repertoire. And for people who are already addicted to knit fabrics, the book includes gorgeous paper patterns – classic, wearable designs with interesting variations to help build their handmade wardrobe.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at the spring Knitting & Stitching Show?
A: We can’t wait to meet and have a chat with our customers at the show. It’s so lovely seeing things people are making with our patterns – it’s so inspiring!

Jamie Chalmers

Jamie Chalmers aka Mr X Stitch is the self-declared kingpin of contemporary embroidery. Jamie first took up embroidery 15 years ago as a ‘bit of a joke’ when he was boarding a long-haul flight, needing something to occupy his time he grabbed a cross-stitch kit as he thought it would be entertaining to see how others reacted to a ‘manly man’ sewing.

He was soon hooked on embroidery and is now an internationally exhibited artist and the curator of PUSH Stitchery, featuring 30 contemporary embroidery artists from around the world. Jamie is a big believer in the therapeutic benefits of stitching and it’s positive effects on your health.

Join Jamie for his ‘Guide to Cross Stitch’ in the drop-in cross stitch studio at the show.

Q: What is your favourite part of teaching other people to cross-stitch
A: I love that moment when people have got past the learning curve (which is not very steep), they’re starting to stitch and they’re tapping into that meditative, creative repetition that unlocks a soul soothing sensation that’s heard to describe. I see it in people as they have a slight smile and you can tell that they’re in a good space. It’s magic and I never tire of it.

Q: What can readers expect from your latest book ‘The Mr X Stitch guide to cross stitch’?
A: It might sound extreme, but I think the Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch is the only cross stitch book people might need. It will teach them how to cross stitch, explain why cross stitch is more than just a hobby, and with exciting designs, interviews with cross stitch outliers (who are pushing at the boundaries of the form) and a section dedicated to designing your own patterns, it will show them how to elevate their craft. It has terrific photography and the odd bit of wit and wisdom as well. I might be biased, but it’s a mighty fine book.

Sarah-Jayne Fragola

Sarah-Jayne runs the multi-award winning lifestyle blog ‘Bella Coco’. Her blog is full of enough crochet patterns and projects to keep you busy for the next ten years! Sarah-Jayne will be juggling more than just balls of yarn at the show as she gets through a busy Saturday of  demonstrating crochet techniques in our Creative Living Theatre, hosting a meet and greet at out drop in knitting and crochet studio and judging this year’s knitted tea room competition.

Q: What was your first ever crochet project?
A: My first ever crochet project was a granny square blanket I made for my Grandma. It was in shades of purple with a hint of white. I made it for her birthday and I remember finishing off the last round in the car as I’d ran out of yarn and had to buy more on the way. She was so pleased with it and still uses it now!

Q: What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting up a craft blog?
A: My advise for setting up a craft blog would be…..just go for it! So many people tell me that they want to blog but have been putting it off. Even if it’s only you that reads it in the beginning, it’s a way of building your posts for when people do discover it. It’s such a fantastic creative outlet.

Anne Kelly

Anne Kelly is an award winning textile artist, author and tutor based in the UK, exhibiting and teaching internationally. Anne specialises in mixed media textiles collecting recycled fabric, paper and ephemera using collage, stitch, photographic and print processes to create her artwork.
Anne is showcasing her gallery ‘Textile Folk Art” at this year’s Spring Knitting & Stitching Show.

Q: How would you describe your gallery ‘Folk Tales’?
A:Folk Tales’ is a record of work and preparation of work relating to my forthcoming 3rd book ‘Textile Folk Art’, publishing in October 2018. There is a community collaboration ‘Travel Tags’ based on travel and migration and a personal heritage piece ‘12 Dresses’ included in the gallery.

Q: Which gallery (apart from your own) are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Spring Knitting & Stitching Show?
A: I’m really looking forward to seeing the City Lit gallery. I used to live nearby and I worked with one of their tutors Caroline Bartlett in Australia in 2017.

Jade Earley

Jade is the youngest of our ambassadors she started sewing when she was 14 after she sustained a knee injury and could no longer be a competitive swimmer. Jade attended a 2 day sewing course at her local Sewing School and created herself a lace dress. After this Jade was totally hooked. She appeared on The Great British Sewing Bee at just 17 and her sewing career has gone from strength to strength since her TV appearance.
She also campaigns to get more skills based activities into schools – which is a subject close to our heart – we launched our own Campaign for Creativity to push this very issue.

Q: What is your greatest sewing achievement to date?
A: I would have to say my biggest sewing achievement to date has to be my prom dress, I had only been sewing maybe 2 years when I started my prom dress so I was still pretty new at sewing and my dress was the biggest project I had done at that point and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to!

Q: You are passionate about getting more skills based activities into schools – why is this issue so important to you?
A: Getting more skilled based activities back into schools is very important to me. I was diagnosed with dyslexia in my first year of college, but prior to that I felt like I was pushed to one side in school because I wasn’t smart enough or I wasn’t reaching the targets they wanted me to. Once I left school I wanted to make it my thing that I try and get skilled based activities back into schools so that no other young adult/teen would be made to feel the way that I felt because they are not smart enough. Some people are not academic but they can be talented in other pursuits and can create wonderful things with just their bare hands. Everyone has their own part to play in this world whether that is intellectual or creative.