Exciting and Overwhelming! The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London is overwhelming…especially for someone like me who lives in a city without any proper embroidery shops and who has been to only a few stitching shops in her LIFE. There was SO much to see – I couldn’t take it all in. It was so exciting to have so much available … but I couldn’t decide! Yikes!
After buying a program so we would know where each stand was located, we went inside and were immediately struck by the beautiful building. Alexandra Palace is just gorgeous. And this gorgeous building was full of stuff for stitching!
Since we had come to London specifically to meet the owners of Pearsall’s Embroidery in Wales, we made a beeline for their stand. It was a feast of glowing color. Skeins of silk hanging from the wall and beautifully worked kits glowed in the lights.
John is the dyer who makes all those beautiful silk threads as well as dyeing the wool known in the USA as Heathway wool. Both are available from Tristan Brooks and are extraordinary threads. He took time to explain to us how many different dyes are used to achieve each color in the range. I now understand better why the quality of the light effects how we see color.
For the Heathway wool, he uses only the finest, whitest colonial wool from Australia. John explained that because the wool is of such high quality, the dye takes better and the colors are more true and long lasting. It explains why the colors of his threads are so clear. Listening to him talk about his work, his passion is obvious and it certainly is apparent in his threads.
Carol is the embroiderer in the family and works many of the wonderful designs they sell on their site. She is also the cheerful, helpful voice on the other end of the phone when I call to order thread. She does pretty much anything and everything else that needs doing to run the company. Together they are providing all of us with some very special threads.
Since our work can only be a good as the materials we use, I am thankful we have these two warm, talented people as part of the embroidery community.
Next stop was to find the Crewel Work Company and introduce myself to Phillipa Turnball. Her stand was so elegant! I got a peek at the project we’ll be doing on Tuesday in class. I can’t wait! It’s in colors I just love! Her designs are all based on her research into historical design and every one is beautiful.
Right across from the Crewel Work Company was the Royal School of Needlework stand. There I learned more about the Certificate of Embroidery course and got to look at a copy of one of their new Essential Stitch Guide books. There are two currently available: Crewelwork and Blackwork. More are planned including silk shading and goldwork. These books are technique books rather than books of projects. The photographs are fantastic and the text very clear. If you can’t go to the RSN for a course, these are a great option!
On the way out, we passed the Quaker Tapestry and stopped in for a glimpse of what we will see later this week when we are in Kendal. It’s going to be wonderful!
It was a wonderful afternoon, meeting the people who make up the world of embroidery.