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Knitting kNirvana


ally pally3

A totally fab building


Or… how I went to Ally Pally and nearly lost my mind.

Regular readers will know that some time ago I took up knitting.

I’m not that good at it – but I really like it.

So – a friend told me about this Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.

I must go, she said. It is the home of all things knitting… sewing and quilting as well – but it was the knitting that mattered to me.

So I went.

It was my first visit to Ally Pally – what a fabulous building – with a great history.

I shall be back at another time when I can give the building it’s due respect… That just wasn’t possible on this trip, because once I got inside – there was nothing but the wool…


There were a few brave men there - but not many

There were a few brave men there – but not many



Acres of it…


Gorgeous colours

Gorgeous colours


Rainbows of it…


There was too much to select just one...

There was too much to select just one…



Crying credits cards of it. (Despite the fabulous half price show specials).


That's me in the striped top - just getting started

That’s me in the pink striped top – just getting started


I dived right in – although not as literally as some.


This was at 11 am - too early in the day for him to be napping

This was at 11 am – too early in the day for him to be napping



I’m still learning this knitting thing – who knew you could knit a hedgehog…


I never knew hedgehogs came in orange and blue

I never knew hedgehogs came in orange and blue


Or a car…


How many hours did it take to knit this?

How many hours did it take to knit this?


Or that you could make a portrait with a sewing machine.


Puts a whole new spin on 'portraits

Puts a whole new spin on ‘portraits


I had a wonderful time – and yes I bought wool. Only four projects worth of it – plus a couple of patterns, and some yarn I needed to finish something already underway.


My shiny pink RNA conference bag proved as good at holding wool as it was at holding books

My shiny pink RNA conference bag proved as good at holding wool as it was at holding books


Here’s a confession – I took three carry bags – and needed all of them to bring my haul home. Next year, I may need to take four.




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19 Responses to Knitting kNirvana

  • Well, Janet, I am a fellow compatriot knitter. I absolutely love it though it was only late in life I took it up. None of my family knitted and I’d battled (and failed) learning the English method, but when I was 29 my Norwegian mother-in-law, Elsa, spent a year teaching me to knit traditional Norwegian sweaters and socks (and to speak Norwegian) and I’ve never stopped. I’m in the middle of a pink and white Fanakofte for my 8-year-old right now. It’s the only way to spend any time watching television without feeling guilty. In fact, I try and watch more television, simply so I can finish more sweaters.

    Well done! Please post some pictures of your works in progress or finished products.

    Beverley xx

    • We are kindred souls Beverley. I took up knitting while living in New York – two years ago. They yarn in the shops there is to die for (as are the yarn prices). I knit in front of the TV too. It’s raining here today so my plan for this afternoon is an episode of Strictly Come Dancing (it’s those handsome men in sequins that does it for me) while knitting. Am nearly finished the latest project. Will post a photo soon. J X

  • Oh my, Janet, I wish I’d gone to the conference just for the bag. 🙂 And I want that taxi!

    • The taxi was amazing Liz – it was part of a promo for a children’s book. The characters on the taxi are from the book. I am not sure I could do that to promote any of my books – but it might be fun to try. 🙂

  • Ah, so that’s what the RNA conference bags were for!
    Glad you enjoyed your Knitting kNirvana, Janet!

  • I used to love knitting and this inspires me to think about it again, Janet.

    • Go for it Zana. I originally learned as a child – taught by an elderly neighbour. I gave it up for many years and am thrilled to have rediscovered what fun it is. Second time around and all that.

  • That is so coo! All that yarn is beautiful. I wish I could knit!

  • I’m a knitter too, compulsively so, and I’m determined to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show next year. Really sorry to have missed it this year – the sight of all that wool, and I’d have been in Heaven!

    • It was all so tempting Henri. I was very proud of only buying four lots of wool. I think it’s good that the show was a long trip on the train/tube/bus for me… The thought of carrying my purchases all the way home on public transport did force me to restrain myself just a little. Rats!

  • I’m not a knitter, but having seen the knitted car I could be tempted. Although, even this soon after I’ve typed that, I’m already thinking I’d be better off trying to bake one instead…

    • You bake, Alison? I can’t. I am not a bad cook, but my every attempt to bake has been doomed to failure. As a child, I baked (with help from Mum) a cake for my Dad for his birthday. He bravely ate one slice. But after that, even I agreed with the decision to give the rest to the dog 🙁

  • I’m a knitter too! The only thing I’d love to know is how other knitters can pick up wool at a conference like this and then go home and follow a pattern that has a different make of wool. Any advice knitters? How do I compare different brands of wool and still use a specific pattern? I’m sure I’m missing a trick buying expensive wool all the time 🙁

    Glad you had a good time, Janet – nothing better than knitting in front of the TV!

    Rachel x

  • I tend to substitute yarns a lot, Rachel. of course, the patterns I do tend to be fairly simple. I try to go for a yarn with the same gauge and texture – but not always. I usually just knit up a test swatch of the yarn, then do the maths to figure out how many stitches I need for the right size and how many rows for the right length. I sometimes find myself with too much or too little yarn – but I can always buy more. And there’s always a use for the leftovers (I have a lot of scarves and hats).

  • The wool looks wonderful, Janet – can’t wait to see the finished articles.
    Btw, train/bus was the best option imho, as was not going at the weekend. I went on Saturday for the first time. It took me an hour to find somewhere to park, the exhibition was uber-crowded and the cloakroom would only take bags, not coats. That said, it was still fabulous. Came away with a new lace shawl pattern, a Crimbo embroidery and some yummy fiberspates wool.

    • It was pretty crowded on Friday – I can only imagine that Saturday must have been heaving with people! I saw some people with wheeled suitcases they were filling with yarn. It’s a good thing yarn is so light.
      I’m glad you found things there. The wools were amazing, weren’t they? I am definitely going again next year!

Writing retreats 2020 - Intensive tutor-led retreats with Janet Gover and Alison May

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild OneColorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild One
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