The Big Textile Show

There seems to be at least one yarn or textile festival every weekend at the moment. I’ve been suffering from real indecision about which ones to visit. Last weekend was one of my few free weekends until December, so it was fantastic to be able to visit a local event. This was the first Big Textile Show and the organisers managed to pack the venue with inspiring displays, demonstrations of textile crafts, traders selling lovely textile goodies and interesting workshops.

I loved these colourful rag rugs; summer and autumn, don’t you think? You really do want to give them a good squeeze – actually, walking on them in bare feet would be wonderful!

Colourful rag rugs

 And this little felted man is so full of character! Don’t you just love his hair?

Three-dimensional felted man

This amazing knitted hanging basket was made by a member of the Lutterworth Embroider’s Guild. Clearly, the Blue tit isn’t hungry; he’s ignoring the knitted caterpillars!

Knitted hanging basket with flowers, birds, moss
knitted hanging basket with caterpillar and blue tit
Woven wall-hanging in browns and blues

This beautiful wall-hanging was also made by a member of the Lutterworth Embroider’s Guild. I love how the colours change. And just in case you’re wondering, members of the Lutterworth Embroider’s Guild do embroidery and had many fabulous examples on display.

One of the many fascinating demonstrations was braid making. I can’t remember what type of braid this was, but each thread had a wooden weight hanging from the end – it looked like a giant frame for making bobbin lace.

Braid making

There were many familiar faces selling goodies. Here are Julie and Sue from Knit ‘n’ Caboodle. They specialise in sock yarns and have many scarf and shawl patterns knitted using one ball of sock yarn. Their stand is always wonderfully colourful. They will also be at The Knitting and Stitching Shows at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate and Fibre Flurry in Birmingham.

Julie and Sue from Knit 'n' Caboodle

These cute buttons are from Knit One, the lovely yarn shop on Queen’s Road, Leicester.

Ceramic buttons from Knit One

Kits for these adorable bears were available from Parvabrook; the undyed yarns come from different breeds of sheep.  Sue, the owner is the vice-chair of the Manx Loaghtan Sheep Breeders Group. ‘Loaghtan’ is Manx for ‘mouse brown’ although there is nothing mousy about the colour of their fleece – it is the lovely warm brown used for Alice and Benjamin.

Display of hand-knit bears

Some stallholders had travelled much further; The Old Bookshop came from Camden in London. They had a fantastic range of old books on textiles and fashion.

Display of second-hand textile books

A couple of these books went home with me! Both books are typical of the 1980s in that they have few colour images.  Don’t let this put you off – both are inspiring.

Inspiring knitting books

Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor is a classic. There are chapters about the history of Fair Isle, the techniques and the patterns. You know from my previous posts that I love Fair Isle knitting, so I’m going to enjoy reading this book. Isn’t this photograph by Dennis Coults wonderful! The black and white really shows off the Fair Isle patterns.

A Shetland Couple wearing Shetland knitwear

Jan Messent wrote ‘Have you got any wool?’ with the aim of inspiring knitters and crocheters to experiment. There are lots of great ideas to get you started. Look at these fantastic knitted vegetables!

A selection of hand knit vegetables

The Big Textile Show is the only yarn or textile festival in the East Midlands. This is quite surprising given the long history of the textile industry in the area; it was great to see the skills of local people showcased.

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