We made it to Harrogate in good time (where it was a sunny, winters day) and piled straight into the International Centre. I cannot imagine how many stalls there were, not to mention the exhibitions. It was massive and everywhere I looked there was something to go mad over.
A real highlight for me was seeing the Royal School of Needlework graduate exhibitions, sadly photographs weren't allowed. The quality and detail of the work was exceptional, employing traditional techniques to produce contemporary pieces. The RSN, based at Hampton Court Palace, are so highly regarded they make all the coronation regalia for the monarchy. I'd love to have studied there.
Casting Off- 350 knitters from around the world knitted a sailing boat and the sea life to go with it.
I really wanted to bring this king crab home with me, what lovely crabby coloured wool.
Karen, Phillipa and I sat and ate our packed lunch in the Royal Hall, which had been turned into a tea shop/cafe for the show. It's a really amazing Edwardian Theatre, we sat on red velvet flip down seats to eat our sandwiches taking in our gold sculpted surroundings and planning the afternoons route round the stalls.
I bought lots of very special buttons from The Button Lady, her stall was dubbed 'the oooh ahhh stall' and it was just that. I totally blew my button budget without even a scrap of guilt. Watch this space to see what I have turned them into.
I also purchased a contemporary stitch piece of a Blue Tit by Catherine Ellis Roberts. I kept pondering over it all day but decided in the end, given that Joey seems to be single handedley annihilating our local Blue Tit population, it was just too lovely not to have. Will post a picture up when the little blue fella arrives in the post.
You can see more photos of the day on my Flickr page, there were too many to post them all on here.
My absolute highlight of the day however was the hairstyles of these two elderly ladies. It was amazing, sections of hair pinned into tiny curls from the crown, like a little hair hat.
To be honest I lost track of what I was there to look at and just followed their hair around for a good half hour. I've never seen anything like it and especially not in duplicate. Karen said they were probably spinster sisters/best friends who lived together and did each others hair.
I so wanted to be in their hair gang.