This day last week I was in textile heaven, wandering around the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. My head was in a whirl (or was it a whorl?) as I ricocheted from crochet and jewel-coloured yarns to embroidery, felt, fabric and exquisite artworks. There was so much to see and so many textures, colours and creativity that it was all a bit over-whelming really. ‘Haberdashery heaven’, for sure, but there’s only so much walking around I can do, particularly in crowds! Although I probably missed out on a lot of things, I would like to share some of the high points for me. Maria Boyle is an applied artist and textile designer working mainly with the ‘soft materials’ of cloth, wool and thread, often using natural and textured fibres. These are carefully dyed, hand printed or painted and then manipulated with hand stitch and knit to create tactile one-off pieces. Her beautiful work was exhibited alongside Hanny Newton, whose work pushes the boundaries of how embroidery is used. We had a brief chat about the beauty of lichen-covered rocks and I told them about Sherkin Island and its lovely rocks before bumbling off to see what the next exhibitor had in store. Shona Skinner’s work has to be seen to be believed. This incredibly talented artist creates seascapes by deconstructing and fusing fabrics and using free machine embroidery, like a paint palette, to build up images. My photo isn’t great so do check out her website. For an idea of what can be achieved with felt, see www.bridgetbernadettekarn.com Colinette Yarns have been on my radar for many years and I have ordered from them on-line. I took the opportunity to enquire why they don’t have stockists in Cork as I feel that their ‘cornucopia of beautiful yarns’ would sell well in this part of the world. Then there was this breath-taking piece called ‘Constrained’ by Celia Stanley. This post could go on forever but I’ll end now with a story about Wildsherkin hauling a huge stash of Stylecraft Special DK yarn on her back through the Underground and managing to squash it all into her 10kg hand luggage to board a return flight to Cork…and she was very glad she did. Now in the hands of a certain fifteen-year-old, the yarn is softly undulating and rippling itself into this wonderful wavy blanket by Lucy of Attic24. The next Knitting & Stitching show will be held at the RDS in Dublin from 30th October to 2nd November. Last but not least, this post hasn’t been sponsored in any way.