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Jenni's top tips for the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

I always look forward to my annual trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate. I have been for the past 4 years and without fail come home with a bundle of sewing-related delights.  I am not a knitter and am always relieved in a way, as I am not sure I could manage the whole show in one day (or financially) if I was also lured to the gorgeous wool stands.
Here are my top ten tips:-
    1. Do take some cash if possible - it makes everything quicker and last year the cash point outside the building wasn't working.
    2. Try and write an essential shopping list before you go and check it at some point.  As a quilter I always stock up on 505 basting spray and some different threads to try out. If you can get a large can of 505 for around the £10 mark it's a good deal. You will find such a huge variety of thread weights and colours that is a great opportunity to feel, see them and challenge yourself to try something new.
    3. If you are a dressmaker know what type of cloth will suit your next project and how much you need to sew it up if the fabric is 45 or 60 inches wide. If you don't yet have a pattern then I usually buy 2.5 metres if I plan to mke a dress and 1.5 for a top or pencil/ A-line skirt.  There is nothing worse that running short and having to source the same cloth again, and I am speaking from experience!!
    4.  Do find time to look at the exhibition stands. There are always some amazing textile works on display and often many of the makers are there to chat with.
    5. Wear comfortable shoes and try to layer up rather than taking a big, heavy coat.  There are cloakrooms but once you are in there you will be too giddy to queue and will want to start browsing straight away!
    6. There are places to eat lunch buy they get incredibly busy.  We always get a stamp on our hand to say we have paid entry and head out for a good hour.  Last year we had wine and noodles at Wagamama (5 minutes walk) and contemplated what to buy on our return.
    7. You cannot enter with large backpacks so think about bags you can carry your statsh in, and be comfortable.  I bought the beautiful bolga basket (pictured below) last year then used it for the rest of my goodies.
    8. If you plan to do a big swoop first, and then go back to buy, do make a quick note of the stand number and hall you want to revisit.  It is very easy to get disorientated and frustrated when you can't locate that perfect Liberty cotton.
    9. If you go with more than 1 friend perhaps plan to meet up at different points. We have never managed to stick together in the past because there is just too much to see, and often long queues to pay. I also think it is more enjoyable if you are not worried that your friends are waiting constantly.
    10. And finally do plenty of self-gifting! This is your hobby that keeps you sane throughout the year and brings you happiness. I often buy many things and then distribute them to my family to be gifted back for Christmas and my birthday. 
    I always try not to miss:-
    • Janet Browne (stand TG109) Janet dyes fabric and stitches beautiful birds and landscapes. She also works to commission and made an amazing work for my friend's 40th last year.
    • Beyond Measure (B160) Grace has a thoughtfully curated collection of sewing notions and gifts - it's the best place for presents for crafty friends, but buy yourself a treat too.
    • Emma Garry patterns (C570) - modern fabrics and independent patterns, what's not to love!
    • Japan Crafts (C580) - sashiko kits, exotic fabrics that you don't see very often and expert knowledge on hand. 
    • Empress Mills (A175) - Charles and Christine know threads, waddings and interfacing inside out and all their team are super-friendly.
    • Fabrics Galore - (C240) - I have found Liberty chambray, jersey and there is always plenty of Tana Lawn on this stand but it does get super busy so be patient!

    A big congratulations to everybody who won tickets to the show is our giveaway. Don't forget to share your highlights with me either by posting on the Jenni Smith Sews Facebook page or tagging me on Twitter or Instagram @jennismithsews.

    1 comment

    • Vic

      Great tips! Thank u for the tickets x

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