This weekend the RDS Simmonscourt hosts the annual Knitting and Stitching Show. It’s basically like a crack den of craft for those of us that are craftily inclined – equally addictive but slightly better for your overall health.
Myself and my Mum, an avid knitter, novice knitter and button-a-holic have made this an annual pilgrimage over the last few years. Last year I had a bump, but this year I was lugging the large boobie guzzler Woodie around while the other pair were off with their Granda. Next year, I’ve promised myself empty arms.
We got to the RDS about 10.30, knowing from previous experience that the earlier the better. With a buggy, a baby and a granny in tow I stumped for the on-site car parking whichat €6 is fairly reasonable and saves the stress of on-street meter feeding or arguing with a bus driver. I had organised group tickets through the Marino / Fairview Crochet and Knitting Group which cost €11.50 rather than the online charge of €14 or the at-the-door fee of €16. Handily enough there was no queue for pre-paid tickets so were were straight into it.
The layout was pretty similar to last year – though I think there may have been more stands as the coffee area seemed smaller. The range was very good. I remember last year reading comments that there were too many material / quilting stands but this year there seemed to be a fairly good mix – though possibly less stands with needles and notions. I did notice a big increase in the number of stands selling felting wool and roving – which I now have a massive crush on.
I had great intentions over the last few weeks of checking though my needles to see what I needed and to have a look at stuff I want to make over the Winter, but that came to nothing. So, afraid I’d do exactly what I dd last year and buy mega loads, I went to the ATM en route and had a cash budget with me – which also proves handy as the cash machines in the hall are busy. That said they do take cards at many of the stands too so if you really want to go yarn-mad there is a way!
In terms of the set up these are things I’d point out to anyone who hasn’t been before:
– Ideally know what you want before you go. Easily said, not so easily done! It’s busy in there so it can be hard to do the sums to work out how much yarn you need etc. If you have an idea ahead of time you’ll make it easier to spot a bargain.
– Watch the prices. Some things I was looking at were as cheap, or even cheaper, in Town. Also there is a massive variation between the stands. We saw large bags of wool ‘on offer’ in one stand that were roughly half the price on another.
– Stock up on small stuff. We found the buttons are fabulous value so you’ll save a fortune there. I didn’t find particularly great deals on needles, but sewing paraphenalia (embroidery hoops, floss etc.) were good value as was cardstock.
– A buggy is tricky so if you have a baby that would tolerate being in a sling for the few hours (mine won’t) then consider leaving it behind. That said, it was handy to bung our shopping into. I didn’t check out any of the changing facilities (third baby was changed in the boot of the car) so don’t know what the set up is like.
– The hall gets busy, busy and hot and stuffy. If you can avoid having coats and stuff dragging off you do. It makes it easier if you’re carrying less. Bring a bottle of water!
– Spare a few minutes to check out the higher quality wools. I spent at least five minutes stroking the skeins of beautiful wool at the Coolree stand (it’s on my list for next year, already) and, for the second year, got beautiful Alpaca from one of the independent producers (Purl Alpaca Designs). It’s more pricey but oh so worth it – particularly if you’re sourcing an Irish product.
So here’s what I got. I was very sensible and remembered the large bag of wool in the attic, but admit I’m sitting here pining for more, more, more! I’m in the middle of an absolute love affair with Alpaca at the moment (more of that again) nd got a lovely kit for a grey Alpaca cardigan for Yoda for €36. I fell for a beautiful pattern for a neckwarmer which I think I’ll make a few of for Christmas, but it was pricey at €7.50. I got a great deal on the Sirdar Indie which I split with my Mum where we got 2 bags with 10 balls each for €29 (from Abakhan Fabrics). And lastly I’m now all set up for Christmas and birthday cards forever with 3 packs of 50 cards for €25 and a new stamping set for just €3.
Given we were trekking around with the baby, we’d not signed up to any classes but, as always, it was lovely to mooch around and see what was going on. My absolute favourite was the Interactive Knitting session being run by Liz Spillane where people were felting the roving for her as she made one of her beautiful creations. I fell in love with the piece behind here in these pics and have now convinced myself that I could make one of these for the new place. Well, I guess that’s what you call inspiring! The wonderful Irish Countrywomen’s Association (watch out for more on these wonderful women next week) and the Ennis Creative Arts Centre also had stellar displays that had us captive for quite a while!
So if you’re off to the RDS enjoy and have fun. It’s a great day out, a lovely atmosphere and definitely a chance to pick up some really lovely crafty stuff.