Sunday, 12 September 2010

I Knit Weekender - London: Review

Finally it arrived! I've been so excited to go to this event - it involved an early start, getting up at 6.20am to get up, dressed, fed and out to catch the bus to town to get the coach to London. I'm not allowed to travel alone due to my fits, so Stew gallantly volunteered to come with me for the day - he is good like that! Coaches are the cheap way to travel - it worked out at £12 each return to get to London from Cardiff - not bad at all really. The downside of getting the coach is that it takes about 3 hours to get there, when it is more like 2 on the train, there is not much leg room, and we ended up with a "chatty" couple in front, talking loudly about everything and anything... so it was a LONG trip down.

We arrived in the Big Smoke at 11am at Victoria Coach Station, and headed off to find Emily at the tube station. Emily lives in Peterborough near East Anglia - the other side of the country to us, so it made sense to meet in London and head over to the Expo from there.
10 minutes walk from the coach station was the Royal Horticultural Halls - we spotted the Weekender straight away from the decoration outside:

So we went inside - it was £8 a ticket - I booked in advance for me and Stew, and Emily bought hers on the day. They didn't offer a disabled discount like most fairs which was a bit disappointing, especially as Stew was only coming in with me in a carers capacity.

Well... it was a mix really. What was there was really good - there were some fab stalls selling vintage goods, hand spun yarns, felting etc - there were some really beautiful yarns on offer - mostly in the higher price bracket of £10-20 a skein weighing about 100g, not that great for those on a budget.

Some of our fave stalls included Belina Harris-Reid and the Knit Expo, offering hand dyed yarns, patterns and knitting retreats to Devon (!!!), the stunning merino yarn on offer from Sweedish company Millamia - designed to be knit for kids but the yarn is so soft I bought some to knit for myself, and the stunning Alpaca yarn from the Toft Alpaca Shop - offering stunning yarn in beautiful colours, and dreamily soft to the touch, and kits to knit gorgeous bags and hats. They have also got homemade giant wodden buttons to die for!

One of my favourite stalls was there - Rachel John and her giant knitting - this one must have been a mammoth one to knit! 


I think that those were whittled from tree branches - must have been about 50 strands in all! Last time we saw Rachel I bought some large needles to make blankets which I featured in my previous blog post.

I think the downside of this event was that it was much much smaller than we were expecting. It took us less than an hour to walk around all the stalls - there were approx 50 stalls in all in a large hall. for £8 per person we were expecting it to take us much longer to walk around. We were also a bit disappointed that each of the lessons were priced up at about £20-40 per session, putting them way out of our price range. There were supposed to be fashion shows, but there was no-where to sit to view them (the few seats there were were taken), and with the PA blaring out I couldn't hear what they were saying anyway - whilst we were there it was someone talking about garments on stage with them on a rack - not really a 'fashion show'...

The bit that I was most looking forward to was seeing my competition entry on display, and seeing what everyone else had come up with. To my dismay, they weren't on display at all - and when I asked about it the response was that "that had not received enough entries" and were considering extending the competition. This made me a bit angry if honest - I put a lot of effort and time into entering the competition an getting it in on time, and to be told that they hadn't bothered to display the entries, and worse that they weren't awarding prizes was really sad. It seems very unfair on those who did bother to enter that you would change the boundaries of the competition after the closing date to suit them. I hope that they sort this out soon and keep to the spirit of fairness by awarding the prizes to those who have entered already.

So a mixed view of the event. What WAS there was great - but was it worth £8 each to get in and travel from Cardiff...? Not so sure...

So after a few hours we went to the pub to chat and catch up, and decide what to do next. Emily went off to meet our friend Gemma who lives in London. Stew and I jumped on the tube and went up to High St Kensington - a cool and hip part of the city, where I went to the Urban Outfitters Sale (woo!) whilst Stew found a couch to sit on, and then we had some tea in Wagamamas - a noodle and rice bar serving Oriental food - this is me tucking into the Cha Han; like a massive bowl of special fried rice: (wearing the headband I knitted for the event)

It was SO yummy! We travelled back on the coach - this time the man sitting behind SNORED the whole way home....sigh... we really don't have much luck with the people we travel with! 

So a good day out! Even Stew seemed to have a good day too. He wants to whittle me some of those giant knitting needles now!

Reminder! My Giveaway is still open until 19th September so get looking now - it's being hosted on Tigerlily's Book Blog and is accompanied by a review of my slouch beanie hat...



  1. Loved your post, interesting. I'm sorry they didn't display your entry, I would have been upset as well.

  2. Sounds like a fun trip, despite the disappointment!

  3. It looks like it was a long day for you. Sorry it didn't work out as expected :(

  4. I know there were issues with the show, but I had a great day out overall - it was nice to visit London and get some sneaky shopping in!