Last week I made the four-hour journey north to visit the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Held in and around the wonderful Royal Hall, it was a real feast of yarns, fabrics and embroidery exhibits. Over the years, I’ve changed my show-going tactics. I used to set off with the focus of a few definite items to hunt down. Now I aim for a more relaxed approach and go with the flow of what grabs my attention when I get there. While this approach may not be so productive in terms of finished projects, it wins hands down for excitement. My purchases this time were a little random but I love them!
I started by falling for the grey woodland fabric. I love the silhouette animals and simple splashes of red for the toadstools, and quickly committed to half a metre of this. Then came the Paris map print (imagine having the plan out the repeats to print this!) and a fat quarter of the gorgeous retro floral. All came from the dreamy Eternal Maker. After this I was relatively restrained and only added two Liberty fat quarters, which spoke to me with the promise of a mini patchwork project.
As if the inspiration of all that fabric and yarn was not enough, the trip gave me a boost for my baking ideas too. I arrived too early for the show, so took a stroll around the centre of Harrogate. The famous Bettys Tea Rooms was on my must-see list and I soon had my nose pressed up against the glass of this amazing cake and confectionery emporium. Sadly there wasn’t time to take tea but I did pop into the stunning wood-panelled shop. It was a world of amazing bakes, from Christmas puds presented in their old-fashioned basins to the most exotic boxes of chocolates. My favourite item was something a little simpler , ‘mouse bread’. This small round loaf is made with an extra lump of dough fashioned into the shape of a mouse, made to look at if it is running across the loaf. Very cute but sadly not the sort of thing I could manage to carry around a show all day.
Having made my own Christmas cake last weekend, I could hardly buy another but I was very tempted when I saw this stunning red and white design. I’d love to recreate this for myself but I don’t think I can be that brave with an icing nozzle. (By the way, my cake turned out fine if a little taller than expected.)
After a crisis of indecision, I did buy a tin of Christmas biscuits plus a little something for a friend’s birthday. It’s his special day later this week, so I won’t reveal my purchase here just in case he’s looking!