Situated at the corner of Awesome and Brilliant, the Tulip Company booth at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London last week drew wave upon wave of intrepid UK crocheters. By the way, the locals do not say “awesome”. I suppose I was the only person among 50,000 who allowed that expression to pass her lips. Every time I let that wretched word slip I was invariably greeted with comments like “Are you from America?”. And as hard as I tried to say “Brilliant!” instead of the A word, I never got the hang of it. The more I attempted to speak Brit, the worse my American accent grew. At least I could be understood by most. I hope.The four day show was not nearly long enough to take in all the sights, with over 300 exhibitors and constant activity. Whiplash was the order of the day because every square meter of this gorgeous venue was jammed with head-turning displays, boundless inspiration and wondrous wares for sale. I can report two other inconsequential downsides to the event: 1) trodden toes from making your way as quickly as possible (like swimming upstream!) to the ladies during my breaks, and 2) aching dimple muscles from smiling. Other than that, I not only survived the trip but returned with renewed dedication to my craft.
I didn’t keep a tally for the first two days, but I counted the number of Broomstick crochet rows I did on Saturday and extrapolated that I must have completed around 80 of my 5 to 10 minute demonstrations over the course of the event. It was tremendously helpful that I did not need to explain “slip as if to purl” even once, because practically every visitor reported that she could both knit and crochet, contrary to my experience with a very different attitude among US stitchers. The impression I got was that there would be much more crocheting being done in the UK if my new friends had more and better access to stylish designs. The hunger for fresh crochet patterns and unique technique (and Etimo crochet hooks, of course) was evident in each appreciative smile and in every voracious gaze. Here’s a look at what I experienced from the inside of the Tulip booth.I’d like to welcome everyone I met at Ally Pally to my site. I see quite a few UK friends among the comments to my last post so I guess you’ve already followed the links I gave you and found me. Hey, I am truly terrible with names and faces, so if you recognize yourself in any of the images here, please let me know and I’ll tag you.
A million thousand thanks to my hosts in London, my new family: Mr. Kotaro Harada, President of Tulip Company (on the left), Ms. Hyomin Kang (the photographer and sadly not in the shot, but whom you’ve seen on this blog modeling the teeniest award-winning gowns in past CGOA Design Competitions), and my three adorable adoptive kids, Ms. Yuko Mizumoto (center), Mr. Taisuke Itoh (right) and Ms. Aki Harada (most likely swimming upstream at the time!). Thanks also to Katie Fowler of GMC book distributors, who arranged for my book signings and supplied the dozens of copies of my books that literally flew out of the booth, and a shout out to Diana and the staff of our retail partner at the event, The Crochet Chain.
In a bit I will be prepared to address the issue of Chocolate Cake in the UK. 🙂