The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace is a permanent fixture in the Purl Calendar. Preparations for our new collection were well under way, the printers’ were typesetting our designs, the alpaca biographies were written, but we couldn’t find a commercially produced display that reflected our company ethos and had a low environmental impact. Ten days before the show, Tracy had one of her ‘ideas’! She made a mock up of knitted pockets with a top band and sewed them onto the twisted willow trellis we use to hold the yarn. You noticed the display, not the designs on display! With some adjustment, Tracy decided this would work. Problem – we now needed 24 pockets for the designs and 24 for the biographies, but we only had nine days to make them, we also needed something to attach the pockets to. Kari-Helene frantically was knitting new samples for the show and so outside assistance was urgently required.
In the summer, Tracy had taught four girls to knit, so asked for their help, Shada and Norhan were free, as was a neighbour, Julia. Tracy then took part of her display (work in progress) to join her local knitting group (meets every Thursday at the Empress Pub (off Mill Road), in Cambridge https://www.knit-ting.co.uk/
). Here she met the lovely Katie and between them, these four fabulous volunteers made 18 of the biography holders with Norhan making one of the top holding bands.
In the meantime, Tracy decided it was too time consuming to make 24 design pockets and so decided to knit four really long, big ones. It is far too ordinary to have the proper equipment; so without circular needles of the right size, or the time to go shopping, this four needle contraption was inspired by one of the fellow knitters at the knit-ting group and was quite hilarious to work with!
Next came the idea of attaching the pockets to an expanding twisted willow trellis, Tracy decided to attach the back part of the pocket to the willow then catch the front to the back with a couple of stitches. This didn’t work, neither did the other four ideas for putting the display together! The biggest problem was that the trellis is not uniform, whereas the designs are. Wednesday morning, the day before the show, the day we were supposed to setting up the stand, Tracy took it all apart and did it again. This time, the twisted willow layout became much more integral, with the white pockets woven in between the wood. So, after ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (to quote Shakespeare), we finally ended up with a display.