Early on Saturday morning I left my little ones quietly going about their mornings, and got on the train to London with my wonderful friend Ashleigh (with coffees and knitting in hand). I was mostly very very excited, but also a little anxious. Twelve hours, and so very far apart!
One of the trains was cancelled, so we opted for the underground and a long walk up the deceptively steep hill.
I've never been inside Alexandra Palace before.
The noise, heat, and colour - it was totally overwhelming, and without the more organised presence of Ashleigh I'd have missed a lot just by meandering from one colourful area to another without any rhyme or reason! From when we arrived until about three o'clock the place was packed; jostling enthusiastic crowds of crafters everywhere we turned.
The first stall that really truly blew me away was this: Natali Stewart's hand dyed yarns. They were displayed so gorgeously, and I just wanted to take them all home with me. More subtle palettes are not my default, and the skill with which these colour combinations were put together was so inspiring and very easy on the eye. I could have spent a good long while stroking these beauties.
Natural Dye Studio, of course.
And I spent a fair amount of my budget on buttons, because Textile Garden had an awesome selection of truly gorgeous options. Little red octopus buttons, zakka-style ceramic effect and wooden buttons with stamped and carved designs, tiny square shell buttons - oh, and a lovely little wooden shawl pin. :)
When we got to the end of the main hall and found open space and a cool breeze, we stopped for a much needed drink and sandwich under the huge stained glass window.
Lots of design elements struck me and got me thinking along new lines. There were some beautiful garments on display (those above are from Purl Alpaca Designs) and plenty of creative stitchery of all kinds from artists and art students alike. I have more crazy ideas than ever.
I was very tired by the time we got to this stall (one of the last on our long walk around) so I didn't catch the stall holder's name, but I did very much admire the colourways of this Blue Heron yarn. The entire event had also gone very quiet, making it much easier for us to retrace our steps back to some fabric stalls Ashleigh had wanted to return to. And I bought some Colinette, because how could I not? (I got Toscana Prism, and Popsicle Art, for a cowl and a toddler Versa vest respectively.)
Before hopping back on to the train home, we had dinner in Yo Sushi at the station. I won't confess to how much sushi we had. We enjoyed in immensely, though.
When I walked in through the door, Talia shouted "MUMMMEEEEE!" with a kind of wild glee, and did a little happy dance on the spot. It took her about ten minutes of hugging me to even ask for milk! Apparently through the day she only asked for me once, taking Martin to the door and pointing at it, demanding to go find me in a most put out tone. After that, he had made cupcakes with them, so obviously that suitably distracted her until I arrived. :)
It was a great day out, with the best of company, and I really enjoyed every bit. Even the aching feet. But also, I do have to confess, nursing my sweet teeny person at the end of the day and her falling blissfully asleep in my arms. Yes, with every kind of wonderful distraction, and a day all to myself, I did miss my kidlets. As Ashleigh had observed earlier in the day, "You just can't turn the mummy off!"