Since I moved to Ireland I've found that craft shops, yarn shops and fabric shops are much rarer than in the UK (where you're spoilt for choice and practically tripping over them) so I look at the DKSS a bit like a parched man in the desert looks at an oasis!
In previous years the focus has very much been on quilting and paper crafts, and there were still plenty of these, but this year there were many more yarn sellers, and people selling more contemporary fabrics suitable for clothing (Amy Butler and the like).
I'm not a stall photographer, and frankly even at 20 past 10 this morning it was really too heaving to be able to take decent stall photos, so you only get a photo of these gorgeous buttons; everything else I bought (apart from a tin of quilting safety pins) has gone in the wash already.
Aren't they beautiful? They're about 4cm in diameter and are made out of coconut shell. Loooovley...
And in my wanderings around the show, I discovered something, and it's this: the secret crafting centre of Ireland is Galway. I'm living in the wrong town! I was really surprised to find several really good stalls are based there, but it is comforting to know that there are contemporary craft sellers alive and well on this island!
So I just wanted to do a tiny bit of name dropping of my favourite stalls of the morning, in case you're anywhere near Dublin between now and Sunday...
PippaBlue (from Galway) has lots of Amy Butler patterns and fabrics (including the laminated cottons), also Japanese fabric imports and some Heather Ross Far Far Away II fat quarters. I wanted a copy of Amy's new Sandalwood jacket pattern (and would have had a Rainy Days hooded raincoat pattern too) but they hadn't arrived in time for the show, although I was assured they'll be in the shop by next week.
Rags for Linda (also Galway based) had a really good selection of patchwork fabrics.
There were several other Galway-based stalls but I'm ashamed to say that it was such a blur that I've forgotton who they were.
Village Fabrics (from the UK) had a more traditional line of quilting fabrics but they also had several types of cotton batting, and were very helpful at recommending which was best for what. Unfortunately they don't sell on the web but are very happy to post stuff out, and suggest co-ordinating fabrics etc if you send them swatches.
Doughty's (also UK based) are here again this year and have a quadruple sized stall of quilting cottons. I seem to remember i had quite a wodge of stuff from them last year, but this year I managed to stick to my shopping list (well, nearly) and didn't buy. But by the time I left, you had to practically elbow your way past them as there was such a frenzy of buying activity going on. They do sell on-line, and have a good selection of Rowan fabrics.
It was also nice to see some of the local Dublin area shops had stalls this year, notably A. Rubanesque (who do more types of ribbon and trim than you could possibly imagine (and my lovely coconut buttons)) and Murphy Sheehy who had some fabulous (I mean FABULOUS!!!) bolts of wool for coats and some Liberty fabrics - can't see those hanging around for long. I was really tempted by the wools but didn't know how much I'd need for a coat so decided I might just have to had a trip to their Dublin shop next week instead.
I was disappointed that there were fewer stalls selling buttons this year (I had quite a few on my shopping list), and pleased to see fewer Ideal-Home-exhibition-type stalls (you know, the ones that sell plastic vegetable graters and non-stick egg timers). And it was also nice to see a drop-in learn-to-knit area (Knit 1 Pass it on) next to the cafe, as well as the usual workshops.
More on my fat quarters (of fabric, thank you very much!) at the weekend.