With everything that’s gone on over the last few months there are a few things in live that have had to slip. One of those has been the time I’ve had to spend crafting. In many ways crafting (along with running) is my therapy. It keeps my head in the right place when the rest of life is manic and it’s certainly been manic of late. Over the years I have written many times on this blog about losing, and then re-finding, my crafting mojo, but this time it’s different. I’ve wanted to craft. Desperately so at times. But there just aren’t enough hours in the day and the kids, keeping a roof over our heads and work has had to take priority. When chatting to my mum one day though she asked what I was up to on a particular weekend and when my answer was “nothing that I know of” she asked me to join her at The Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show at Birmingham’s NEC and I am so glad I did.
It may have meant getting up crazily early for a Sunday and heading up the M1 and M6 when I sort of wanted to still be in the land of nod, but what my day out gave me was so much more valuable than sleep.
I’m pretty sure that regular readers know how much I love crafting. All different sorts of crafting – crochet, knitting, sewing, paper crafts. I could go on for ages. Just like all craft addicts I love being able to go to a show and see a huge array of wonderful things to inspire me to do more with my crafting. And possibly do a spot of shopping at the same time. One’s craft stash can never be too big!
Now I have to admit that I wasn’t all the familiar with the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show before, but I’m not sure why. The people behind it (ICHF events) are responsible for the UK’s leading lifestyle, craft and cake shows and the list of the shows they have on over the next year is pretty impressive. With over 150 exhibitors, and workshops and demonstrations as well, it really was the perfect place to give me that crafting kick up the backside that I think I needed. As an added bonus, entry to the show also covers Simply Christmas and Cake International, which were held in nearby halls at the NEC. When cake’s a bonus you don’t really need much more in life do you?
The thing I most liked about the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show was the mix of crafts it covered. I saw everything from paper cutting to crochet. Dress making to marquetry. It really was mixed. The show also covered Art Materials Live which had more painting material and equipment than I think I have ever seen before.
For me though I was mainly on the look out for all things fabric and yarn related and those were the stalls where I blew my budget for the day. The Stitch-Witch stand was a great draw and I got into the planning for Halloween 2018 by purchasing one of the panel and bunting sets, but I’m still kicking myself about not buying a kit for the scandi style mini-stocking advent bunting when I first saw it on The Quilt Shop’s stand. By the time I went back they had sold out. Fingers crossed that I can get some online.
The bag kits on The Bobbin Patch’s stand were utterly gorgeous. Who knew it was possible to spend so long stroking bags?
I had not heard of The Fabric Millshop before the show, but I can promise you that I’ll be heading their way very, very soon. As well as having lots of gorgeous fabric at amazing prices, they also had a lovely selection of vintage print panels (including a couple that I think I recognise from Ladybird books) and the most fantastic kits. For just £30 you could get a box which contained a lovely dress pattern (New Look 6262) enough fabric to make the dress, zip, interfacing, an invisible zip, and Gutterman thread. For just £30! That’s an absolute bargain. Once again I did that stupid thing of saying I’d go back for one. Luckily for me, my OH is wonderful, wonderful man and snuck off to buy me one before they sold out! Thank you.
The other stall that I knew I couldn’t miss was Black Sheep Wools. I fell in love with Black Sheep back when I did the Spice of Life CAL. At the moment I’m working on the latest crochet along from them (Spicier Life – expect a blog post on that very soon) and so it was wonderful to go along and see the finished blankets and catch up with Sara.
There we loads of other stalls too, all providing me with huge amounts of inspiration, and motivation to get crafting again soon.
Once we’d had out fill of crafts we had a quick wander around the Simply Christmas hall before heading in to new world that is Cake International. Now, I like cake. Especially eating it. I bake a bit, but nothing flashy. I’m more someone who bakes a cake for it to taste good rather than look amazing. Cake International took cake making to a whole new level with some of the most amazing cake creations that I’ve ever seen.
I had absolutely no idea that there were such extravagant cakes being made out there. The scale and complexity of them all absolutely blew me away. Add to that stands selling things that I didn’t even knew existed and you could see why our minds were totally blown. It’s a cake world that I didn’t even know existed. One that even makes some Bake Off creations look amateur in comparison. Heaven only knows what they’d made of my efforts in the kitchen!
What we did come away from the day with though was a great sense of crafty motivation. We may not have bought a huge amount between us, but as with all these shows the shopping haul is only part of what you bring him. Albeit an important and exciting part. I’ve come home determined more than ever to make time for crafting. I need to craft to keen sane with everything else that is going on around me right now. I need to pick up my crochet hook as often as possible, even if only to do a row or two. I also need to get to grips with some of my WIPs and actually finish them. I also need to prove to the OH that I am capable of finishing a project and hopefully I can get my new dress made before it’s warm enough to wear it.
Disclaimer: We were given press tickets for the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show. All opinions remain my own. All items purchased there were with my own money.