My daughter and I nipped across the M62 yesterday to the Manchester Creative Stitch and Hobbycraft show held at Event City, a venue just across from the Trafford Centre.
I had not been to one of these large craft shows before so we were looking forward to it immensely.
Looking back we were definitely novices in the grand craft show experience. I think there is a lot more to be gained from such a day with a little advice. Advice I wish had been given to me.
What we learnt.
Take your own lunch.
Part of the treat of the day was to have lunch out. But the catering facilities were pretty miserable. The organisers were really missing a trick here with a huge captive audience out for the day happy to stop a least a couple of times for refreshment. Oh, the queues were massive for the miserable offerings. The coffee was good but we had to sit on the floor to rest our feet. Seasoned visitors had brought their own lunches, checked them in at the cloakroom facility for £1 and returned to the cool outer foyer complete with numerous tables and chairs to eat.
Do your research and get there early.
We had arrived only 30mins after the doors opened but next time we will be first in the queue to enable us to make our way straight in and book the free hands on courses we wanted to do at various places around the hall. We missed all of these.
Don’t be taken in by the seemingly free shoulder, neck and head massages on offer.
‘Would you like a massage?’ we were asked. We sat down to be handed a card which read we were only to pay what we thought the massage was worth with 20% of that sum going to charity. OK, I thought, that’s unexpected but fine. The card then went on to advise me that the average person gave £10! (£10 for 10 minutes???)So I spent the whole 10 minutes of the massage, which to be fair was pretty good, worrying about how much I was going to pay for 2 massages without looking like a skinflint. In the end I uncomfortably paid £10 for the 2.
Know what you want to come home with and how much you would normally expect to pay.
This one I had actually done. The fabric selection pretty good and the prices a good 40% less than I would normally expect.
Looking back we had a great day. Next time I shall look out for a show which is more fabric and yarn based. About 40% of the stalls were card craft based, something which doesn’t really interest me. The yarn stalls were pretty rubbish, just novelty yarn and acrylic at knock down prices.
I was a bit nervous about taking other photos if there wasn’t anyone around to ask permission but the skill of many of these exhibitionists was something to aspire to.
So what did we come away with? Well I was pretty reserved.
I bought this selection of fabric for baby boys from 3 different stalls. I have bibs and burp cloths in mind for a new baby of an old friend.
My personal indulgence was this gorgeous bunny kit.
I picked this up after the third visit back to the shop . I justify my purchase with the thought that I can reuse the pattern many times and it would have cost me far more than the £20 to assemble all the pieces needed.
I can’t wait to get on with this one. It involves quite a lot of hand sewing which appeals to me because I can do it in the company if others as opposed to taking myself off into our office-come-sewing room.
Watch this space. The ones on display were adorable and I know of at least 2 little girls who would give a home to one of these.
Please, please let me know when you come across any fabric and yarn based shows or exhibitions in the Yorkshire/Manchester/Birmingham area. Being late to this particular party I just read about everyone’s visits last year. I would dearly like to pop some into my diary.
Unfortunately I haven’t crafted much this weekend. Just thought a lot about it!
Love Lucie xx