1 May 2012

ICFH Craft Show

The great thing about joining the WI is that I’ve now meet loads of women who can appreciate a brilliant fabric stash! A few weeks ago I spotted tickets to Aintree Craft Show on offer at Groupon and managed to talk Nic from Nic's Notebook into coming along.

Taken by Nic's Notebook

We planned to get there just as the doors opened and this turned out to be a stroke of genius! When we arrived the hall was still quiet and we managed to browse all the stalls in about an hour. We had plenty of time to compare prices and find the best bargains. Just as I was finalising my fabric purchases, the crowds reached their peak. Suddenly it was a real fight to even see the wares on offer! I’d really recommend going early when it’s wonderfully relaxed.

Fat Quarters & Ribbon
I picked up a pack of eight fat quarters for £10 and some ribbon to finish my gnome cross-stitch. I also found a vibrant green fabric decorated with kitchen gadgets which I couldn’t resist.
Kitchen Gadget Fabric
Once we’d finished our shopping we decided to get a drink before the workshops started. Next time I’ll be taking a trick from the pensioner’s handbook and take my own packed lunch. We spotted rows of grannies tucked behind the stalls nibbling on their home-made sandwiches, which is entirely understandable considering cans of 7Up were a staggering £1.50 each and water cost even more!

Taken by Nic's Notebook

We had our eye on two ‘Quick & Easy Mini Workshops’ the first a tutorial on ribbon embroidery and the second seemed to be called Punch Stars. You have to be quick to get your hands on tickets for these events. In fact if you can see the instructor’s name, it’s worth looking for their stand as it’s the only way to get them before the session starts. Otherwise you better be there early and willing to fight for position at the front of the queue!

Ribbon Embroidery
The ribbon embroidery was tricky and not especially forgiving, but it’s very effective. We only learned a simple stitch, but each person’s flower looked quite different. Nic’s looked like a pretty daisy, while mine looks more like a chrysanthemum. I’d love the chance to experiment more, but the ribbon embroidery kits were a touch expensive, especially when I have a pile of projects at home.

Taken by Nic's Notebook

The second session turned out to be a needle felting machine tutorial. It looked like a normal sewing machine, but instead of a sewing needle the machine has a circle of five felting needles. You just layer your felt and run it through the machine, which mixes the fibres and binds them together. We started with two red felt sheets and applied loose wool on top. Then we cut them into a heart shape and used the felting machine to seal the edges before stuffing them.

While I'm glad I gave it a try, it's not something I think I'll take up. I didn't like the pattern the ring of needles created in the work, and I'm not sure I liked the effect. Being my first attempt this isn't a very good example of the skill, but it's a bit scruffy for my taste.

As you can probably tell, Nic's much better at taking photos than I am! She remembered to take several photos of what we were doing throughout the day, while I only snapped a few boring snaps. It seems I'm distracted way too easily and somehow forget to take photos of people - definitely something I need to work on.

Over all I think it was a really good day out and it was worth the price of the tickets for the free workshops - though there were only twelve places on each course so you really need to make an effort to get on them! I've got two free tickets to the next ICFH Craft Show in Manchester on the 13 -15 September, so who want's to come with me?