Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The 2015 Handmade Fair: Knitted it, ate it, nailed it.

It would've been rude not to go really, and in the name of research (ahem!) Jaydee and myself set off for Hampton Court Palace. Please don't go all Henry VIII, it was the parky bit with tents and marquees and a whole heap of ladies getting their craft on. In the interests of gender equality, there were some chaps too, but you get the general idea.



Apart from a small issue with Jaydee being on crutches (I am not destined to be a carer, I wander off with handbags when I see something shiny) and a rather tricky junction in London where Nora the Navigator decided to ignore the fact that there were 6 lanes and we needed to know which one to chuffing get into, it was a pretty awesome day.



We'd booked 'Treat Tickets' which meant you got a free gift at a small (we had a snowflake necklace, super Christmassy), a session in the Super Theatre, a tutorial session for an hour and a 'Grand Make'.

The Theatre session saw Kirstie Allsop get her sew on which was pretty hilarious -the thing I like about her is the way that she admits when she's not a pro at something (no one likes a goody two shoes) and if the cameras weren't rolling I can imaging the odd swear when it goes wrong. Lisa Comfort was the expert on hand, who actually went cross eyed when Jaydee asked in the Q&A whether it was 'alright to bodge it'...apparently not. Turns out we might be better with yarn that sewing machines, but the big top was a great venue and after the manic traffic it was nice to sit down for half an hour and have a giggle.




Our tutorial session was with 'I Make Knots' a super yarney collective who can teach you everything from knitting to crochet, macrame and more. Loved it. The mood was really relaxed, we learned to make knitted necklaces and bracelets and I loved the fact that they managed to come and demonstrate finger knitting 1:1 as we'd zoomed through. Even better was the fact that as the last session of the weekend we got to raid their t-shirt yarn stash and take the extra's home.



The last session was a 'Grand Make' which basically means 100+ people in the room crafting together. We chose block printing with some utterly beautiful wood cut blocks. It was Christmassy, and apart from the fact it was a little rushed, made me try something I wouldn't otherwise have done. Might have a go with a potato for Christmas cards...



We didn't spend all day eating, honest...

The shopping was bonkers -you could have spent a fortune on Christmas gifts, and if you are a keen sewer, there was a huge range of fabric to choose from. I was a little disappointed at the small range of yarns -those stands that were there were super quality (Toft for example) but if you wanted T-Shirt yarn, or needles/hooks, you couldn't get it. That said, this fact probably means my kids will get presents this year as I haven't blown the budget!

Would I go again? Hell yes. It's worth it for a day without the kids, a chilled lunch, a cocktail if you fancy it and some great crafting. Here are some handy tips to help you out:

1. Don't take kids (please!). It was fab to have a day off where I wasn't a mum. It was mostly an adult affair and I'd love to see it stay that way for all crafty-mums-who-have-escaped sake;

2. Flat shoes ladies: it was outside, and you'll be dashing about all day. Heels may make the outfit, but come fit for a craft workout;

3.  Book your sessions in advance: if you want something v. popular, book them up ahead of time, and make sure you look at how they are timed throughout the day. Have you left enough time for food (because it's bloody amazing!);

4. Go on a Sunday: it's the last day, it feels very chilled and you might grab some freebies from the tutors or some utter bargains in the shopping tents.

Did you go to? How was your visit? I'd love to find out more xx