I duly went to the NEC, Birmingham yesterday. A very odd greeting. Outside the main concourse there were a dozen people clunking about, waving weapons and dressed as Star Troopers. There was no notice up to say what they were advertising. Indeed there their only function appeared to be standing with visitors to have their photo taken!! In addition, there was an 'Indiana Jones' cracking a very long whip. I don't see that this had much connection with 'Sewing for Pleasure' and 'Embroidery and Fashion' which is what I had come to see.
The two combined were smaller than the 'Sewing for Pleasure' I attended two years ago. I guess the recession is responsible. There were nothing as many fabric stands as last time. However there were old favourites, Oliver Twists - where I had a commission from my sister, Dorothy and managed to find some thick, strong cotton for myself. I want this for Japanese binding. I also, at last, managed to find some Guterman buttonhole twist - sold as Top Stitch - for the same purpose. That was at Barnyarns. Art Van Go and Ario were also there. I recently bought some Bondaweb on the net and was surprised at how little I got for my money (In pounds sterling, 3.75 plus 2.50 postage). I bought some from Ario - I got six times as much area for 3.50 Pounds sterling. I now have enough to see me through for some time!!
When I was in Tampa Bay in 2008, Dorothy took a group of us to a quilting shop - printed cotton heaven. I bought enough of one fabric to make two shirts which were very successful but I also bought some smaller bits which have been sitting around waiting for inspiration. I rather fancied making a shirt of a plain colour with patterned collar cuffs and front band but needed a plain cotton - I got it yesterday. I am pleased with the combination and am inspired to get on making it. I also saw Gill Arnold at her stand, wearing a fantastic fitted jacket of creamy Linton Tweed trimmed with black. She had a red jacket on show with a red/yellow silk trim and an asymmetric collar.
Design Matters were there in person. Several of the items they have discussed on Design Matters TV were there, including a quilt based on black cotton treated with bleach and some portrait quilts. There were a lot of stands of Colleges offering Textile courses and several stands of artists showing pieces for sale. Slightly odd since most people attending would be thinking of making things rather than buying finished items. These stands did not appear to be attended. One or two were where they were courses and smaller items for sale. The economics of having a stand must be quite a headache.
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