Once again, this show has not failed to impress me. Now – my mum had a saying: “Better to be born lucky than rich”, and I tend to say that whenever I win something! Once again, I was lucky enough to win tickets for this amazing show, and I have said that I will not go to this show unless I win tickets for it! I have enough projects and enough resources that I really do not NEED to attend any more shows. I know that I want lengths of plain fabric now (or colours with small patterns in colours) – as I have so many ideas to keep me going for years to come.

However, as I won tickets, I attended this show – and as I had two tickets, I invited another friend to enjoy this show as well – and she was able to bring her daughter along to it (it is a bonus that under 16 year olds get in free at this show). As I stated in my review of this show last year, the show really should come with a wealth warning: while the show will improve your sense of health, it also has the potential to seriously damage your wealth!

I arrived just before 11am on the first day of the show. I was surprised by the queue of traffic getting into the parking area. Once I got inside, I was astounded by the numbers of people there – this should have been obvious to me, given the state of the car park when I arrived (almost full). It would be interesting to know which way people usually head first at this show – I usually head to my right, and go in a sort of anti-clockwise direction – going up and down the aisles. It was very busy indeed on the first day, and I found myself getting frustrated by the women (and it was almost all women who attended this show that I saw) who stood in the middle of the aisle chatting. I was on a mission to see it all, and as quickly as I could, so that I could then so round again and start to buy things!

Some Inchies from West Country Embroiderers
And more Inchies

It was lovely to be accosted by people asking about my jacket (my silk harlequin jacket that used to belong to my mum) – asking if I had made it, and some people recognising me from previous shows! I saw Mo Jones on the UKQU stand – and she told me about a new section of the UKQU Facebook group that has been set up for the shows, so that other projects can be displayed – A4 size projects, not only the postcards.

So many of the exhibitors had special offers on; I should mention Barnyarns here, who were offering 1 pack of 2 rotary cutter blades for £3.95, or 3 packs for under £10. Once again, Craig Joubert was there with Marbling 4 Fun, as was Mary Gamester, with the Transfer Painting, The Makerss, Art Van Go, Abbieanne Patchwork and Design, Bicton College, Bombay Stores, Devon Lace Teachers, Dinky Screens, Fantastic Ribbons, Gill-I-Am, GlitzCraft, Holly Tree Fibres, Kallosphere Creative Ltd, Old Vodka, Project Linus UK, Search Press, Shute Lane, Snowdonia Cheese, Solstitch, Stef Francis, Tatting & Design, Totally Beads, West Country Creative, White Gecko Craft Lounge, Pebeo, Glass Garden Studio to name a just a few.

A lace box, with a lace edged handkerchief, and a picture
Tape lace – lovely to see the colours in this – about 25 or 30 years ago, using colour in lace-making was not a big thing
This makes me think of art deco – and I love the use of colour in this
A lovely little bouquet of lace wild flowers – such delicate work – and yet the process to make them really is quite simple to learn!

To my embarrassment, I discover that I missed several exhibitors, as they were in the foyer by the cafe.

For me – and for my friend, West Country Embroiderers were the stand that held the attraction. Visitors were asked to choose their favourite interpretation from the theme of Trees. Each submission was noteworthy in its own right, which made it very difficult to select just three! There were several people demonstrating the craft (as there were on the Devon Lace Teachers). In observing one of the pieces on display, I marvelled at the small stitches – and ladies in my quilting group have commented on my small neat stitches in my Edwardian House stitchery. I loved the idea of doodling on fabric, and then sewing a design over the doodle. Linked to this was the stitchery corner – possibly my favourite part of the day! This was a table set up at the end of the stand, with 4 hoops, chenille needles, a variety of colours, types and gauges of thread, and scissors. The fabric in the hoops had a design on them, and the intention was for anyone and everyone to add some stitching to the design, so that at the end of the show, they could be displayed. There was a guide to some of the stitches that could be used. This was an ideal opportunity to sit down and engage in some mindful stitching – to sit, stitch, and enjoy being in the moment without any rules. This idea inspired me – and now I have yet another idea to add to my already growing list of things to do!

(A selection of the submissions for the Trees competition – these were absolutely inspirational)

If you have not been to this show yet, I highly recommend that you make every effort to attend it; there are so many stands and ideas, especially if you are looking to expand your repertoire, and to embark on a multimedia / multi-textile journey. If you’ve been before, – go again, because there are so many new ideas, new things in the gallery – just like you would attend a quilting show year after year, this is a show to attend each time, – or at least once a year. There are so many workshops that you can attend, that you could spend all your time making things, and not even see all the exhibitors. Even if you think that papercraft, beading and felting are not you – if you are interested in embellishing your work, these stands have something to offer! I thought that The Bead Selection goodie bags for £15 were very good value, and the selections of colours with mixed beads at GJ Beads are very useful (not to mention the kits available for bracelets).

it was the redwork piece in the picture above that I was enthralled by
One of the doodles available for adding stitches to
Another sample available for adding stitches to – this one embellished further with Inktense medium

What more can I say about this show? There is so much to see and do, and it is well worth the trip to it, to see the amazing work that is around; it is fantastic to share this experience with others, and it is a great opportunity for others to be inspired by a great many crafts. Two (or may be three or four) pieces of advice: avoid the first day first thing – the afternoon was quieter, and so it is easier to get to the different stands; take cash – the machines in the main foyer incur a charge for using them, and the wifi signal is not that great (some vendors had a little problem with using their credit / debit charge machines, although I didn’t kind that this time); take a pull along trolley bag (or have your own bag carrying slave) – my shoulders are still aching now; and the last one – give yourself time and permission to enjoy yourself – to indulge in things you never thought you would do, because you never know where your next creative adventure will take you, and the things you will see at this show could easily lead you to new and different places and experiences. You will not be sorry!

Exeter Embroiderers
Close up of one part of an exhibit on the Exeter E,mbroiderer’s stand


  1. Teresa Barrow

    Christine, it sounds as if you had a lovely day out with your friend and her daughter. So pleased you met Mo Jones in person, she does so much for UKQU in terms of the stand at that exhibition & the UKQU postcard swaps, & now the A4 mini quilts initiative will be really exciting. You are absolutely right though about trying other things. I was an amateur dressmaker, then professional embroidery designer & I’m now a quilter, but even now it’s fun to try new things! I am going to local community craft classes on bag making, felting, & ceramics in the near future, and I even made soap, bath bombs & candles a few weeks ago, & the wreath making class I went to, before Christmas, was really successful. So create away!