Event Review: IHCF’s Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts, Excel London, 3-5th April 2014
Have you ever been to any of Excel London’s craft events? We have now, and we can recommend it (though sadly if you’re shopping for one specific item it may not be the place to go).
Thanks to a fabulous deal from Groupon, Jackie and I headed down to the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts show on its last day. I’d heard from some others that they weren’t hugely impressed with what was on offer and so wasn’t expecting much. But I had also seen that the Royal School of Needlework were doing some basic workshops in Crewelwork and Silk Shading, so I was keen to see if we could attend one of these.
As luck would have it, we managed to get our spots on the Jacobean Crewelwork workshop and spent a wonderful hour learning four or five different stitches – this in itself would have been worth the entry price and the cost of the workshop, at a bargain £5 including the basic kit. You can take a look at the results of the workshop below:
Wandering around the rest of the show, it was clear that it wasn’t as big as the usual show I go to at Alexandra Palace in October, but they still managed to fill two of the Excel exhibition halls. I found the focus was less on things like cross-stitch (my area of interest), although there were two or three cross-stitch specific stands. Instead, there were many stalls focussed on card making, and fabrics for quilting and dressmaking. There were also a few stalls selling wool, a couple selling patterns and some of the usual stalls for sewing machine sales. Quite a large section at the back of the halls was dedicated to exhibition work. This was from students on courses at the Royal School of Needlework. The Embroiderer’s Guild also had a long stretch of fabric that people were invited to come and stitch something on, and visitors to the event could try their hand at Sissix Applique. Then there were the embroidered portraits, many of them transformed from Royal paintings and miniature pictures, which enchanted me.
I did much less in the way of shopping than I normally would have done, and I was a little frustrated that the only thing I wanted to find (mono canvas) was not to be seen anywhere, but we did end up spending from 10am until around 2.30pm in the exhibition. We brought a homemade lunch, but there were a couple of coffee shops to add to visit as well during our midday break. We were both feeling fairly tired by mid-afternoon and there were a lot of other shoppers to contend with after around 11.30am. Still, by the time we decided to leave, I thought we had a reasonable amount of time to see everything, and it was worth the £4 each we had paid to get into the show.
This event was kindly reviewed by Jo, who is an avid cross-stitcher, in addition to managing the Stitch and Craft Library.