Each year I look forward to the CHSI Stitches event - a UK trade show packed with all things fabric, crafts, sewing and quilting. It's a great opportunity to ogle at new launches, discover different products and brands and meet up with - or indeed meet new - people in the industry. Here's a round up of the day (I went on Sunday), the things I loved, new products I spotted and the British Craft Awards evening!

2019 didn't disappoint. Like last year I met up with my partner in craft (for the day at least!) Samantha Claridge. Sam has launched her own website featuring stunning products she's designed, and she also owns the fabric and haberdashery online shop Sew Crafty. I might vicariously do orders at the show through her, we have very similar taste and she really does have a fabulous eye for colours and prints! Samantha has taught me a lot about fabric and being around her always inspires me.  

One of the stands we can't help but coo over is Rico Design. Always on trend and with a great mix of fabrics, stickers, paper supplies etc, it's a delight. I would happily wear all of these:

They had jersey, double gauze, cotton all with the prettiest prints and some beautiful metallic accents.

We both commented that we find stands of thread so enticing and at Rico Design they had embroidery thread and these very sparkly metallics.

Everywhere I turned, their whole stand was filled with absolutely gorgeous makes. Things I would like to stitch or sew and would happily fill my home with. This bag and the pom pom pack made me smile!

On another stand (in bad blogger form I forgot to note which supplier it was, sorry!), we found these pretty trims. I am all about velvet ric rac now!! I didn't even know it was a thing. And metallic twine too, wouldn't that make the most awesome rope bowl? In a world where I had more time I would use bits like this to embellish everything around me.

So while there were fabric stands aplenty there is something about haberdashery that makes me giddy. It's like stationery. You could buy a boring pen or plain button or you could pick something fun/sparkly that makes you smile.

There were so many incredible button at Jones Buttons, the man we spoke to was very knowledgeable and it was fascinating hearing a bit about the ranges. The shell, enamel and glass buttons were just beautiful and I spied some cool hexie pattern buttons.  I could have filled this whole post with button photos (and I've never even made a button hole!!) but these might be my favourite, the pink and orange of course:

Many of the notions and quilting products I have seen before but then we stumbled on this, the Crafters Dream rotating cutting mat that locks in position. There are two reasons this appeals to me, one my rotating cutting mat (as much as I love it) does come apart pretty easily - while that's never happened as I'm using it, it still makes storing and moving it a bit annoying. The other reason is because if you are using angles on the board itself it would be great to be able to spin the mat and lock it in place. I don't yet know which retailers will be stocking these but feel free to leave a comment below if you know where to get them in the UK.

Back to fabric... one thing I just had to see was the new Ruby Star Society fabrics. Brought to us by their collaboration with Moda, I can't wait for these to be released later this year (in August I believe). I absolutely adore Rashida Coleman-Hale's collections Pop! and Zip! - the bottles and the stripes are a must for me!

And Kimberly Kight's beautiful Anagram collection, which is like a Miami 80's party and can we talk about the grids?!! GRIDS! It's my absolute favourite, very favourite basic, staple, goes with everything print. She has selected a brilliant array of colours (not all shown here) and I will be stash hoarding them as soon as they come out. They'd make fabulous bindings and much, much more.

I also just have to talk about the handle of all the Ruby Star Society prints. They are calling it 'Ruby Star Cotton', a premium cotton substrate that feels lightweight but not too light, soft but not sheeny. It's absolutely lovely and I can't wait to sew with it. They've used this base fabric for their collections so that it can be used for quilting and dressmaking. The handle does feel different and you can just about see how nicely it drapes in the picture above. I was also told that it does not fray in the way lighter cottons sometimes can so that's a big plus too. Can. not. wait!

And since I've mentioned dressmaking here is another brand that we were excited to discover. Clearly they are well established, but new to Samantha and I, this is jersey / sweat fabric / rib / cord heaven. Albstoffe not only has really gorgeous prints, the coolest cuffs ever, and soft beautiful fabric but it's all organic. 

We know I don't make clothes (yet) but this had me wanting to more than anything. In fact I have plans to at least use the Cuff Me to 'pimp' my hoody. They had the hoody of my dreams on the stand too. Look at those metallic knit cords, the huge leopard print and the bee!

I got way too excited over all of it. I forgot to take pictures but you can see many of their prints in action on their instagram page. What I have to tell you is this, the metallics they use in their prints are stunning. So soft, not crackly or (like on some fabrics) just cheap looking. They feel soft and move with the fabric. And where they use them in the knit it's just the same. The do not skimp, this is a quality brand. Ok I haven't washed any of it or indeed worn it but you know when you just know?!

These are samples of the threads from just some of their collections. The colour ways of EVERYTHING was so well thought out. They have a great mix of timeless, on trend and effortless staples - for the colour combinations and the prints themselves.

We were impressed and enjoyed hearing a bit about the designer from the (very endearing) lady we talked to. She was kind enough to give me merch too, three cute octopus keyrings for my kids, who were absolutely thrilled and immediately named them and attached them to their bags!

A couple of other brands I wanted to make note of we discovered through Littondale; one is Painter's Palette Solids (see above), a really nice range of colours with a good substrate and then Sweet Bee Designs, whose collections are very pretty and the new ranges are really fun - there is a particular stripe print I hope to order when it's released.

That pretty much sums up my day at Stitches, we had a great time and it was wonderful to see some familiar faces - my lovely friends Trudi Wood (longarm quilter extraordinaire) and Samantha of Mrs H amongst them!

But it wasn't over yet...

After the trade show had ended for the day there was a quick walk across the hall to The British Craft Awards celebrations! For those that haven't heard of it... "With 30 categories across 6 craft sectors, including Cross Stitch, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Quilting and Papercraft, these prestigious awards celebrate the very best that the craft industry has to offer". The nominations are announced online each year and the public vote for the winners.

I was extremely honoured to win Quilting Designer of the Year. It's a really big deal for me to be recognised in the industry and for people to take the time to vote means so much. I still can't take it in and really want to thank everyone for supporting me. Thank you! My friend John Scott did a fabulous job presenting the awards and made me a little less nervous going to accept it!

I feel like I have a lot more to give and hopefully will get time to release some designs this year that have been a long time coming (from my ages old scribbles and others that have been 'in progress' for quite some time!).

I have just learnt that Karl Lagerfeld passed away today. He seemed like a very self aware designer/artist/creative director and I admire his work tremendously. He said, "there's still a lot I can learn, you always can improve and as long as I have the feeling I can still learn - even for myself- or improve my work, I think it's a good thing to do it". I feel the same way Mr. Lagerfeld.