It is always fun going to craft events, especially when you can meet up with friends and it's in your home town! On Friday afternoon I went to the Creative Craft Show at Event City in Manchester. Last year I wasn't able to go so I was intrigued to see what variety of crafts would be included and, after looking at the exhibitors list, I was keen to pay a visit to the Embroiderers' Guild. There weren't many names on the list I recognised to be honest, still I thought it would be good to have an afternoon out and see what was there. This year I have become an ICHF Events Blogger Ambassador, which means I can go to the shows and share my experience - as I have done that with the CHSI Stitches show for the past four years.

As it isn't a quilt show I wasn't expecting loads of fabric but there were a few good fabric stalls and I chatted with plenty of lovely vendors. There was quite a mix of crafts, some of which didn't interest me - like paper crafting and felting but some of the displays were really imaginative and that was nice to see.

There were some independent designers at the show but given there are so many talented designers, it would have been good to see a wider range of patterns for sewing projects and dressmaking. Fabric, notions and other supplies are great of course but it's nice to have a mix. I was happy to see Beth Studley's stand, full of pretty quilts and makes. You can find a good range of patterns on her website.

There were a couple of book sellers and I spotted one of my favourites:

I met up with a friend from work, who was on a mission and armed with a list of what she needed to buy, and also her friend who had bought some lovely fabric at great prices from Bombay Stores Fabrics.

Along with this pretty bee panel from Jacquelyn Denise, who also had some lovely Simplicity products with gorgeous vintage style (like the bag at the top of this post).

Of course we fuelled up with coffee! They had been there in the morning so my friends headed home and I went to the Embroiderers' Guild stand. I didn't really know what to expect as I hadn't really looked into it but, as someone that loves stitching, wondered if it might appeal to me. The stall turned out to be run by the Megastitchers - the Manchester branch of the Guild. They had a fabulous gallery of work, which I noticed before I realised which stand it was. Happy they include quilts!

The two ladies I spoke to there were so lovely, happy to answer my (novice) questions and talk to me about the projects. When they told me their meetings are close to where I live I was so surprised and delighted. They invited me to join them for a taster session in March and looking at their programme, there are a few other things I would like to go to - so hopefully I can make it. When people are so genuinely enthusiastic about stitching, as well as being honest and friendly, it truly encourages you as it's infectious!

I managed to come away from the show with a fat quarter of one of my very favourite Rashida Coleman-Hale prints, bought from Beth and some pretty lace from Tee Pee Crafts.

It was a fun afternoon and I think it would be perfect for someone getting into crafts because there was a good variety and some nice demos taking place. I would love to see it attract more local / Northern businesses and more independent designers. It was great having an event so close to home and I think could be a more interesting show if it featured more displays - work from guilds or artists. Having more to see would be inspiring and perhaps encourage more people to start crafting or explore other types of crafts. I know that the Embroiderers' Guild was definitely the highlight of the show for me. Being able to talk to people about the work on display meant I learnt how things were created and that made it feel doable and encouraged me to get involved. 

Check out ICHF Events for details of upcoming events and craft shows. I am going to the CHSI Stitches trade show in a couple of weeks, follow me on instagram or facebook as I  will document the day and hopefully have some fun sneak peeks at fabric collections and new products to share with you!