I finally made it to the NEC today and had a great time at Sewing for Pleasure. I met some lovely people, saw some fabulous stitching and spent nearly all my money. It's taken me six months to save up for today and a couple of hours to dispose of it. What fun!
As I walked in the doors the first thing that caught my eye was Jane Greenoff's stand. I like her work, I like it a lot, so I went straight over for a look. There are some beautiful pieces displayed on the walls and one in particular just leaped out at me. It was love at first sight. I couldn't see the kit for it at first, but as I glanced around for it, Jane stepped forward to help me and showed me the finished piece which was displayed at the front. Chained down, mind you, as the last one was stolen. It's a small sampler book using lots of different techniques and it's all about flowers. All the materials are provided in the kit along with comprehensive instructions. The threads alone are enough to make you drool. It's truly beautiful and I just hope I can do it justice.
This was not cheap and blew quite a lot of my cash but I had to have it. The colours are gorgeous, which you'll see when I start it as I'll take a photo of the stash inside. It was lovely chatting to Jane too. She was so friendly.
Having made an impulse purchase I headed round to one of the stands that I'd planned to buy from and bought a bag that my light/magnifier packs into should I want to take it travelling. It's been brought out since I bought my lamp at the show last year, which is why I didn't get it then.
Then I followed my usual pattern round the show. Up and down, up and down. Very carefully, so I don't miss anything. I got most of the small bits and bobs that I'd got on my list and a couple that I'm sure would have been on my list had I thought of them.
Note the Hardanger scissors ready for my Sampler book. The needle threader was a free gift from Stitchtastic for going up to the stand and telling them that I get their newsletter. I also had a chat with them about this weekend's Grand Prix. They're responsible for the Hamilton project that I'm working on and have some great car designs.
I went past the Jane Greenoff/Cross Stitch Guild stand again later and joined the Guild. They were extremely nice and not only did I get a lovely free gift of a book of flower designs, signed by Jane, but they applied my 10% discount to the purchase that I'd already made. I also got a £7.50 voucher which I spent on the bookmark pockets above and some Madeira thread which is in a photo further down. I spent quite a bit of time chatting to the people on the stand. I've been thinking about joining for a while and they were so lovely that I'm really glad that I have.
This is the free book that I got plus a magazine from the Immediate Media stand, that I couldn't resist as it's full of pretty oriental designs.
I enjoyed looking at some of the other stands that were there. I like that they mix all the sewing ones up so you go from beads to sewing to embroidery to chocolate - and no, I didn't indulge. There's patchwork and stumpwork and goldwork. All the guilds are there. There are demos and workshops, and I even spent a few minutes chatting to Mr. X stitch.
Then I came across this stand. I remember looking at it last year and thinking that the designs on it were beautiful but way beyond me. This year, after doing what I've done so far on The Great Escape, I'm more inclined to try things so when I saw this particular piece on the wall, I asked questions instead of running away.
Isn't it lovely? It's all straight stitch and it's all in silks. You have to transfer the outline of the design to the fabric for the flowers and leaves, but the cobweb is done freehand. Gulp. Maybe I'll just finish TGE first to get a bit more confident first, although I'm sure I can handle it.
Once I'd been all round the show and got as much as I could on my list, I went back to a couple of places and picked up a few threads to go with the Madeira from the Cross Stitch Guild.
The Pearsalls and the Gloriana are silk, the others are cotton. Oddly enough, I hadn't realised until I got home and laid them all out that apart from that odd cream one, I seem to have co-ordinated the colours.
I didn't want them for any particular project, but I've been wanting to try some different brands and I like to pick colours when I can actually see them rather than online.
So, that was my fun day out. Lots of shopping, but a lot more looking and getting inspiration. Lots of chatting to lovely people, and now, I want to start stitching.