Last weekend (Aug30 – Sep1) saw the Creative Craft Show back at Manchester Central (formally GMex). This was great news to me as travelling over to Event City at the Trafford Centre was a real hassle. Anyway, with a day free on August 30th, I dragged Alice to the show for the day.
We had a lovely trip over to Manchester. Making a day of it, we went on the bus and tram, saving the pain of parking in the city centre. Fortunately the weather held and we had a fairly warm and dry journey.
As I hadn’t been able to book in adviance, we queued up for tickets, and a very nice lady in front of me gave me a £1 off voucher from the Manchester Evening News! Bit of a bonus. Crafters really are very generous and friendly people you know. The vouchers had obviously been in the paper for a few nights and this lady had brought them all with her to give out to people – how lovely!
Inside the exhibition area there seemed to be a few more stands than there has been in recent years. There were plenty of crafts represented – knitting, sewing, cross-stitch, cardmaking, papercraft and pergamano to name a few. The extreme knitting stand was a particular favourite with Alice – watching someone knitting with enormous needles and 10 balls of wool at the same time is quite hypnotic! Bury Craft Club even had a stand showcasng all their crafts – they have a very long waiting list to join! There was plenty of break-out space too ready for perusing crafty purchases over a well earned cuppa.
I had a good look round all the stands before committing to purchases – it’s not easy browsing with Alice at your heals. I managed to find a few things I needed, an X-Cut guillotine, bowmaker and steel ruler, along with a great deal on some Papermania papers from their black and white collection that I’d been looking for. We also found some fabulous Craft Planet kits for kids. Alice chose the Rudolph and Santa Christmas decoration kit.
There were lots of demonstrations on the stands as well as workshops available for pre-booking. Unfortunately I was unable to try any of the workshops as Alice was not in the mood to sit still! However, we did watch a few of the demonstrations – Rachel John extreme knitting a rug was fun and very friendly, the lady there entertained Alice brilliantly; metallic mesh ribbon bows and accessories from Ribbonbox was amazing to watch, the demonstrator gave Alice a ribbon flower to takeaway.
The organisers had also put a competition in the programme to keep the children amused. Alice spent at least an hour hunting for bits of ‘granny’s knitting’ around the show stands. As all under 16s had free entry when accompanied by a paying adult, it’s quite a good day out! We did eventually finish the competition and Alice headed over to the organisers office to hand in her entry and was given a lolly in reward – a very happy 3 year old.
After 5 hours at the show, Alice (and I) were a little jaded so we headed off home on the tram and bus, for a relaxing feet up and cuppa. Alice immediately opened her Christmas decorations kit and proceeded to make most of the decorations. She only needed my help in putting the cradboard backings on! I was very impressed. She has all her Christms gifts for family made already – I wish I was that organised!
Even though we had a fun day out, the show itself was, for me, a little disappointing. There were plenty of stands and crafts represented, but I was hoping I think for more manufacturers, rather then retailers. It felt like the retailers on site were ones that sell specifically at craft shows or on-line. I would like to have seen some bigger name brands there – HunkyDory, Kanban, Create and Craft etc. It would have been nice to see some of the crafting ‘stars’ giving demos and running workshops. The last time I went to a show at GMex I attended a Debbie Moore workshop, but there was no sign of her this time. With so many of the crafting manufacturers and experts in the region, I find it disappointing that the only major craft show in Greater Manchester, hasn’t attracted the big names. Maybe this can be worked on for future events?