Some of the biggest craft and knitting shows of the year are coming up in the next few weeks. There’s The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court, Yarndale, the Bristol Wool Fair and then The Knitting and Stitching Shows in London, Dublin and Harrogate.
These very large shows can be overwhelming – the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace fills three large halls for example – which means you can feel you are missing out on some things. So we’ve collected some top tips on making the most of your trip to one of these big shows.
- Preparation – take a look on the show’s website before hand and spot particular stands you want to visit or demonstrations, etc, you might want to see.
- Make a shopping list – it is a good plan to have some idea of what you might want to buy at a show like this. Otherwise you can find yourself wanting to buy everything pretty you spot. It can also be useful to decide not to buy on your first circuit of the show and make a note of where you see likely purchases and bargains. Then you can go back for them later.
- Set a budget – be realistic about what you can afford to spend. Some people take out their show spending money in cash and carry it in a separate purse. But don’t be too strict with yourself and just budget for the shopping list, you are bound to find the perfect skein you have to have or a great bargain. And everyone needs a treat.
- Bring an extra shopping bag – let’s be realistic, lots of us will buy more than we expect, and packing an extra bag is a lot cheaper than buying a new shopper from a bag retailer at the show.
- Book early for workshops – if you want to learn something new, you will need to book in advance for many of the workshops.
- Buy the programme – when you arrive at the show buy the programme and take a few minutes to work out on the map where your “must visit” stands are. It will make life a lot easier when you plunge into the show.
- Pack a picnic – there are often long queues for the food concessions and these can be quite expensive. However, most shows have picnic areas so pack a sandwich, etc. Also bring a bottle of water, you are bound to get thirsty when you are in the busiest area of the show and furthest away from the tea stands.
- Wear layers – as much as you wanted to sow off some of your knitting, light layers are best for these big shows. It gets very warm at events like these so you will want to shed a couple of layers and you don’t want these to be too heavy to carry round in your bag.
- Go with friends – big shows are much more fun with friends. You have someone to ooh and aah over the yarn with, help spot bargains, and stop you getting lost in the famous Blacksheep Wool yarn pile. They’ll also egg you on to your dream purchase or stop you getting carried away as appropriate. Plus you’ll have someone to prop you up on the way home.