Last Monday I attended the CHSI Stitches Craft trade show at the NEC in Birmingham. This is the 3rd year I've been and it was another wonderful chance to see what is going on in the world of craft, what's new, what trends are not going away and what is about to have a revival.
I loved meeting up with some of my blogger friends, the brilliant Jo from Three Stories High and the lovely Corrie from Plutonium Muffin, at the press lunch. Then I had a good few hours to mosey round the show and see all the things. The show is a good mix of big huge brands with enormous and extremely impressive stands and smaller independent companies with smaller but equally inviting stands. It's a trade show so it's mostly craft retailers choosing stock for the coming year but some of the exhibitors do sell directly to the public too.
One of my favourite big stands was Rico Design, a German wholesaler of pretty much everything you could ever want! The photo doesn't really do it justice, (I blame the lighting!) it was SO pretty.
They also had these pretty mood boards round the outside on their stand, I do love a good mood board.
In terms of trends, the first that really stood out was needle felting. Lots of great kits including these cute animals from Hawthorn Handmade
Cake type yarn whirls are not going anywhere anytime soon either. Lots of companies are just bring out more and more in different thicknesses and gorgeous colour combos, I saw this lovely shelf full on the Lion Brand Yarn Company stand.
Amne is a small company that specialise in organic cotton jersey, their fabric is SO soft and they have so many super cute designs.
It's funny when you get to meet someone then realise you have some of their designed pinned to your Pinterest boards! I got to meet the very talented Mrs H and found out they are now offering a range of her amazing bag patterns as physical paper patterns, as well as the PDF digital down loads. Now I love the immediacy of a digital download as much as the next person, but sometimes all that crawling on the floor and sellotaping can be a bit of a pain. There is definitely a place for both I think!
A line of gifts for crafters that I'd not seen before was on display from Vanessa Bee Designs. So much fun with phrases like "Hooked on Crochet". "If I can't bring my sewing I'm not coming" and "Hand's off my Stash". There is a lot more in their range than I photographed, I'm sure we ALL know someone these would be a perfect gift for! They ship worldwide too - yay!
Pinty Plus have a chalk finish spray paint - how is it possible I didn't know about this?! What a cool product. They have loads of other clever products too but this one could be a game changer for me!
This giant unicorn was a photo (and instagram) must - she was on the King Cole stand - what a cutie!
This is only the tiniest taster of the companies at the show and the things I saw. A lot of these exhibitors will also at The Creative Show next month when the public can come along and things are for sale. The giveaway I have for tickets to the show in March is on until tomorrow if you are UK based and seeing all this has tempted you! Pop over here right now if you've not entered yet.