My husband and I went to the Festival of Quilts in August. We had been the year before, stayed overnight, went to the show and then drove home. Very tiring. So this year we decided to make a weekend of it - drive up on the Friday, stay overnight, head to the show Saturday and Sunday and then come home.
Great idea in principle; however 10 minutes before we left I put my back out. Luckily DH had volunteered to drive and did a sterling job - took more time than usual to get to the NEC due to M5 traffic, roadworks etc. My back didn't improve for the whole time we were at there - says something when the exhibitors are offering chairs and medication! The only comfortable position was standing up and walking - once I stopped I would seize up.
It only put a slight dampener on our visit. I met up with a fellow longarmer, whom I have known for years, who was exhibiting at one of the stands. It was nice to catch up with her and hear her news about her recent move to Oxford.
We saw Arne & Carlos, who were launching their new fabric range there - but I didn't have the gumption to go up and say hello. I taught myself to knit by watching their youtube demonstrations. My DH is also the receipient of felted slippers because of them - he liked his first pair so much that he wore them out and I have had to make him another pair. Luckily they don't take too long to make and are surprisingly comfortable - and I have plenty of wool in reserve for the next pair!
The quilts at the show were dotted around a bit - a bit disjointed I thought - however they were lovely to look at. I took a few photographs of the quilts I liked. The winning quilts were very nicely displayed so that you could get round them easily.
I went with a budget of what I could spend - and very nearly kept to it. On Saturday we walked round all the stall holders and I made notes of where I wanted to go back to. Sounds a bit daft but I have been caught out before, where I bought something and then found it a lot cheaper on another stand.
On Sunday we looked at the quilts and then I went shopping. I restrained from buying too much fabric, just specific pieces, bought some patterns, cutting templates and a trolley bag for my sewing machine. The 'not on my list' purchase was an A3 size LED light box - not really a box as it is only 1/4" thick and the light can be altered by tapping the switch. It was heavily discounted as it was towards the end of Sunday and DH persuaded me to get it. My Star Buy most definitely.
Are we going again next year? I am not sure - we both enjoyed it and treated it as a weekend away, but it is an awful lot of money for tickets, hotel rooms and food; and the savings at the show aren't that great. Luckily we were able to book a hotel that wasn't too expensive - as the hotels close to the NEC are booked well in advance and some of the rooms left available are £200+ per night! The only advantage is having so many quilts and stall holders in one place and seeing the new products being launched.
Once my bank balance has recovered I may well change my mind .....