Last week I told you about the run up to the Stitch & Craft show and how I created the “Mr X Stitch Inspiration Station” (patent pending). This week I’m going to regale you with the tale of how the show went! Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
The show featured an excellent array of amateur stitchery, and was designed to inspire people and help them “think outside the hoop” (TM) and for a large number of people this was a success. It seemed that there were three types of people that passed by the stall:
- People who immediately liked what they saw and came over for a look with enthusiasm.
- People who weren’t sure, saw something that caught their eye and then came for a closer look.
- People who apparently couldn’t comprehend what they were looking at, and walked right by.
For those people who chose to stay and have a look we bombarded them with stickers, laughs, chocolate biscuits and the chance to sit and learn cross stitch if they so chose. Which some of them did. Over the four days of the show we taught about fifteen people to cross stitch, and with a high quality learning experience. Most people spent at least an hour at the stall, sitting and stitching, and the fabulous volunteers who taught them were often found engaging in terrific conversations about all manner of topics!
It was great to see the way people connected with some of the pieces and how they understood that it’s okay to bend the rules with embroidery and to make pieces about anything you fancy. There were occasions when people be standing in front of certain works and you could literally hear the penny drop as they realised it’s okay to make a traditional cross stitch sampler about Lost, or to stitch Lady Gaga just for the heck of it.
Over the course of the four days I got the opportunity to meet several people who I’d come to know via the interwebs. It’s always great to meet people for reals, especially when you all have an appreciation of something as special as stitchery. Because stitching takes you to that special creative space, I find that whenever you meet a fellow stitcher, you know that there is an inherent peace (even if it’s a tiny one) that you both share and it creates a real connection between stitchers as a consequence. So although I’d only briefly spoken with Leti (above) when I met him, I instantly liked him.
It was especially nice to meet long standing members of the Mr X Stitch , such as Taff1973, and finally get a chance to hang out with the people who email us about the podcast or who leave comments on the site. I met quite a few listeners of Stitching and Junk over the four days, and was continually surprised when people asked me how my leg was, or where Beefranck was hiding. (She’ll be involved in this the next time, I promise!)
Clair helped out all day on the Saturday, and as well as bringing some fantastic cupcakes, she also introduced several people to the joys of stitchery. She was fantastic!
One each of the four days I had to give a presentation at the Stitching Live! stand, organised by Cross Stitcher magazine. For thirty minutes I took people on a tour of the Phat Quarter, showing them the kind of stitchery that appears as stitchgasms on here, and helping them understand that these days, in stitchery, anything goes. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, I’d honed my “jokes” and we were really able to entertain people. The most audible gasp of the show was generated by Relaxolotl’s Chernobyl Kinsman (as seen here) which used glow in the dark thread to great effect. It was a terrific honour to be able to showcase the Phat Quarter to people and I hope I get to do it again!
On Sunday I was blessed by the company of five super stitchers from Hull, who taught people to stitch and were excellent! We have visits from other stitchers and I was particularly pleased when Colin (aka Holder of Anime) and Mims (aka LilMissFirefly) got to meet Helen McCarthy (aka Eisner award-winning Helen McCarthy) the person who had inspired them to put needle to aida in the first place! Moments like that really reinforced what a magical space we’d created at the show.
It was a fantastic opportunity to be given a stand at the Stitch & Craft show, and I must thank Twisted Thread for giving me the chance. To spend four days inspiring people with the embroidered artworks that you are all creating, to work with fantastic volunteers who gave up their time to share the love of stitchery with complete strangers, and to meet so many great people and stick stickers on damn near all of them – it was a real honour. Thanks to everyone who helped out and who came to say hello.
What shall we do next?! 🙂