What A Great Day!

Yesterday I had a fabulous day out with a sewing friend called Jacqueline. We were both in dire need of a day devoted to textiles and what a day we had!

You may remember that I did a review of some thread produced by Empress Mills in Colne, East Lancashire following a visit there with another friend, Elizabeth, at the end of last year. During Elizabeth’s and my visit Christine Driver was telling us that her son, Charles, had come up with an idea for Empress Mills to have their own sewing show. When Charles joined us he, too, talked of it excitedly. So, I have been waiting, rather impatiently, for the weekend to arrive and, finally, this was the weekend! Hooray!

Tickets for the show were £4.50 and entitled you to attend the show on both days, if you so wished. Well, that was a bargain to start with. BUT it got better… If you bought your tickets in advance there was a 10% discount making them just £4.05!

Charles had been talking about the show in his regular newsletter and had made it clear that the Empress show would be more intimate than many of the larger shows. In my view, that could only be a good thing. The pre-show information gave some idea of which other companies would be having sales stands and what demonstrations would be going on. Charles also mentioned in the newsletter that Empress were hoping quilters and stitchers would offer items to be displayed during the show.

After all the build up Saturday 11 May finally arrived and, I can tell you, I was mightily excited!

Jacqui and I had agreed that I would pick her up at around 9.00 am and if I hadn’t arrived by 9.15 she would ring me [in case I was asleep!]. I turned up at her front door with a few minutes to spare and we set off. The excitement in the car was palpable! We arrived at the mill where the show was being held just five minutes after the start. We would have been there a few minutes prior to opening but we had taken the scenic route through Colne – hee hee hee!

Upon entry, we were each given a slip upon which to note the number of our favourite exhibit. We were also given a form to complete to be entered in a draw for a £25.00 goody bag. First job was to have a cup of coffee and sample the homemade cakes which we managed admirably before beginning our tour of the show. We decided to peruse the retails stands before the area became too crowded and headed for the sewing machines. The brand on display was Pfaff and there were several models available to try from a small portable up to an all-singing, all-dancing Creative. Jacqui was very interested in the Ambition 1.0 which is an impressive computerised machine.


Whereas I was looking at the Creative 2.0, a combined Embroidery and Sewing machine.

One of us was sorely tempted to part with our pennies but decided against it, even though the prices were very keen.
From the sewing machines we moved on to watch the freehand machine embroidery. This was being demonstrated by none other than Richard Box. He also had items for sale including examples of his work, kits of various sizes and scrap packs. It was fascinating to watch him and learn how he builds up a picture. He had a set of pieces showing the various stages in the composition of a picture of a squirrel which included scraps of fabric for certain elements in the work.
Moving on we watched three people seated at embroidery machines showing a variety of techniques and answering questions. There were hand embroiderers working on projects and sharing ideas for projects and techniques representating several Hand Embroidery Guild groups in the area. The Guild were also displaying the longest hand embroidery in the world and visitors were invited to sew a few stitches themselves – well, of course, it would have been rude not to, wouldn’t it?
The other retail stands were one selling hand dyed threads and other items, a craft book seller and a specialist colour and adhesive supplier. There was also the opportunity to make a small ribbon flower or heart-shaped brooch to take home and a demonstration of feltmaking, plus, of course, the display of items made by ‘Josephine Public’.
Although I didn’t buy a sewing machine I did make a few small purchases. Jacqui and I both really liked a fabric which was covered in pictures of sewing notions so we bought a piece to share between us. I bought a pack of transfer paper for printing images on fabric, a pack of 12 fabric crayons and the last [tiny] piece of this pretty cream and blue checked fabric with hearts on, together with a length of cream and red heart ribbon to complement it. Oh, and lots of coffee and cake – well, we did have to make sure they were up to scratch, didn’t we?
It may not sound as though there was much at the show but, in fact, what was there was so interesting that it was well worth spending time to absorb it all. There was so much that Jacqui and I didn’t leave until almost closing time.
The excitement of the morning was still with us on our journey home: talking about what we had seen, what we would like to try, what was best, whether we should have bought a sewing machine!
All in all, I think it was the best £4.05 I have spent in quite a long time. Thank you for coming up with the idea, Charles. And thank you Christine, Charles and everyone else for making the idea a reality. Roll on the next show!


2 thoughts on “What A Great Day!

  1. Having attended today, I can only agree with all your comments. I met Christine and she seemed to be having a really good time, it was a lovely event. Lots of chatty people, opinions and advice, beautiful exhibits, and caring organisers, that wanted to put on good show.
    My only complaint.(my fault)……I forgot to pre book, doh!


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