The Important Thing About Equipment 

I’ll let you into a secret….. You don’t need the most expensive gear to get a result. Really. I’m currently breaking in a replacement pair of walking boots. Cost £35. Okay, they wouldn’t be enough if I was going to the Antarctic but I’m not. They need to survive a bit of rain and probably a couple of muddy camps and they will do that. If I properly take up Munro bagging (that habit of all good mountaineers where it’s a proper challenge to climb every Munro height [over 3000 feet] molehill in Scotland [there’s 282 of them]) then yes I will invest in something maybe a little more robust.

The same is true about sewing. I started with remnants of fabrics and hand sewing. Now I have 2 machines and a stash of fabrics. When the west of America was still wild, women would make their quilts with fabrics to hand, some bought in for the purpose but also seed bags or feed sacks. I’m not kidding – Google books If they can do it so can you. Please don’t be fooled or put off by the amount of gear people have. Some of my most useful items are cheap or not even made with sewing in mind at all, like my squared jotter for creating the layouts of quilts. 

Believe in yourself and try.

And what have you achieved this week?

Um… nothing. Well the start and end of the month is a bit frantic usually in the old 9-5 but this time it had some additional complications. It was all early starts, working flat out and my easily confuddled brain was all taxed out in the evening. 

However it is Craft Fair season again!! The quilting/sewing/papercraft… oh let’s just call it the SEC show is on this weekend. It’s a confused show in my eyes. A couple of years ago there were massive complaints about how cramped it was when they had 2 halls to use. Back then it was merely sewing and hobbycrafts. That was fixed, mostly, over the next few shows. Then it evolved and developed a quilting side. Again that seemed ok but last year a rival craft fair staging company brought an English show (or a Scottish cousin) to Edinburgh and turn out for the SEC appeared low. In fact I wasn’t the only one to think that. 

However we are in 2017 now… Some of the traders have disappeared this year including “the book guy” (I’ve never remembered his company name and I regret this now). And it’s all in one massive hall, I believe that the SEC in its great rebrand from SECC (well it will save on the signwriting at least) has melded a couple of the halls together permanently. That massive hall is only about halfway full, there’s a good 20 meters of hall at the back that’s not in use. Worse of all it is becoming very, very confused as a show. It has 3 names – the sewing one, the quilting one and hobbycrafts. Can’t it just have one? Sewing, with all the amazing facets it contains – dressmaking, embroidery, toy/bag making and even quilting – can all live under one loving roof. The related textile arts – knitting, crochet, felting, tatting, lace making and the rest could be happy here too…. Oh wait we have a name for all of these – TEXTILE ARTS!! And they grow in popularity with every breath I take.

I’m not grumpy. The traders go where their time and efforts will make the most money and if that’s not the SEC this time then maybe we will see them at Christmas. (Now that’s a show with 2 names but it has 2 distinct areas to cover and it does.) BUT things could be done differently to help folk out. I might travel to Edinburgh but lots won’t. Things could be simplified and given one name. The stalls could be mixed up a little. I realised that maybe this is actually favoured by the traders and the organisations that attend these shows but having all the guilds and groups “hang out” in one area sometimes makes the footfall uneven. They might get more uptake if they were split up and mixed with the traders (of their supplies) to increase the footfall across the entire hall. (Side note – the only show that gets away with an artist’s area is Festival of Quilts but that is specialist so those going will know and interact with these celebrities of the craft world [or gawp at them from a safe distance because I’m too chicken to talk to my idols])

Sigh. That was a long one. Before anyone takes a crack at me this is just my observations of 7 years of SEC, SECC, Festival of Quilts, Knitting and Stitching show attendance. I often go on more than one day so get a chance to see the busy and the quiet. I also love them all in their own ways and this was the first of the shows I ever went to so I’m extra sad to see it get into trouble. The potential is huge and I don’t want it disappear altogether someday.