As you may have guessed from a glance at our Craft section, Team Dork Adore are a bunch of avid makers (myself included; I’m a papercrafter/knitter). So when we got the chance to send one of us to The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Kensington Olympia, we jumped on it. I braved the first day crowds (and the two hour commute) and… well, found myself woefully unprepared for just about everything.
So, if you’re heading to Kensington Olympia for the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show this weekend (it’s on until Sunday evening, so plenty of time) here’s my quick and dirty list of tips on how to make the best of it without feeling overwhelmed.
Have a look at the exhibitors list on the website before you go.
This will give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of crafts represented, places to stop at and have a nosy and places to most definitely get your wallet out for. Make a note of stands that you like the sound of, along with the number of the stand so you know what to look out for. It will also help you to make your day at the show a bit more streamlined – and prevent you from walking around in circles too much.
If you’re on the look-out for stock and equipment, make a shopping list.
Again, for the purpose of making your day more streamlined, if you’re coming to the show with the aim to get some good stock and equipment in for your crafty business, make a shopping list. And don’t be afraid to ask about prices so you know if you’re getting a good deal – a lot of stands are offering things at reduced show prices. And in the spirit of shopping…
Decide on a budget/get some cash out in advance.
Some stands do have a card machine, but it always pays to have some cash with you – so get some out before you get to Olympia (which does have an on-premises cash machine, but was in the process of getting fixed when I was there, so hopefully by the time you read this it will be in fine fettle again). Also, it pays to have a budget. There are so many wonderful exhibitors displaying their goods that you and your wallet can easily dissolve into a money-related black hole – so knowing you’re on a budget helps you decide what you really need and what you can do without for the time being. You can always write down the details of a company or take a business card with you and save for later.
Get some cake. Stat.
The exhibition hall (the show takes place on the first floor of Olympia Central) has a couple of great opportunities to sit down with some class food. Central Kitchen, which is on the right when you come out of the lifts, will most likely be packed but there are a few stands dotted around the place which allow you to rest your feet with a sandwich or a slice of artisanal cake – get thee to TK’s Artisan Bakery in the West Hall for a regular tea/filter coffee with a muffin/cake slice for £3.50 after 3pm.
Check out some of the cool features and competitions.
Enjoy the crochet jungle, check out the knitted farm competition, sign yourself up for one of the many workshops going on and, essentially, just have a lot of fun getting involved. A couple of the workshops are most likely to already be sold out, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to pick up a new skill, whether you’re a beginner, advanced or can practically do it in your sleep (…)
Marvel at some of the more… peculiar stuff on offer.
Ever wanted to knit your own mini-Kama Sutra? No? Well, should you ever feel the urge, apparently there’s a book to help…