On 18th April there will be a new Spring Lace Fair at Haydock Racecourse. This adds to the current large UK Lace events throughout the year including the National Christmas Lacemakers Fair in Solihull and The Great Northern (Not Just) Lace day in Pudsey. Local lace groups also often hold Lace Days where a number of suppliers are brought together and there is usually a talk, exhibition or workshop- check out the Lace Guild or Lace News for more details. So I thought I’d share some ideas and tips if you’ve not been to a lace day before.
At the bigger lace days there’ll be a mix of suppliers- from those specialising in one thing- bobbins, patterns, tools etc- to those who stock a range of general supplies.
- Take some cash- most suppliers do now take cards but some smaller ones may not, and you don’t want to miss out on a purchase due to lack of readies.
- Take a list- it can get a little overwhelming sometimes and you may be halfway home before you remember something you really needed. I speak from experience.
- Take a big, comfortable bag to put all your purchases in. And if you’ve taken your own lunch, once you’ve eaten it you’ll have more space to put stuff- win!
- Be prepared to get your elbows out a little bit when it gets busy. There’ll quite often be big ‘scrums’ around certain stalls and you have to make sure you get to see what you need to. People are friendly, but it’s every man for himself.
- If you need a lace cushion, lace days are always good as you can feel the weight and quality and get a precise idea of the size.
- If you’re after a specific item, compare prices at different stalls- they’re usually about the same but can vary a little.
The first time I went to the Christmas Fair (then held at the NEC over 2-3 days) I was like a child in a sweetshop. I had only just re-started making lace and spent all the money I took with me (about £100) on buying new equipment and stocking up on new threads and bobbins. However, these days, I tend to spend far less because I have most of the basic equipment I need now- but you always *need* more thread and I always buy a bobbin or two, if nothing else. Even if I don’t have anything particular to buy, I still go along if I can to support the suppliers and see if there’s anything new. Most of the suppliers do mail order or online trade now but you can’t beat being able to see the stock and have a good look at everything, and of course the chance to mix with other like-minded people. Enjoy!
Image credits: 1 & 3. telegraph.co.uk 2. sparklebox.co.uk 4. Paperchase 5. ikea.co.uk 6. http://blog.eureeca.com 8. culture24.org.uk 9. clipartpanda.com7.