The latest Big Bead Show takes place on 17 October in Surrey and this coming week the Knitting and Stitching Show (which now features a lot of bead and semi-precious stone suppliers) runs from 7th to 11th October at Alexandra Palace in London.
Big shows full of supplies like these are great fun but they can be overwhelming so we have some top tips for getting the best out of them.
- Preparation – take a look on the show’s website before hand and spot particular stands you want to visit or demonstrations, etc, you might want to see.
- Make a shopping list – it is a good plan to have some idea of what you might want to buy at a show like this. Otherwise you can find yourself wanting to buy everything pretty you spot. It can also be useful to decide not to buy on your first circuit of the show and make a note of where you see likely purchases and bargains. Then you can go back for them later.
- Set a budget – be realistic about what you can afford to spend. Some people take out their show spending money in cash and carry it in a separate purse. But don’t be too strict with yourself and just budget for the shopping list, you are bound to find the perfect beads you have to have or a great bargain. And everyone needs a treat.
- Book early for workshops – if you want to learn something new, you will need to book in advance for many of the workshops.
- Buy the programme – when you arrive at the show buy the programme and take a few minutes to work out on the map where your “must visit” stands are. It will make life a lot easier when you plunge into the show.
- Pack a picnic – there are often long queues for the food concessions and these can be quite expensive. However, most shows have picnic areas so pack a sandwich, etc. Also bring a bottle of water, you are bound to get thirsty when you are in the busiest area of the show and furthest away from the tea stands.
- Go with friends – big shows are much more fun with friends. You have someone to ooh and aah over the yarn with and help spot bargains. Plus you’ll have someone to prop you up on the way home.
And if you find something unusual you don’t know how to use, don’t forget to check the London Jewellery School website for a class to help.