The Big Textile show – part one!

Big up for the Big Textile show! What a great weekend, it really wasn’t long enough!

This fabulous show is credit to the organiser Jenny Lees. Jenny is a passionate felt maker and the regional co-ordinator for The International Felt Makers Association in the east midlands. After a trip to one of the London textile shows Jenny decided to organise The Big Textile show to showcase all the expertise she had come across through her felt work, and particularly with a focus on local and quality.

I was attending the show to represent Sew Sociable. Once I had my space set up I decided to go for a quick mooch round to see what was at the show. In my quick flash round I just absorbed so much colour, texture, pattern, vibrancy, dedication and passion for textiles and craft that I thought it deserved a write up!


I had a brilliant time meeting everyone and hearing about all these amazing businesses, artists and groups. So if you missed this fabulous show or didn’t have enough time to see it all, this is who was there:

The Braid society

A charity promoting the craft of braiding, including techniques from all over the world.



Stitch Sainte Luce and Azafady

Azafady are a charity that work for a better future for the people and communities of East Madagascar. Stitch Sainte Luce is a hand embroidery training programme offered to women of these communities to help increase the family income.



Project Linus 

This lovely charity makes quilts for children ‘in need of a hug’.We have been lucky at Sew Sociable to hear all about this wonderful charity  as well as taking part in making a quilt at the event.



Race for Life

I love this story a group that knitted their way round the Race for life – last to finish but what a fun way to do it!



Door to the Himalayas

A business that works direct with the crafts people of small rural Himalayan communities that produce the finest hand embroidered pashminas and shawls.




A small Northampton based group of textile artists producing a variety of work.

Ilze Smith with her work.




A group piece from Facet. Each textile artist interpreted the photograph in their own way….




This must be the ultimate in up-cycling, waxed used teabags by Chris from Facets.



Lutterworth Embroiders guild 

One of the branches of this large organisation. While I was there chatting I had a chance meeting with the regional chairman of The East Midlands Embroidery guild – Pam Keeling.I learned a bit more about this organisation which offers events and workshops to its members. All sorts of interesting stitchery was displayed by the Lutterworth branch.





Cosby Quilters

A group of talented quilters who meet 10 times a year. they have workshop dates and speakers. Their beautiful quilts adorned large sections of this show, it was difficult to choose which ones to photograph!








Creative Bumble bee

Maria runs felt making courses in Leicester and sells her lovely fun pieces which include felt hats, big happy flowers and gorgeous mini landscape brooches.







Arnesby Felting group

Part of The International makers association  were selling beautiful soft merino wool for felt making in a rainbow of colours!



Jennie Ingham

Very exciting to meet Jennie a young woven textile designer interested in producing modern textiles with traditional methods. Inspired by her travels in East Africa she produces beautiful woven products.




Pamela Austin  

I met Pamela on her stand as well as ladies from her social spinning group pictured below:



Pamela spins, weaves and teaches. She specialises in long draw spinning and loves “all things woolly “.



Leicestershire guild of spinners, weavers and dyers 

On the subject of weaving, the Leicestershire guild of spinners, weavers and dyers are a group of over 50 members based near Desford.



I met John who is associated with the Leicestershire guild of spinners, weavers and dyers. He could write a book with the fascinating story of how he came to make natural dyes. Look at this fantastic array of natural dye colours he has produced using everything from red cabbage to walnut!




This is by no means the end of what was on show at The Big Textile show but taking into consideration that this is a blog post and not a book I thought I would break the report into manageable size pieces! Par two coming up ……

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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