Crafting with Kirstie at The Handmade Christmas Fair

At the weekend, Kirstie Allsopp brought her Handmade Fair up North to Manchester, just in time for Christmas. Manchester Central was overrun with designers and artisans eager to share their expertise, and crafty people wanting to pick up new skills and be inspired.

Crafting under the railway arch, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

A Full Experience ticket to the event included access to three crafty workshops and entry to the Christmas shopping village; all the ingredients to capture that early festive feeling – and an unmissable opportunity for a mother-daughter day out.

Skills Workshop

Our first chance to get our craft on was a book folding workshop with Kate Bufton. We learned how to transform an otherwise unassuming book, complete with musty smells and discoloured edges, in to a Christmas tree.

Book folding - Christmas tree, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

The upcycling technique is simple but requires patience and attention to detail for the best finish.

Here’s how to…

Starting with a hardback bound book, approximately 1cm thick (paperbacks are less effective, particularly if the spine’s broken):

1. Fold the top right hand corner of the first page and line it up with the spine

Fold the top corner to the middle, book folding Christmas tree, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

2. Fold the folded corner towards the spine again

Make a second fold to the middle, book folding Christmas tree, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

3. Fold up the flap that hangs over the bottom of the page to create a straight edge

Fold up the flap, book folding Christmas tree, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

4. Continue until you have folded the whole book in the same way

Christmas tree starting to appear, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

5. Add buttons, beads, or pom poms to decorate your tree. (Obviously I still need to do this!)

Super Theatre

I have a footstool that I want to reupholster, so a Super Theatre with the Ministry of Upholstery was an easy choice.

Waiting for the super theatre, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

We were give a whistle stop tour of the world of upholstery as Anthony showed us how to cover a footstool. This was also our chance to spend some time in Kirstie’s company.  The format was much the same as one of her craft programmes – and she’s just like she is on TV!

Ministry of Upholstery super theatre, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

Kirstie knew how to ask the right questions; picking up on the things we would want to know when trying to master a new technique. It made for an interactive demonstration, complete with signature Allsopp humour!

I came away feeling confident that, with a bit of time and care, I could master the basic upholstery techniques required for my footstool. The only problem now is how to acquire the tools and equipment – does anyone have an pneumatic staple gun I can borrow?

Grand Make

For our final activity we learned how to make a needle felt Christmas bauble with Jayne Emerson. Needle felting is a simple process that binds wool fibres together by punching them with needles to make felt.

Starting off a needle felt bauble, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

Once you’ve mastered the technique (which only takes a minute) you can let your imagination run riot and create a host of intricate designs.

Needle felt iced Christmas pudding, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

I created this Christmas pudding by building up the layers with different colours to create the icing, holly and berry effects. I’m proud of it but was somewhat in awe of the robins, penguins, and Father Christmases that the more experienced felters produced.

Finished needle felt Christmas pudding bauble, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

Shopping Village

In between our craft sessions we browsed the shopping village. Stalls, bearing everything you could possibly need for a handmade Christmas, jostled for attention under the railway arch of the old Manchester Central train station.

Shopping under the railway arch, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

From fabric to knitting yarn, cakes to gingerbread houses, and candles to christmas cards, there was plenty to get the creative juices flowing.

Crafty Christmas tree, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

Art Cuts sign, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

Goody Bag

As a special blogger perk I received a goody bag filled with lovely treats from across the fair.

Blogger goody bag, The Handmade Christmas Fair, Manchester

Art Cuts, wooden gift tag

Keep this cracker, reusable Christmas cracker

Lubylu, wax melt fragrance

Dear to Me, acorn stamped card

Unwrap Colour, gold washi tape

Pipkits, beaded bracelet kit

Beyond fabrics, seam ripper

London Craft Club, travel pass holder

I can’t wait to get started on my little projects.

It’s not often you get to spend a day crafting without feeling like you should be doing something else. So, when you are invited to be creative with likeminded individuals, it’s only right to jump at the chance.

Keep your eye on The Handmade Fair website for details of next year’s events and in the meantime, it’s nearly Christmas – I can’t think of a better excuse to make something beautiful.

 

Keep reading for more Christmas craft inspiration.

6 Comments On This Topic
  1. Carol Johnson
    1 year ago

    Sounds as if you had an enjoyable and interesting time ,lots of projects to have a go at.

    • Becci Johnson
      1 year ago

      Absolutely! Came away with lots of inspiration. You know where to send any unwanted hardbacks now!

  2. Anne Smith
    1 year ago

    Was in Sweden recently with Peters family and guess who was shown how to do the book folding craft ,,,! I have a sample pattern on how to produce an owl …its beautiful but am not sure whether I can follow the instructions as it’s just like a complicated knitting pattern ! The Craft Fair looked really good ..

    I

    • Becci Johnson
      1 year ago

      Ooh, would love to see that Anne. Do you have any pics?
      If you’re a crafty person it’s a great day out. Keep an eye for tickets for next year, maybe you could tie in a Manchester sight seeing visit that weekend.

  3. Margaret Brown
    1 year ago

    And the little felt keyring, which anybody who wanted it got. Looking forward to knitting slippers

    • Becci Johnson
      1 year ago

      Oh yes, I’ll probably tweet a picture of that when I get round to making it up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.