It was the Minerva Meet up this last weekend & whilst I was going through my photos of the day & evening I was trying to work out just what to say about it. What would you be interested in?
As a reader you might be interested to know what it is actually like to visit Minerva’s premises, to meet the family behind the online fabric & crafts emporium,. You might also be curious about the day’s programme and doubtless be after a few funnies. And the frocks! You must be interested to see the outcome of so many teaser posts prepared by the Minerva Blogging Network - just what kind of a costume drama did we put on ?
As a fellow participant you are bound to want to check out the photos ! (Because you know already how great it was to see you all for real – longstanding blog friends & some new ones too) But the question is of course, have you been papped? Any compromising photos? It’s at times like these that I wish my camera was a bit more powerful as I don’t think I have done it justice, but accept them as classic “excited & in the spirit of the moment- snooper shots” taken from the wings …
As someone who works at Minerva Crafts, you already know how much I (& everyone who I spoke to) enjoyed such a well organised, fun filled day & evening- & how wonderful it was to meet you all. It has been described by many of us as a very special weekend, & a big thank you to you all & of course to Vicki for all her months arranging it.
There is a danger that this could be yet another Scruffy Badger Shaggy Dog story. So I shall try to keep focus. I will not narrate the course of my weekend- promise! So I will focus on some specific delights. The first delight was the first sighting of the legend that is the Minerva Crafts warehouse. Seriously folks, the train is 5 seconds from making a stop at Darwen Station & a rooftop slides into view proclaiming “Minerva Crafts” about 10m from the platform. Alighting the train & stepping from the station into Darwen itself you cannot fail to notice this.
Bang right off the train. I couldn’t help but mosey on over & say hello to Vicki & her family before I even worked out how to get to my hotel. The shop is a festival of colour! I was lapping up all the fabrics arranged by colour (& reveling in the anticipation of being able to peruse at length the next day), & the ribbons,threads & bindings – a glory of rainbow hues …
OK. Next delight. I was going to be meeting Sam & Maria (all the way from Australia who was making an epic tour of Eurpoe with her husband) & was really looking forward to that, but when Vicki told me that Karen had literally left 5 mins before I arrived I became even more hyper. We all ate out in Darwen at a traditional Italian, Mangiamo which turned out to be an excellent evening, great tasty value. You’d expect us all to have a great time in conversation (not just sewchat!) but Karen & I particularly I think continue to cry with laughter at memories of the waiters’ exuberant search for any excuse to celebrate. Karen, this one’s for you.
So the day itself had a packed itinerary with workshops & guest speakers. I was so busy gassing & fabric fondling I didn’t take pics of any of the other workshops. But here I rekindled my basic crochet skills & have to say that I have been hooked. [GROAN]
Here Louise & I are, ably assisted by some Bucks Fizz starting our crochet market bag. We are using cotton yarn that is flecked with sparkles!! We joined other crafters & at times the concentration was palpable. Our excellent tutor was Alex whose enthusiasm was contagious & she has a huge abundance of patience with us all asking the same kinds of hooky loopy questions. I was expecting to be able to complete my bag to stuff full of fabric to take home with me, DOH! I know crochet is quick, but it’s not that quick!!
I was thrilled by the guest speakers – all travelling up from London, all confessed to some form of pre-talk nerves but certainly didn’t show it. Karen was very engaging, & brought more than a few laughs from the audience when we all revealed the honest truth about how none of us are “perfect” sewists & have all skipped so called hallowed sewing steps (eg pre-washing, sewing over pins). And I was tickled by the contrasting gasps & giggles over the use of fabric shears for cutting paper !
Elisalex & Victoria gave us an insight into the development of the By Hand London company, including the kickstarter campaign which was fascinating. Even though we all know that starting your own business is not as glamourous as it looks, but the BHL girls are the personification of the glamourous party lifestyle aren’t they?! We got a sneak peak of the new pattern, learned which has been the most popular pattern (Anna dress) & found out even more about the pattern design process, something I thought was really interesting.
I was delighted by meeting people. Not only the people behind the blogs, but also people who do not blog, but are crafters and stitchers, some of whom actually read this blog. So hello to all of you who said “Hi” to me on the day. And to the lady who said to me that she likes reading this blog because I make clothes that are everyday clothes that people might wear, that really resonated with me. Thank you, because afterall, that is what I am trying to do – even if I need to divert myself with a bit of frockery every now & then!
Another delight. (Just imagine how long this would be if I wasn’t only focused on delights!!) Being able to touch & scrunch the fabric I’d seen on the website. And, being shown into *the warehouse*. People, this is floor to ceiling stocked with fabric. It is the fabric “Wall” (GoT reference).
Here are Marie, Sam, Amy, Maria & Katie actually *in the warehouse* squee! And yes. I did buy some fabric. But will save that for another post.
Want to see some evening pics now? Well, you know that we were all making a special outfit for a special meal out? And this is what I showed of mine. As I watched the other bloggers reveal tasters for their outfits I’d worked out that I’d already given rather a lot of the game away with mine!! The only thing you hadn’t seen was the fluff on the bolero & me wearing them!
Lots of ladies in lots of gorgeous frocks. (We couldn’t all fit in a line & I am so glad it’s not just me performing squats so as not to block out the person behind.) I cannot start to describe this bevvy of beauties. From full skirts with crinolines, to sequins, flounces, maxis & bare shoulders the DJ was quite right in spotting that “The ladies from this Minerva blogging network never turn up to a do & spot someone else wearing the same thing”.
There was plenty of this going on. Oh, & I forgot to mention the venue. Blackburn Rovers! How we loved saying, “We’re at Blackburn Rovers, because we sew”!
We were treated splendidly to a wonderful meal- yet another delight! And then there was dancing. Frocks hit the floor!
And our most glamorous hostess deserves a pic of her own. Now, the question is, which Shirley Bassey song is she singing?
I’ve run out of words. Did I satisfy your purpose for reading? I’ve lost track & there’s a banana cake in the oven & some washing to hang (including my fabric ).
A great big thank you to Vicki & her family for such a fabulous meet up. Minerva is a family run business & they put their heart & soul into it. It was a privilege to meet the people behind such an award-winning company! And to be there with fellow sewists just trumped it. There are rumours that this might be the start of an annual event ….and I am loving having a crochet project during TV wind-down time in the evening before bed!
Oh, & my dress? I’ll have to show you that in slightly better light in another post!!