Handmade Fair

Lovely day out yesterday to Hampton Court for the Handmade Fair. A very kind friend invited me and the whole day was my idea of heaven – tons of stalls full of tempting crafty bits and bobs, fish and chips for lunch courtesy of the Sea Cow, lots of tea and, above all, loads of other like-minded types peacefully enjoying a mooch. There was scarcely a single man around and the whole event gave a little taste of what life would be like if women ran the world – a huge amount of bunting, a lot of cake, and maybe a few too many stuffed toys.

There are no craft-type shops near me, unless you count Rolls and Rems down in Lewisham, which is quite a hectic experience. Buying things online is great, but I do miss seeing what I’m getting. Part of the joy of fabrics and yarns is their look and feel, their textures and colours, so this was a real treat for the senses.


Things I bought:

A kit for making my own rag rugs. I’ve wanted to do this for ages, and even made a mat with Child One last year by plaiting old tea towels but it was laborious and is now a bit lop-sided after a few encounters with the washing machine. This kit should definitely smarten up the end result and it makes a tufty rug, not a flat one. It’s from Ragged Life and the idea is that you can use all those oddments of fabric left behind after dressmaking adventures, or even make a memory rug with snippets cut from your child’s favourite garments (after they’ve grown out of them!).IMG_4795

Scarf kit from Mrs Moon. I was seduced by the wonderful softness of their Plump yarn, which comes in a delicious range of colours. Though I seriously will probably never need to buy a ball of wool again in my life, I definitely wanted┬áthis scarf so I’m calling it an early Christmas present to myself. Best thing about it was you could choose the colours yourself, so I’ve got a lovely autumnal mix of greens with rich aubergine.


Black bomber cheddar cheese – alright, it’s not exactly airy fairy artsy crafty, but it does taste really good. I actually got a white bomber, so called because of its white wax rind. I was wondering why the spherical cheese was covered with glitter and had a ribbon hanging from it, when I realised it had been cunningly got up to look like a Christmas decoration. Would have made a perfect present. But too late, as I’d already hacked into it. Delicious!


Death by Tea – whimsical name, wonderful designs. I got some lovely cards and a tea towel for Child One’s second year at uni from this stall. If she’s got a tea towel, she’ll do some washing up, right?

Best of all, I ran into Mary Corbett, a friend and colleague from the Daily Express. We worked on the Diary together, then she wandered off for a gilded life working at Hello Magazine. Now she’s had a complete transformation and turns out to be running the swanky table mat company Clubmatters. I don’t know much about table mats but I do know a thing of beauty when I see one, and these mats are really lovely, fantastic quality with a very luxurious finish. Her latest range features colonial illustrations of animals and pineapples – a traditional symbol of welcome – against soft pastel backgrounds. She also has sets featuring shells, feathers and chickens from the Isle of Mull where she has a home. It’s really hard to get interesting table mats in the shops so if you’ve been hunting high and low, go straight to Mary.IMG_4793

There were plenty of workshops and lectures as well as the stalls, with people like Emma Bridgewater and organiser Kirsty Allsop giving talks, but my friend and I were happy with our day’s wanderings and I went home with quite a bag of booty. The fair is on again tomorrow so don’t miss it if you’re a crafty type.


Leave a Comment