So this is a slightly delayed blog post, simply because I have been absolutely wiped out for the last week, but I wanted to quickly get my thoughts up here around Sew Up North.
Last Saturday rolled around after an extremely manic week for me, both with work and dealing with all the many people making changes and asking questions about the event on Saturday. The current round of rail strikes meant that lots of people had to make quite late changes to their plans, which was obviously outside anyone’s control. People were kind enough to let me know about their changed plans in the hope that others could use their tickets, which was lovely of them, but I have to say that the Eventbrite site is not the easiest to use when it comes to managing wait lists!
Anyway, for the first time I actually wasn’t too stressed on the morning of the event. That was thanks to all the lovely people who’d signed up in advance to help out with the running of things of the day. I genuinely cannot thank you guys enough, it made such a massive difference to how smoothly the day ran.
I got to John Lewis by about 9:30, to find a group of eager sewists already in situ! I grabbed a cup of tea and a banana and dived straight in. I spoke to so many people and, as usual, failed miserably to remember names or details because my brain was in total overload!
There was a somewhat awkward moment when Sally and I had to bellow for attention across the John Lewis cafe (which did have some non sewing people in it; apologies to them!) and then the huge crowd of people set off around Leeds.
Personally, I had limited myself to one fabric purchase for the day (because this month includes a trip to Munich where I will be heading to the Stoff & Stil store at speed!) and I stuck to it. Admittedly that one piece was 3m long, but I am thrilled with it! Purchased from B&M, it’s a fabulously soft and snuggly length of plain black, fleece backed sweatshirting and it’s destined to be the hoody and joggers of my working-from-home dreams!
I know; plain black. Who even am I?
I had to laugh in B&M; there was very rapidly an ever expanding queue of excited people cuddling bolts of fabric wrapped all the way around the shop, with others queuing to get inside. But it was all good natured and led to lots of random conversations and comparisons of planned purchases, which is one of the things I love the best about the event.
After a fairly brief stroll around the market and a laugh at some stretch velvet tartan fabric with scottie dogs on it (please tell me someone bought some of this?) I headed over to the Boathouse. And again, failed miserably to be the first there!
It’s a true testament to the benefits of asking for help that I actually got chance for not just a drink but an actual lunch this year; definitely didn’t happen last year! I hope everyone’s lunch was as good as mine! I also unceremoniously grabbed some fabric that was heading for the swap table before it even landed; I restrained myself with some effort from buying it last year (or possibly the year before?) when it seemed half the blogging world had made something with this fabulous deer print so couldn’t resist! Thanks so much for this beauty!
When it came time to draw the raffle, it all got a bit complicated. We’d been promised a PA system but that didn’t materialise and we also struggled to get the background music turned down. Add to that the fact that we were spread across two floors…. well. Thank goodness for extra volunteers to hand out physical prizes and take email addresses (thanks Heather and Simona) and to incredible sponsors who were willing to be downstairs on the receiving end of a WhatsApp call being shown pictures of winning raffle tickets! Laura, you are amazing!
49 prizes later and we were done (in more ways than one!) A lot of people had to head off early to face the joy of the rail replacement bus service (Sally included) so things did wind up a little earlier than expected, and all that remained was to cash up.
Again, ad hoc helpers dived in and helped me count the cash, which, after a couple of last minute donations to get us over the £1k mark, came to an outstanding £1,012!!!
This really is astonishing! It’s a fabulous amount of money to raise for a truly deserving cause and I cannot thank you all for your generosity enough.
I think the only slight shadow on my day was my first experience of someone in the sewing community really taking advantage. I won’t name names, but there was someone who, despite having been told (politely and repeatedly) over the preceding weeks that there was a wait list, that you did need a ticket and that we didn’t advertise non-charity events either on our Facebook or on the day, turned up anyway with a big smile on their face and proceeded to push their own business. You know who you are and we were not impressed.
An event like this takes a massive amount of work and effort behind the scenes; Sally and I have poured countless hours over the last 3 years into this willingly, both because we’re firm believers in the charity itself and for the benefit of the local sewing community. I think it takes brass balls to turn up at something like that and brazenly use it entirely to your own advantage and I’m pretty disgusted.
To everyone else, both those who came on the day, those who tried to come and were foiled by transport woes, childcare issues and all the other rubbish things life throws at us sometimes, to the venue and to all our wonderful sponsors: THANK YOU!!
My frazzled brain is still recovering; hopefully normal blogging service will be resumed shortly!
(Also, I failed to take many photos; check out the #sewupnorth hashtag on Instagram for loads of great shots from the day! I’ve loaded photos from my phone into this post; if they’re yours originally, please forgive me and if you’d like them removed, please just shout!)