There are two major craft fairs held each year in Paris; Aiguille-en-Fete (AeF, the international exhibition of needle and thread creative arts) in February and Creations Savoir Faire. The CSF is sponsored by Marie Claire Idées Magazine and is held in November at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre.
They are both wonderful; each is slightly different. While AeF is dedicated to the textile, needle and thread arts in the widest sense, the CSF includes creative cuisine; from cake decoration to artful sushi making, supplies for creating themed birthday parties, textile painting, nail art, do-it-yourself woodwork, furniture art – decorative paint effects and that sort of thing, scrapbooking, origami, beading, and so many more.
There are of course embroidery, sewing and knitting related stands, and books for designs, patterns and instructions on every craft you can think of. Every level of craft skill is catered for from beginners to accomplished artisans.
The exhibitors invest months and weeks of time preparing for these grand salons. Often new designs and patterns are released in conjunction with new yarns, threads, textiles or other materials, kits are put together with patterns and yarn/fabric/thread, hopefully enough to meet the frenzied demand. Finally there is the big job of set up and presentation of the stand. It is always a treat to see the diverse creative displays the exhibitors come up with to present their wares.
I went along with my friend Barbara (of Stitching up Paris) who introduced me to a favourite of hers; a sewing exhibitor C’est Dimanche and their sewing patterns for women and children. Their stand was a hit; the delightful little Miss Dimanche dolls adorned the stand, and everyone seemed to admire the samples of the retro-chic designs. I resisted a purchase at CSF, but after researching on-line I’ve succumbed to the appeal of the cute little doll and ordered my kit for Mademoiselle Dimanche along with the pattern book for her 17 outfits.
C’est Dimanche is the creation of Soeur Alma; she is the pattern designer and creative mind behind the collection. She is a member of an order of nuns, The Contemplative Sisters of St John, based at Notre Dame de Cana in the department of L’Oise in the Picardie region in northern France.
Naturally I checked out the knitting and yarn exhibitors. Aimee and friends from L’Oisivethe had been knitting up beautiful new shawl designs in new yarns ready to unveil at CSF. The verdict: magnificent!
Aimee never stops, while at the show she had knitting underway for the next exciting event at L’Oisivethe – more about that in due course, a colour work class with the inventive Stephen West and I’m all signed up.
My yarn stash cupboard received a little boost from my visit to CSF. Enough yarn in Glazed Pecan colourway to knit the Belmont cardigan from Gudrun Johnson’s Shetland Trader Book 2, and a couple of balls of mohair/silk yarn from Liliana who is a mohair producer and sells her yarns under the Farms of France label. Those are for quick one-ball mini shawl projects.
I had fun seeing all that creative stuff, and came away filled with ideas about things I could do in addition to knitting and crocheting the yarn that waits patiently in my cupboard. I’m knitting as fast as I can, in between other projects. I need to prepare space for the next Aiguille en-Fete. It’s in my diary already for 12th-15th February at Porte de Versailles, 250 exhibitors, the exhibition will have an Eastern theme.