Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Learn to Crochet: Week Two in the big Granny Square house...



So after the giddiness and down-right naughtiness of the previous week, the ladies of Balsham met again and wielded their hooks. And you know what, the swearing diminished. Everyone managed more than they had the week before -and newbie superstar Kate picked it up like she'd done in in a past life.

Despite a torrent of colds, chicken pox and general January snot-mageddon, squares were made -some even in multiple colours which is ace.I think the first two hours of learning a new skill are often the worst -get over the bump of making your fingers do something new and it does click. And there are less grazed knees than learning to ride a bike.

To top off the local crochet craziness, I also gave my first 1:1 lesson this week -proving that 2 tea fuelled hours can turned a knitter into a hooker. We got through a good deal of swearing in Afrikaans ( I can be rude in a couple of languages now), fought off the cat, ate cake and sped through chains to colour changes.

I think this blanket is growing....

Things I've learned  about passing on a craft skill:

1. Use light or bright colours -mums meet in the dark hours when the kids are asleep, or in January light. Dark blues are out, you just can't see them.

2. Sometimes just launching in is more effective than the baby steps, and keeps you motivated when there is quick success.

3. Swearing (in any language) is probably just going to have to be acceptable;

4. When you have a good reason to learn, no one gives in.


Monday, 12 January 2015

Starting out with a hook -Learning to crochet




I led my first class last week, teaching a group of school-mums how to hook. It was hard, for many reasons. Despite the fact that I love crochet and I'm a trained teacher, I had to teach adults, people I know how to do something that I want them to love as much as I do.

In November a shining bright lady asked me to teach her and her best mates how to crochet in the New Year. I was meant to keep it quiet as it was to be a surprise, a gift.  It was in a car park, after the school run, it was cold and with a curly headed monster of a two year old and a grumpy six year old (it was too wet for the park) in tow, I hastily agreed and bundled them in the car. As with most crafters at that time of year I was snowed under with Christmas stuff and thought no more of it.

By the following Monday, that lovely lady wasn't there anymore.


In December, some of the other mums asked me again. I said yes, of course. Then one particular mum thought it would be a good idea to learn granny squares. We could put them altogether and make a blanket she said, for our shining bright lady's two little stars. Done deal I said.

So after some lesson planning (hide fear in the routine of what you know!), resourcing (quell panic through retail therapy) and a last minute search for multiple hooks we were good to go.

That first lesson was hilarious. For those of a sensitive disposition I suggest you stop reading now. Have you gone? Excellent. "I can't get it in the hole", "my hole is all saggy", and "why have I gone tight?" are the politest offerings. Pure filth. Told you craft was ace.

But after two hours of utter concentration everyone had something to show for it. My knees were knackered from crawling around a living room floor (now then...) helping people out. Teaching a fine motor skill is a tricky one -sometimes you have no choice but to take someone's arm or hand and make them work the stitch to show them the movement. Diagrams and written instructions are all very well and good, but it's muscle memory that sticks.

I realised at 2am the next morning I'd made one stitch too complicated -the 'posh' version of a treble, that sits nicely especially in fine work but made my students go more cross eyed than perhaps needed. We can sort that next week. I also realised I talk too fast, impressing my impatience at wanting to move on , hurry up, get to the next thing because it's brilliant when you can do it!

Five (almost) mummy squares!

Here is what we made. Ok, the mums did the coloured bits and I've added the white borders to straighten it all out a bit and prove that even after only two hours you can make something pretty. With class No.2 coming up this week, I think we might be getting well on the path to learning a new skill, spending some time with good friends and remembering a fantastic lady that hopefully would approve xx



Thursday, 1 January 2015

Calming down in January....

I get to the other side of New Year's and want to get rid of the glitz and glitter. This doesn't make me a scrooge -I've LOVED Christmas. I just want some calm. And vegetables. And less cake.




I get drawn to calm, grey, soothing things, which is odd for me being a colour-fiend and usually loving deep brights. It's alright. It doesn't usually last long. Here's an etsy treasury to tide us all over until I return to normal. xx


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Woolly Christmas and a Hooky New Year xx

Pic: Natasha Gash @ Sophie's Smile Christmas Fair 2014

My hook has warped with work this year, and it's really begun to take off! I am utterly grateful to the crochet monsters in my neck of the words who have embraced the bright (often tacky) madness of what comes out of my workbag, and really helped promote my shop this year.

What next? I think 2015 might be interesting....

1. Classes are coming to Cambs! Yep. Going to spread the word and the skills;

2. An animal obsession. It ain't no John Lewis penguin, but there will be a creature!;

3. New skills and my crappy attempts to learn them -time to get technical;

4. Crochet-bombing might happen, keep your eyes peeled;

5. Something for summer -making woolly work all year around!


Have a great Christmas, hope Santa brings you some wool, and see you next year! (or maybe the bit in between) xx

Saturday, 29 November 2014