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Tag Archives: Crafts
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I’ve decided to dive straight into my first big crochet project. I’ve done the scarf, the dishcloth, and some granny squares, but now I’m yearning for something “proper”. I felt like what I needed was something with lots and lots of stitches, something I could settle down and sink my hook into. I looked around and found this pattern by Attic 24 on Ravelry. It seems to be quite popular and the photos of everyone’s projects were really inspirational. Most inspirational of all is the way Lucy (Attic 24) writes about the pattern. Her enthusiasm is infectious. I’ve splurged a bit and I’m making this up in alpaca chunky wool. Not going to be cheap, but this is going to be a luxurious treat!
I’m doing well on my at least one front with my resolutions for the year. I promised myself that I would learn some new skills, or improve on some of the ones I have. After last year, which was spent mostly being stressed about work, or stressed about being sick… it’s time to invest in the positive!
Last Thursday I went to my first class at The Make Lounge in Islington here in London. I say “first class” because I can spoil the surprise and tell you that I will definitely be going back for more. Lucky for the universe, there are a few great places like The Make Lounge popping up everywhere – spaces for learning and and doing crafts, buying supplies etc. Or as The Make Lounge says “meet people, make stuff”. The space is split into two bright rooms divided by a windowed wall, and there was a chocolate making class in the other side that night. We were greeted by a super sweet workshop assistant who instantly made everyone feel comfortable, given tea, coffee, wine and snacks. I wish I had taken more photos of The Make Lounge but I was too dazzled by their displays of threads and fabric and embroidery threads to get out my camera.
The ‘Learn To Crochet’ class was taught by American ex-pat crafty lady Catherine Hirst, who was a few minutes late due to London Dead Bus Syndrome, but soon had us making slipknots and trying to train our non-dominant hands to hold contorted positions in order to create tension with our crochet cotton. Catherine was a wonderful teacher, obviously very skilled both at the craft of crochet and at leading workshops. (At one point she revealed she had a trophy for ‘fastest crochet’ which she won when she was 17, making her a total boy-magnet, not. Lol.) We were taught to create foundation chains, turn our work, and do the UK version of double and treble crochet. Once we had grasped those basics, we (more…)
Subtitle: Proper Lady Stitching
I’ve been wanting to do a class at the Royal School Of Needlework for quite some time now. I originally got back into embroidery via a Saturday class at The Idler Academy. It was a lovely afternoon which inspired me to pick up my hoop and try something that would take me out of my music-obsessed work treadmill and give me something to do with my hands that wasn’t cooking. Various things, like work, life, and the fact that the RSN classes fill up really quickly, meant it never happened – until now!
The RSN is based at Hampton Court Palace which is just outside London on the Thames. Best known as the residence of Henry VIII, it’s a gorgeous old pile – a mix of Baroque and Tudor architecture, and the very embodiment of Britain’s long-standing rivalry with the French (Hampton Court and Versailles tried to out-bling each other for a few hundred years). Just being on the grounds makes you feel as if you are doing something of great importance. I feel the legacy of centuries of embroideresses looking over my shoulder as I walk down the grand drive in the early morning light. The sun rises behind the palace grounds, so the buildings rise from the earth like a dark mountain as the winter sun blinds you on approach. Surely this is not an accident but is designed to intimidate visitors.
We assembled in the “lunch barracks” – a bit like a prison dining room, where I waited along with 20 or so other silent ladies. Are we all thinking of Anne Boleyn? Ha. Eventually we are led up, through Christopher Wren’s Fountain Court, up many flights of well-worn stone stairs, to the apartments which the RSN occupy on the top floor. As we marched down the long corridor to the classrooms, I can’t help but feel a bit like I’m in a film – it’s all so quintessentially British and wonderful. And I haven’t even gotten to the stitching yet.
There are twelve students in the Introduction to Jacobean class – all female, aged between early 20s to perhaps 70. The room is large, bright white and flooded with light from the windows which overlook the picturesque palace gardens and the river. With such a view you really don’t want to be staring at a hoop, but that’s what we’re here for!
We are greeted by our tutor Helen L Stevens and everyone is given a kit which comprises (more…)
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