I do most of my work with my hands. I love to make things for myself and others. My hands are almost restless. It seems that I must always be in the middle of some creative process or I feel “itchy.” It started with cross stitch in my early teens and took off from there.
Papercraft – Card Making, Scrapbooking, and Beyond!
I had got quite a few finished cross-stitch projects under my belt, and I discovered the instant gratification of Papercraft. It started with Rubber Stamping. I was reading an Online Diary (precursor to the blog) and saw that this was a hobby, not just a way to quickly mark office papers with a single word, or for return-addressing envelopes. There were pictures! Patterns! I got very excited, bought some beautiful pearlescent card, a medallion stamp and heat embossing supplies and got stuck right in. I had to mail-order my stamps back then. I made special trips to London to a stamp shop called Blade Rubber Stamps, which at the time was in Neal’s Yard. I bought some teeny tiny stamps and spent my non-Christmas stamping time decorating stationery, because I was still writing actual, paper letters back then. I would add a pretty stamped border to each page.
In the years that followed, the increase in internet shopping, QVC and more magazines coming out, I got into cardmaking and started selling my cards at craft fairs just for fun. I don’t sell anymore, not widely, but I still enjoy making cards.
I branched into scrapbooking just before I got pregnant with my first child– and not a moment too soon! A friend of mine was a Creative Memories consultant and I saw her scrapbooks and that’s where it began. I found a scrapbook supply shop at our nearby Mall (Lakeside in Essex), and I frequented it and their other shop in Hornchurch to pick up more and more supplies. My children enjoy volumes of photos and stories about them, and I still enjoy scrapbooking today.
Papercraft has taken me further. I also like to make 3-D flowers and displays in box frames. These are great for commemorating occasions or just letting your creativity flow in ways that cannot be kept in an envelope or stored in an album.
I love to share skills with others. If reading this makes you curious about papercrafting, why not organise a Discover Papercraft day? It’s a fun diversion and you just might find a side of yourself that you didn’t even know existed!
Crochet, Knitting and Textiles
My mother’s crochet hooks were all different colours and came in a cool plastic case where they would sit neatly side by side in order of size. My brain liked that. I used to play with them and admire the order of it all. She taught me the basic crochet stitches when I asked about it, which probably wasn’t until much later. I didn’t think much of it until 2006, when I saw a Crochet magazine in my local WH Smith. It was American. There was not a UK Crochet magazine at the time, so I picked up the import and re-learned the basics from the pictures in the back.
I got attached to the Granny Square and immediately planned a huge blanket project, grabbed all the yarn I could from the local 99p shop, and a few months later I had a blanket made in a pattern of three solid colour squares and one multi-coloured square. This was only the beginning.
By now, a site called Ravelry had come about and I joined their waiting list for an account. It didn’t take too long for them to create my account and since then it’s been non-stop.
One of my favourite makes is Claude the Octopus. His pattern appeared in Simply Crochet Magazine and rights have since passed back to the designer and he can be found on Ravelry. He was sitting in the Unravel & Unwind window and someone asked me if I could make one to sell- so I got permission and ended up making two! I loved doing commissions for other people and started to seek out more crochet-related employment.
Recently I have had the joy of working for Stitch & Story, making samples for them to send to their retailers. Getting work in this area was a real confidence booster and I love the company so much. The feeling was mutual and I was invited to represent them at a couple of trade shows. I hope this is just the start of a new facet of my career!
I am gifted with the ability of finding errors in things. Combine this with my knowledge of crochet and it makes me a good pattern-tester. If you need samples making up or patterns testing, I’m your gal.
Not one to step away from a challenge, I decided to teach myself how to knit. I am glad I have this skill, but crochet will always be my go-to yarn craft. It’s nice to change it up once in a while though.
I also have been trying my hand at several other crafts to do with textile materials: Dorset Buttons, Kumihimo, Embroidery… all firmly in the backseat, but I love a diversion!