I have dabbled in craft activities since I was a child. My clear preference though is textiles.
I have never been confident with drawing or painting. And I have never been particularly interested in these mediums. Neither is sculpture my thing. I’ve had some fun with ceramics in the past – but could never master anything other than very lopsided pots. Controlling that clay on the wheel has never been my forte!
For me, sewing, knitting and crochet have always been my thing. With the occasional bit of needlework thrown in.
My mother taught me how to sew clothes. And when I was a young adult I made many of my own clothes – including components of my corporate wardrobe. I also married in a dress and veil I’d made myself, with my bridesmaid sister wearing a complementary dress sewn by my mother.
As a child I learned to hand sew and can remember making stuffed felt toys and completing simple cross-stitch patterns.
When I was a bit older I completed a patchwork and quilting course, learning the basics of piecing and hand quilting.
I resumed quilting as an adult, around about the time I was pregnant with my first child. Over the years I’ve made some cushions, wall-hangings and a few quilts.
My mother also taught me to knit as a teenager. I produced quite a few jumpers and a hat for myself. I also remember knitting gloves for others. I am sure I must have made scarves as well. Who learns to knit without practicing on the odd scarf?
I haven’t knitted so much in recent years – particularly as I carry a permanent wrist injury from too much computer use at work. Unfortunately knitting and this injury are not very compatible.
My grandmother was a crochet addict. As far back as I can remember she was always a maker. I know she made other things as well – like a lovely cloth doll with a beautifully decorated carry basket (made with a shoebox under all the lovely frills and mattress!). This was a gift for me as a two-year-old on the occasion of the birth of my first younger sibling.
But despite this memory I know her thing was really crochet. Growing up, my siblings and I were gifted with many of Nana’s creations over the years. As were all other members of her family.
My other grandmother also crocheted. I remember her producing very fine lace work. And I have a beautiful table cloth she made this way.
Just this year I have had the urge to take up crochet again. I say again because I had a vague memory of how to do it. I must have learned it long ago, but the skills lay dormant. For months now I have been experimenting with different patterns and learning new stitches. It’s like I am suddenly channelling my grandmothers! Luckily the action of crochet is easier on my injury than knitting is.
I’ve produced a hat, several pairs of gloves, several scarves, and a series of toys. I also made a very poor mobile phone pouch (an attempt at my own design) and some place mats. I’ve experimented with making flowers and ornaments, and – for all you Dr Who fans – a towel that looks like a Dalek. Right now crochet is one thing I’m really drawn to doing.
So, while my focus changes, between crochet, dressmaking, knitting and quilting and so on, I am at heart a textile crafter and maker.