To Inspire…

PHD 2Before I opened my little crafty store I used to shop in other ‘little’ stores to get my inspiration. I would browse, chat, explore the products, ask questions and generally try very hard to glean a little idea then I could develop it at home. The problems occur once it has gone wrong!

All this happened before the arrival of Social Media and its lovely, almost endless, supply of ideas. Today we can visit Pinterest, Facebook and even look at the websites of micro businesses that Tweet their web details to us via Twitter. We share via Instagram and Google+. Whilst my background as an IT teacher would welcome that situation I have always felt that I had a grounded attitude to the IT world. On a number of occasions my class would debate ‘bricks & clicks’. Often the outcome has been that there is a place for all aspects of communications in the world.

As custom in my shop has increased I hear more comments from customers that show me they love to communicate face to face. Crafters love to see, touch and feel the results of several hours creative work. I find myself still encouraging people to have an exploration of the Pinterest pages etc but then so do I. I do so love to see the ideas that I could never find just by looking in the shops. What we seem to be achieving is a balance between the two worlds. The opportunity to share inspiration both physically in our workshops and virtually in the social media world.

This weekend we have had our regular Projects Half Done (PHD) workshop. It was a full session with 8 lovely crafters bringing in projects that are not finished for one reason or another. Some of these people are regular attenders at what is a crafty version of a ‘Knit & Knatter’, some of them were new. At the time the ‘regulars’ were the new people there were similar statements made about the projects – “I must get this finished”,  “I started this when my child was small – now an adult” and even “No idea where to start to get this finished”. You don’t always find the answers to these statements on social media.

phd 1

This week of our new attendees we had a retired lady that had just had a go at knitting a jumper for the first time in quite a number of years and a lady that had mentioned she had a tapestry that she had found that was around 25 years old and that she decided she should really complete. As the afternoon developed I loved listening to the chat and the stories that the group work their way through – whilst sipping tea and munching delicious cake. One of the most ‘profound’ comments came from our retired lady – ” I cannot remember the last time that I talked as much as this!” …and there we have it! The art of conversation, the ability to communicate and the desire to share… both the new visitors decided that they were now ‘inspired’ to carry on with their projects and that they would be finding another PHD ready for next month!

Inspiration is a wonderful thing….

Its a Crafty World!

crafters in the North West of England, I am coming to get you!!

Oh Sew Crafty Logo

When I set off on my crafty journey 3 years ago I had a mission – I wanted to spread the crafty word and get my town crafting. Once the business was open in October 2012 I realised very quickly that the town was not enough! I needed to spread the word to  wider audience and start Lancashire crafting… This year I am thinking this focus still needs to expand… crafters in the North of England, I am coming to get you!

As part of our service we provide regular classes for both young people and adults. The sewing classes have seen so many fabulous projects completed. I love to see the smiles on people’s faces when they complete a particularly tricky skill with the fabric, or when they complete the garment and try it on. For the young people it is the way they perceive the tasks required to complete a task – ‘not more pins!’ is a usual comment. ‘Why do we have to tack the fabric? Can we not just sew it on the machine?’ – then the moan that usually comes when they realise they didn’t tack and the seam is not straight – seam ripper at the ready! Finally they get to smile when the task is complete! It might be a bit wonky… or the seam not straight – but it is their work; their efforts.

Our one-off workshops provide a session of fun, chat, good company, crafty skills… oh and usually CAKE! (One cannot craft effectively without cake!). Over the last year we have enjoyed sessions in needle felting, fascinator making, woolcraft, rag-rugging, paper-crafting, lace-making, beading and jewellery making, sock knitting and much more. Once again the most enjoyment for me comes from seeing the crafty results from people that really didn’t think they could do it.

This year I have begun my lace-making in earnest and I have to admit that I am really enjoying it. I love to sit down and absorb myself in the fine art of bobbin winding in readiness for a new project. The anticipation as to what the project will be like is really quite exciting. Wrapping just the right amount of the thread, pairing up the bobbins and working out the pattern, frustration when I have to pull it back but ultimately joy at the finished article.

The shop has undergone some changes in its stock over the year so that we can support the every changing trends in crafting. We have however continued top stock the usual supporting resources for the sewing, knitting, crochet, papercrafting and beading groups. There will be an expansion of the fabric stock this Spring as I anticipate the Great British Sewing Bee will continue to wave its magic wand on the nation, encouraging them all to have a go at making their own clothes. I wonder what else would be good to stock? What else will the future hold? What lovely gadget will Kirsty Allsopp demonstrate in her crafty TV series that will ensure the public race to get hold of but there is never enough…leaving the nation with a famine of ‘must have’ tools!

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