Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Learning and teaching

I enjoy doing workshops and classes. In pretty much anything, from drawing to embroidery, cooking to willow weaving. I can learn a lot by reading books on various subjects, but I find that a class, large or small, provides like-minded individuals who have interesting viewpoints. Teachers have many, many tricks of the trade to share, and most classes have nice tea and biscuits, too!
So recently I decided I needed some hands-on help with sewing. My grandma isn’t down the road to teach me these things, and I need guidance.
Piping and zippers. I’m in the Big Time now, baby. I’ve done my patchwork cushion; I’m ready to take on the world! In a nearby town is an organisation that offers all sorts of sewing workshops, including dresses, blinds and curtains. They also do a cushion workshop for piping and concealed zippers.

Little Flower helped me to choose this scrumptious fabric. Isn’t it just cheery? I learned how to make bias binding from my fabric (including some excellent tips on how to cut cleverly to avoid wasting loads of fabric, and how to use various sewing tools), pipe all round the cushion, and do that fancy concealed zipper.

You can barely see it, huh? :-) I sure hope I can remember how to do this again – I need to make another one pretty immediately to reinforce the technique. Now I can make all those bags and other pretties that I have in my crafty books!
This is my second workshop I’ve done with group – the first being a fun freestyle machine embroidery class – and I hit it off with the instructor, who combines knowledge and fun in perfect measure. We got to talking about crochet, and it turns out they’ve been looking for someone to teach a crochet workshop...and would I be interested?
Yes indeed! I have taught individual friends to crochet, but a group? I am intrigued and excited! My mind has been racing since, considering what to teach in a two-hour time slot, how to teach more than one person at a time, etc.

A double crochet (US single crochet) dishcloth in the works.

I thought that after the initial “Here’s how to hold a hook, here’s how to make a chain,” it would be useful to have some examples of basic crochet stitches to see and hold. So I’m whipping up a few dishcloths in each stitch. I like to see a section of a stitch, not just a row or two, so I can really understand the look and feel of the fabric made by double crochet, treble crochet, etc. I want to offer lots of tangible examples to demonstrate what is possible once you’ve practiced the tension and holding the hook.
But hey ho, what’s this?

I bought a few balls of cotton yarn for dishcloths – a pale green, a pink and this juicy Sirdar Summer Stripes, because I liked the variegated coral-pinkiness. Then lo and behold, I eyed some green, then peeked into the centre to see a rainbow of shades! (Hence the name Summer Stripes, um, I get it now...) I might just have to find a summer project to see what all I can do with that palette...
How did you learn to crochet? Did you have a project, or just do row after row to practice the stitch? And if you are wanting to crochet, what about it appeals to you? I might have to test some workshop ideas out on all of you!
I leave you with my favourite little bit of springtime, found peeking out from under one of my beloved tulips this morning. Happy crafting!

Chrissie x


  1. How exciting! what a wonderful new challenge, you will be fab-u-lous.
    'How did I learn to crochet?' eh ..... you taught me!
    love that clever cushion
    love jooles xxx

  2. That cushion is so gorgeous - and the zip? What zip? Lovely fabric, reminds me of when I was a little girl (a long time ago!!)
    Angie x

    1. It does have a funky retro vibe, Angie, the photos don't do it justice. I would love to make a matching duvet cover, or at least a quilt...a trip back to the fabric shop, then! cx

  3. Love your gorgeous cushion, the fabric is pretty pretty. How exciting that you will be teaching a crochet workshop! I learned from watching you tube tutorials over and over again!
    M x

  4. Love the cushion. I like the pretty small flower designs.

    When did I learn to crochet? Well I taught myself when I was 9 years old. I persuaded my mother to buy me a leaflet in the wool shop (she's a knitter) and I had access to my grandmothers hooks. A friend and I sat down and worked it out. She used a mirror as she is left handed, and I've not really stopped since.

    I am doing classes, so if you want to contact me at jessiesneedle@gmail.com I will happily share my experiences and lesson plans.

    J xx

    1. That is so very kind! I will indeed be in touch, we're meeting tomorrow to sort out a schedule. Nice to share ideas and experiences! Cx

  5. Lovely cushion...such a pretty print! I learnt to crochet from a friend mainly and then from various online sources. Enjoy planning your classes....it will be fun!
    Helen x