Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Faster isn't always better in craft-land

In this modern age, we are used to surrounding ourselves with technology allowing us to run our lives faster and more efficiently. We are constantly ‘connected’ and the growth of smart phones mean that more and more of us are unable to disconnect from our work lives, even when we get home or are on holiday. The same sense of urgency can be seen in crafting – with the use of rotary cutters and sewing machines to make quilting quicker, and knitting machines so that you can run up a jumper in an afternoon. But ‘fast’ is not necessarily ‘best’ in hobby-land!
At Bee Crafty I often to talking to people about how to get quick, more accurate, more efficient results, but over the past year I have really noticed a change in what people want to do. Many people do not want to charge around at 100 miles an hour in their downtime – they want a break from their busy lives. This has led to a growth in popularity of traditional hand crafts such as crochet and embroidery. This is going from strength to strength as an antidote to our busy lives.

More and more people want to experience the joy of working on something slowly, with precision, and as a project that you can take on holiday with you. Sewing machines don’t usually fit in hand luggage.
Hand work is proving so popular that I will be running 4 part Hand Embroidered Crazy Patchwork workshop starting in September and they are filling up fast! I am enjoying the slow lane as I start making up a sample for the workshop. Here is the first stage (work in progress!)  and I am finding it quite therapeutic.
It helps that we now have a new DMC stand in the shop, with so many yummy colours that I can't wait to try out!
So in a world where everything seems to be rushing along, where instant gratification and a ‘seen it, want it, going to have it!’ culture seems to be ever prevalent, it is a joy to see people stepping off the high speed tracks and taking time to enjoy small, delicate, precious works of art that they are creating with their own hands. If this sounds like you, just take a breath, make yourself a cuppa, and think about taking the slow lane to a beautiful crafted heirloom!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Weird week!

Sometimes they just turn out that way! Highs and lows in short succession, and this week has been like that. A high was finalising dates for me to teach Free Motion Quilting at a retreat in Spain in March - which is hugely exciting and I will share more details when I can. The low was the funeral today of our friend Barbara. She was the wife of Jim, who Paul and I worked with for years. Today was a lovely funeral (if there can be such a thing), with lots of old friends, tears and smiles.
It makes you look at the people around you and perhaps appreciate them a little more. Strangely enough, Jim & Barb came to my Nev's funeral 12 years ago, and here I was attending hers, organised by the same funeral director. So I understand that when these things happen, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel - but sometimes it is a really long tunnel! Having people to keep you company as you wander aimlessly down that metaphorical tunnel is hugely important and I really appreciate everyone who took that journey with me over a decade ago.
But here is a more cheerful topic - I am not a dress maker but I went on a tunic workshop recently and made it in cotton. This weekend I had another go in a softer cotton/silk blend and here is the result. I am dead chuffed and I have worn it twice without it falling apart! Yay!!