Hello there to all those already out in the ether. By way of introduction, it will rapidly become clear that I am a luddite trying to wrestle with the confusing lingo, jargon and who knows what else of the blogosphere. I'm determined to persevere, in a very intrepid if trepidatious way.
So, what's the point of this blog when there are already loads of fantastic sites out there forging the craft revolution and dedicated to the renaissance in all things stitched, knit, handmade and generally home spun. They present such a wonderful opportunity to get back in touch with a range of skills that our mother's mothers took for granted, found boring even, but that we have lost over the years in the morass of feminism, post-feminism and proto-feminism, and the upsurge in the long-hours culture that has made it impossible to commit real time to recycling, upcycling and the making-do and mend mindset. Who has time to darn socks when you can pick up five pairs for a fiver, or turn up your own hems when you're working twelve hour days before coming home, feeding the family, managing a house etc. Or even just coming home and plonking your exhausted self in front of the TV.
As well as being a luddite, I utterly agree with feminist principles despite having over the years enjoyed getting a little crafty, purely in a stitching sense and armed with yarn rather than anything more sinister; and don't see the two as mutually exclusive. I'm just lucky that as a thirty-something anachronism my moment has finally arrived, albeit rather unfortunately at exactly the same moment that the economy has imploded and we're all having to make-do and mend rather than it being a positive choice in lots of cases.
My view is, however, that we should reclaim this moment and see it as an opportunity coming out of dire times. A chance to start understanding the process of production, where our clothes and knick knacks come from, appreciating the skill and labour that goes into making the things we use and wear on a daily basis. There's an element as well, of simply loving the idea of knowing that some things aren't disposable. My family all have handmade things that have survived the generations and there's something lovely about knowing that my grandmother laboured at an embroidery which has hung in two further generations of houses since the war.
Here comes the honest truth, however. I've always been a rather fair weather crafter and that's where I hope this blog is different. As an enthusiastic amateur, there are more mistakes than successes in the things I stitch, and for every bootie that gets knit beautifully there are three more that have been frogged (a totally new word to me - I love that these crafts have their own language). I'm not going to be writing this as a "how-to", more of a "how have you?" to other crafters out there. I will share my attempts at dress making, knitted socks, and embroidery and ask if other people have had the same experience, understand where I'm getting stuck and, when I find them, share the solutions that I've found for overcoming some of the tricky technical aspects. I hope there will be opportunities for me to find new crafts to learn as well, and when I find a great site or shop that really tickles my fancy because it has a crazy yarn, stocks a hard to find pattern book or just sells beautiful things it would be nice to share that with others who appreciate that these are the finer things in life, as much as any new purchase. And also because no one learns a language overnight or gets things right first time and I much prefer the excitement of learning in a group environment.
Hopefully someone out there will read, but if not I love the thought of having an online creative journal as a way of tracking what I hope (but can't guarantee) will be progress to being seriously crafty and actually a productive enterprise. Next stop ... a pair of socks ...