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Friday, 22 January 2010

Can I think of a more imaginative title than 'Week Two'?

The MISERABLE weather outside did not deter a large number of people returning for a second Crafty Coffee, in fact, this week there were some new members too which was rather nice.

One new lady (J) felt so inspired that she would like to bring her mother (who is in a nursing home) along for the companionship and to see if she will remember how to knit if the needles and yarn are given to her. Her tales of her lovely (but poorly) mother were both amusing and challenging and raised unexpected emotions in more than one of us. But the chat gives a hint to the fact that A Crafty Coffee is going to be about more than just coffee and crafts.

I (Crafty) feel that I am getting to know new people, and deepening relationships with others, and all through the medium of crafting. This week I completed my [still TOP SECRET] knitting project (Coffee: it is gorgeous!), and learned to thread and use a sewing machine. I am off to the theatre on Saturday and have made my costume so I will look the part at The Rocky Horror Show. Of course, when I say 'made' I mean altered a pair of shorts and hand stitched MANY sequins onto ribbon to make a bow tie, but you know ... for me this was a project. This did leave me at a loss for a project to work on at A Crafty Coffee today, so I looked at patterns and tried to think of where to go from here (Coffee: And distracted me...).

This morning KB was hooking away on some granny squares. She very kindly, and somewhat inspiringly, brought along a beautiful quilt she has been working on. She has completed a City and Guilds course, and her expertise is more than welcome.
Some of us are complete amateurs, others aspiring, and then we have the [what I call] professionals. Or what AS calls, post grad!
AS brought along an amazing jumper she is knitting for her DD, she is designing a cupcake to knit into the pattern for the front and had beautiful seed beads to stitch on for sprinkles.
EN came along with DD (13 months) and bump in tow. She is working on a really chunky knit baby blanket and turns out to be a bit of a 'Jack of all' on the crafting front. When IW (our resident crochet teacher) was asking if anyone knew about rag rugging, EN was just the lady ... so while they chatted on such things I irresponsibly let her DD play with the plastic knitting needles on the table, much to the absolute dismay of Coffee! However, said DD has been 'attachment parented' which is a posh and educated way of saying that her parents are lazy and that she has freedom to get hurt and make mistakes. See the level of discussion we are already having as a group?

Coffee: To the right you will see a beautiful piece of patchwork that IW has done and brought in to show us. I have wanted to learn patchworking and quilting for a very long time, so now know who to go to for advice. I have even started planning my first two quilts - very basic ones - after being inspired by I's work.

Both CL (another newcomer) and SJ were working on knitted garments for themselves (good for them I say). CL was also modeling the most fabulous home knit cardi in a lovely chunky yarn with cable detail and everything. She taught me how to cast on mid-knit which has been a problem for me, and made a useful suggestion for maintaining a tight stitch when I have to make another ... **** oops, nearly let slip there!
SR came along for the first time and was emulating a lovely piece of 'Pia' jewellery in faux pearl, crystal and silver (coloured) chain. It was really wonderful to see different crafts taking place.
HD was able to pop in for the first, and possibly a rare, time. She paints. But felt completely at home drinking coffee and socialising with other crafters. She said to me that she felt the group was necessary and had good mileage. I hope she is right!
I am worried about the people I have not mentioned (like CK with her 6 year old cross stitch) and that I didn't do a headcount, but I bet Coffee will interject here and make up for my inadequacies (Coffee: No inadequacies! But I did count 18 people, again).

Sadly, this week Crafty forgot the camera (MUST try harder) ... but saw new WiPs and even some projects completed from last week. But, more important was the fact that newcomers felt welcome, and returners will return again.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Background

Upon waking, it occurred to me that neither Coffee nor myself had posted any background to the group.

Since about September, Coffee has been teaching me how to knit, and encouraging me to pick up other crafts along the way. She is enormously talented, creative, skilled, intelligent, has a thirst for knowledge (meaning she has started more than one degree course (Coffee: Hey! I object. Although, come to think of it, you have a point...)) and has been a great help to me.

So, we have been meeting to craft together in her lovely little home. In October, this great Lounge Bar opened in the High Street and we began to take our crafts down there once a week (sometimes more as Coffee really does like her Coffee). Being on the High Street, Trago Lounge gets a lot of passing traffic and before long people were popping in for a cuppa, noticing us crafting away and telling us we should start a group.

Having sown (or should I say sewn) the seed, these people came and went, as did many others before we took seriously the need for a group in the area we inhabit. We knew that a knitting group would be too exclusive and that there are knitting groups already. We had a sense that we needed to be more encompassing than that. And, being the brilliant procrastinators we both are, we put it off to think some more.

Finally, we had a few snowy days off school, and as cabin fever set in, we found ourselves in a position to abandon our children in the care of others to frequent our favourite Lounge with a little knitting. It was on this day, Friday the 8th of January 2010 that A Crafty Coffee began its journey.

We anticipate this group evolving, relationships deepening, craft skills improving and caffeine addictions worsening over the coming year! A Crafty Coffee (as the title suggests) gives people a license to craft over coffee in an environment where the washing/ironing/vacuuming etc can't get in the way. We extend a warm welcome to all of you who choose to join in, weekly, monthly, or on an ad hoc basis.

Friday, 15 January 2010

The first OFFICIAL meeting of A Crafty Coffee

Well, after much excitement and anticipation, especially on the part of Crafty and Coffee, the day of the first OFFICIAL meeting of A Crafty Coffee finally arrived.

Crafty: Phew. What a week. That is all it's been, a week since we 'decided' to make A Crafty Coffee official. I've been beavering away behind the scenes generating a poster, and setting up a facebook group with Coffee, while Coffee started this beautiful blog (Coffee: Thank you!). The morning was here, and we were ready!

I literally cannot believe how many people pitched up this morning ... Upon my arrival CK had already bagged the warm radiator spot for a somewhat ambitious (or so I thought) table of 8-10. Little did I know that it would be full, and people be spreading to nearby sofas and tables before Coffee even put in an appearance herself.

Coffee: Yes. The first meeting and I was late - no surprises there! As I passed the window of Trago Lounge I thought I saw a glimpse of a few knitting needles. But when I stepped inside I could hardly believe my eyes! There were about a dozen women of various ages already there, knitting, sewing, cross stitching, drinking teas, coffees, hot chocolates, and yabbering away as if they had known each other all their lives.

The final number of Crafters was 18. An unbelievable turnout for the first meeting, with hardly any advertising, only word of mouth. (Does Facebook count as word of mouth?)
And there were a fair number of people who had wanted to come but couldn't make it this week. The atmosphere was great - friendly and chatty, but productive too. There were a number of projects that had been dusted off for the meeting. There were women learning new skills, including two who started to learn how to crochet and Crafty who learned how to 'increase' in knitting.

Crafty: As I waited (for I am in great need of tuition, having never been a crafter before now) my patience paid dividends. I was party to many conversations, deeper than I anticipated for the time of day and in a group of people who hadn't met much before (if at all). I guess that is what happens when like minded people come together?

Eventually, Coffee took me under her wing, but S and J also patiently and kindly offered to assist. I will learn from these wonderfully talented women.

And now for some photos of Crafty projects....

C's WiP

Vintage Christmas decorations - busy Mamas know you need to start these things early...

J's WiP

D's WiP - a hooded cable cardie for a friend's little boy

S's WiP - fingerless gloves with mitten flap (for Coffee who is too lazy to knit them herself). One down....

One to go...


Learning to crochet

A's WiP - see, there was more than just knitting and crochet, honest!

S's WiP - another sleeve done...

Crafty, learning to increase, under Coffee's inexpert tuition...

Coffee's WiP, a hooded little girl's cardie, and the all-important cup of coffee

Crafty: I have left with my 'homework' for the week. And my WiP, which I cannot name so publicly before March, will be well underway by the time we next come together.

Coffee: My challenge for the week is to make headway with my WiP, as there have been various rumblings that I take on too many projects, and don't finished them! Hmmm, need to refute this slander...

See you next week. Bye!

(All photos (except one - can you work out which one?) taken by the lovely Crafty.)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Welcome!

Welcome to A Crafty Coffee's blog! Our first meeting will be on Friday 15th January between 9.30 (ish) and 11.30 (ish) at Trago Lounge, Portswood. Hope to see you there!