Behind the Workshop: The Big Crochet Stayaway with The Fibre Lounge

With new and exciting workshops being booked in left right and centre this year it seemed only right to share where it all started. After all, before the end of last year I had never ‘taught’ embroidery to anyone other than myself and although I would say I am an excellent teacher (just ask me) I never imagined standing in a room and showing people ‘how it’s done’.

That being said as soon as Louisa from The Fibre Lounge (formerly known as Komodo Krafts) contacted me to ask if I had ever considered teaching beginners how to sew, I almost laughed out loud! I still felt so new to it all that it felt almost hypocritical to share my ‘knowledge’ with others. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realised it was something that I’d really like to do. The idea of inspiring others and sharing this skill was something that really excited me so of course I took a deep breath and said YES!

Fast forward a few months later and after much planning and obvious anxiety, I found myself travelling with my cheerleader (yes I took my Mum along with me again) to Anstey Grove Barn in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside. The location couldn’t have been more idyllic! The barn was beautiful both inside and out and was the perfect place to cosy up on the sofas and share my craft.

Louisa was a fantastic host and wonderfully supportive, even before I arrived and knew just the right things to say to ease my anxieties. I was also fortunate to have a lovely group of ladies to teach and it didn’t feel like ‘work’ at all. After blabbering on about myself for a short while, we moved onto seeing what they would be making and the look on their collective faces was priceless! To them it seemed totally out of reach but I knew that with a little time and patience, I could get them all sewing my design. They were all given a goody bag, because hey, who said they were just for children’s birthdays?! In this bag contained all the supplies they would need to make their Christmas hoop including printed fabric, needle, felt backing and a handy guide with steps to complete seven different stitches plus some cute little extras like a badge, a candy cane, a print and much more!

The fun part was the thread. As much as I liked us all making the same thing, I loved the idea that they could all be totally unique and although I had already given them the freedom to choose what stitches they wanted to learn and use, I wanted to take it even further. So with the help of Louisa’s stash of thread I managed to organise them and create a ‘pick and mix’ style arrangement which allowed everyone to choose colours that suited their own style or Christmas colour theme. I think that was the hardest part for the makers- choosing the thread they wanted! That being said it was met with great enthusiasm and I got the result I was after- everyone chose something completely different and totally personal to them! I particularly liked the colour scheme chosen by Sarah from Annaboos House. It wasn’t your traditional Christmas colour scheme but it was totally gorgeous and it honestly inspired me to use those colours in my own work.

Now with embroidery being such a fine skill, it would have been impossible to stand in front of everyone and demonstrated how to do a variety of stitches, quite frankly because no one would be able to see what I was doing. That was the main inspiration behind my stitch guide- it not only gave them greater control on what they wanted to learn and use but also in choosing a stitch to match their own abilities and therefore making it feel more achievable.

They set to work, reading through the suggested stitches for the pattern and how to do them and I chatted to them and was on hand to help and advise them on things such as how to set up their hoop for sewing. At most I was needed to thread a needle which was utterly hilarious! To be able to stand there and just whip the thread through the eye of a tiny needle in seconds while their jaws dropped to the floor almost made me feel as if I knew what I was doing. It is a skill that I very much take for granted.

Now these ladies all admitted to having very little sewing experience but had all held a needle at some point. I couldn’t have been more proud of them! They all cracked on and some were very close to completing them by the end of our session. They were all incredibly enthusiastic and excited by what they had learnt and keen to continue their hoops. I caught up with them a little while later on a lovely group page that Louisa had set up and hearing their honest feedback about the session was fantastic!

They all agreed that the session had been made to feel really achievable and not half as daunting as they first expected when they saw the design. They were all keen on buying more kits in the future too which was really great to hear considering this was the first one I had ever put together or considered doing. That being said there is always room for improvement and I would definitely like to take some time to have photographs next to each step to help those who (like me) are very visual in their learning.

Overall it was a huge success and something that I loved doing! I left there with a huge grin on my face and I just wanted to do it all over again. After the knock backs I’d had with craft fairs it was nice to be able to put my heart and soul into something and it be the success that it deserved to be. It was the perfect way to finish off the year and left me eager to take on more challenges.

If you would like to attend one of my workshops or if you think that you have the right setting for me to teach in head on over to the ‘Events’ section of my website where you can find where my next workshops will be.

Alternatively just get in touch using the information on my ‘Contact’ page.

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