Textiles have always been an interest for me. Beautiful fabrics and soft furnishings, accessories; particularly bags, and creative textile drawings. You’ll see from my Gallery Techniques page, that enjoy using a variety of processes using textiles. I When I was a child, I tried knitting with my Nanna who spent many hours knitting. I remember visiting her and my Grandad and seeing her basket of wool and knitting needles to the side of her armchair. Unfortunately, I never could quite get the hang of it. Dropping stitches and unable to understand how to fix my error, or forgetting how to do them altogether… I then tried finger knitting this year, following a YouTube tutorial and took to it well. I made textile necklaces using jersey yarn.
Recently however, I was overjoyed to have been involved in a conversation about learning to crochet. This skill is one which I have been trying to organise some tuition in with a friend from uni ever since she mentioned it. Now, that was back in 2012… which I cannot believe is almost a decade ago! She has 2 children now and I live in a different country, so getting together has been tough!
Forming my Local Creative Community
I am a member of a local group called the International Women’s Association of Modena (IWAM). I have been able to connect with many internationally-minded women and expats. As the founder of the IWAM Creatives interest group, my main motivation was to form a creative community. Starting with women who already shared a sense of belonging within the IWAM environment was a good start. I made Modena my home in February 2016, and although I didn’t join the association until I heard about it in 2019, I had always been searching for a way to continue to immerse myself in a creative community. Fortunately, I met my co-leader of the group, Eva Young, while working at Unimore University in Modena. She encouraged me to join IWAM and since then we have formed the group. With her support, our small community is beginning to emerge.
One of my main aims for the IWAM Creatives Group, was to support and encourage others to express themselves and inspire others and myself. Sharing skills is also another key goal for me personally. Since leaving the UK, I have found it difficult to continue my extra-curricular studies in the artistic world. Over the years, I have tried many different techniques, materials and processes, but I have no intention of stopping now! With a sub-group of eager-to-learn-crochet creatives, we organised our first skill sharing workshop. On the 18th October we met up, and it was a great success from my point of view.
Bonding over Yarn with Lena
With Lena as our guide, and hosting us at her wonderful home (where she’d been for just over a month), our “close-knit” Crochet Crew began the collective learning process. She provided excellent guidance and support for a few members with either little or no experience. As I explained before, I had no experience with a crochet hook, but I had used knitting needles and done finger knitting too. I have also done different types of basic yarn weaving to make my textile necklaces. You can check out my textile jewellery on my Jewellery Gallery page. Here you can see my first attempt at experimenting with crochet:
It was a great social event, and with a wonderful collection of crochet items to look at made by Lena; it would have been tough for anyone NOT to be inspired! We learned how to start with chain stitch and then joining rows together. A couple of us also learned a second stitch which was slightly different and learned that crochet is very flexible as a process. I continued to experiment without boundaries, and started to turn the flat panel into a vessel form. In order to try to correct a design flaw, I also created a hole in the design to investigate details which could be included in a future piece. We used chunky jersey yarn which has various degrees of stretchiness and thicknesses which allowed progress to be evident reasonably quickly. I still haven’t unravelled this first experiment although I have been working on a different crochet item since then. When I’m ready, this yarn will be used to create something different, hopefully without flaws!
I for one, enjoyed the event so much, that I went straight to my local haberdashery store. I immediately bought 3 different sized crochet needles to start practising. With my current collection of yarn at home, I was ‘good to go’ on a new project. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet up in person and bond over yarn! I look forward to continuing with this technique and sharing my progress. I hope to develop my own style and hopefully produce some useable and beautiful items.
To read more about my textile jewellery, take a look at the blog post about my Statement Textile Jewellery.