2 CommentsSaturday, 10 May 2014 | Steph - Which Craft
Welcome to Which Craft - it's finally here, launch day.
After months of planning and designing, this morning at 11am on 10th May 2014 we've excitedly launched our site.
The idea for Which Craft probably started quite a few summers ago whilst on holiday in Devon, and whilst on holiday was always when I could spend most time learning new crafts, and actually doing them. I knew then that I would start a craft business one day, but I always wanted something a bit more personal, not a faceless web-page with little personality - I want our business to be your creation, developing a range of products, conversation & ideas that you want, not simply what we think you want. So if you come to look for something and you can't find it, please take a minute to let us know - it's important to us that you feel part of what happens to Which Craft.
My first memories of crafting we're learning to knit with my Mum (thanks Mum (Pat) for that memory) - and although Mum was left-handed, she had a great talent for being very patient translating all the actions back to front for us right-handers. I remember Mum being very resourceful with fabric and making a lot of our clothes when we were children, and photos of family occasions regularly show me and my sisters in matching dresses that Mum had made for us. She also made us endless clothes for our Sindy dolls, and in our house I was one of three sisters (hello to Gill & Claire), there ended up being endless shoe boxes of doll's clothes - the wedding dresses my Mum stitched for the dolls were my favourite and I can remember (40 years later) every detail on one of those white lacy dresses.
I'd always imagined myself making similar clothes (regular sized and dolls!) for my own daughters, but however many times I tried I wasn't blessed with little princesses - however I was thankfully blessed with 4 sons (quick mention here for Tim, Matt, Jon and Anthony). I also now have a beautiful curly-headed chatterbox god-daughter called Ruby - she is my chance to make all those things I couldn't try with my own children.
Ruby was born prematurely, only weighing a little more than a bag of sugar, and I started by making her easy opening dresses for wearing whilst in her incubator and then (after what seemed an endless journey of care and concern for us all but especially her parents) by 4 months old (by then weighing about 7lbs) she was to be baptised in a local church - and I made her christening dress, the tiniest, most intricate thing I had ever tried, with ribbons, satin and layers of delicate soft tulle, an amazing creation for such a small baby (I'll try and get some photos on here). I finished it with a matching, fully lined and hooded cape - the lining being made with the remainder of the fabric I'd bought to make one of her first dresses. All-in-all, probably my best creation, will certainly take some beating.
I always had an ambition to make a wedding dress - I had no idea how or who for (or even why) - and 3 summers ago my best friend (Alison) asked if I would make hers for her. How could I say "no"? What an opportunity, so we went shopping for satin, beads, lace and thread and I got stuck in. We designed it ourselves, and constructed it over about 7 weekends. I taught myself a lot of new dressmaking techniques, including boning the corset - and the whole experiment (I have to call it that, because I really had no idea what I was doing) was literally covered (well maybe not quite literally) in blood, sweat & tears - right up to midnight the night before we were still hand-finishing with seed beads around the endless hem and train. But it was worth it, extremely satisfying and a proud moment to see a beautiful radiant lady walking down the aisle in a dress I had made.
Apart from those 2 huge achievements, my main crafting interests are dress-making, jewellery making and knitting (and photography as a hobby) - I have recently learnt to crochet, and am just mastering the basics - my next ambition there is to be able to read a pattern, and make something useful - any tips gratefully received! And thanks to my sister Claire who recommended You-Tube for self-learning - a brilliant resource, and it really did help. Andrew & I also share a love of food – so as you’d expect we also love cooking & baking, and we've spent a lot of time together mastering bread-making (Paul Hollywood fans here!) and even more ambitious a few years ago was trying to master chocolate making – with varying success & hilarious failures along the way.
I am a huge fan of Pinterest - and you will see from my boards that there's a lot of ambitious ideas, and one day I hope to have more time to just spend all day every day crafting!
I love crafting - a great sense of being absorbed in something that means the stresses and strains of everyday pressure just fade away - crafting for me brings a lovely sense of well-being - like mental yoga.
So, after a long and successful career doing business for other people (I do love business as much as I love crafting), I can now combine my love of business and craft together by creating what you see here today. It's been 8 months in the planning (I've stayed in full-time employment during all of this) and came about finally when I faced a serious redundancy risk last September and had an opportunity to think about what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life.
My incredibly patient and tolerant husband (Andrew) has supported the journey every step of the way, and has played a very active role during set-up, coming to craft shows with me, selecting new ranges and sorting out space and inventory management, and keeping the house running for us all whilst I spend hours poring over spreadsheets and catalogues.
I am now looking forward to helping you all bring your craft ideas to life, and I would love you to respond to these blogs with your stories of successful (or not so successful) experiences trying new crafts or old ones.
Please keep in touch,
love learning, love sharing, love crafting