What we're up to
The Best Things about Learning September 2, 2018 13:00
We all know that learning is beneficial in the academic sense - knowledge is power and all that. But recently more research has been conducted into the benefits of learning on our overall mental and physical well-being. And don't worry if, like us, you never did well in academic exams - the benefits of learning apply to any new skills, including craft!
Here are some of the main ways in which learning something new can actually be good for you;
1. It keeps your mind active - problem solving, concentrating, and memorising are all involved in learning, and these activities have been proven to improve cognitive functioning later on in life. Your brain is like a muscle - it needs to be used and strengthened regularly to remain healthy. Crafts such as quilting have been shown to be particularly beneficial, as they involve a higher level of problem solving and even basic mathematical skills.
2. Being engaged in pursuits that occupy your mind and require you to get 'in the flow' such as crafting can actually trigger healthy changes in brain chemistry. Repetitive crafts (such as a simple weaving) can cause an almost meditative state, that can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
3. Learning a new skill can help boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. There's nothing like mastering a new crochet stitch, or learning how to tie a new macrame knot to make you feel as though you have really accomplished something. This confidence in turn helps to boost your overall mental well-being.
4. Our minds and bodies require time to recharge to function at their best, but recharging doesn't have to mean lying down and doing nothing. In fact the best way to recharge your mind is to throw yourself into something that takes your mind off the day to day. Getting totally immersed in a craft activity is a good way to do this - if you've ever experienced that feeling of 'I can't believe I've been crafting for three hours - it's flown by!' then that means you're on the right track!
So there you have it - learning isn't just confined to schools, and to a particular time of your life. Learning and expanding your knowledge on a regular basis is actually beneficial to your mental health. We would love to help introduce you to a new craft - we have lots of exciting workshops available right now, so check them out!
Meet Zoe - A London Craft Club Update August 26, 2018 10:21
There have been a lot of exciting changes happening at London Craft Club recently - most of you will already know that we are moving into a brand spanking new venue this week, which will serve as the Craft Club HQ, as well as being where most of our workshops will now be held.
But the eagle-eyed among you have also noticed that our weekly newsletter is now from me, Zoe, instead of Sonia, and have been curious to know why. Well, there has also been a change-up behind the scenes here at London Craft Club! Sonia hasn't gone anywhere, but I've taken over the day to day running of London Craft Club. I'll also be helped by Baily - we'll introduce you to her properly very soon!
We figured you might like to learn a bit more about me now I'll be popping up in your inbox and social media, so pop over here to read the Q&A with me!
Sonia - Zoe, can you tell us a bit about your extensive crafty background!
Zoe - I’ve been working as a creative for seven years now - I started off running my own jewellery business called Ladybird Likes, which I did for about five years, but I started to fall out of love with it as I was waking up every day and doing the same tasks over and over. I wanted something more creative and more diverse, but I felt more like a factory worker. So I started branching out into other creative areas, particularly teaching crafts. I now like to call myself a ‘freelance creative’ as I dabble in so many creative areas.
Sonia - I remember hearing loads about you on the crafty scene before you joined LCC, you're a bit of a celeb amongst crafters! So tell the guys how you got involved with London Craft Club?
Zoe - I’ve been part of LCC for about a year now, and I started out just teaching workshops (which I still do because I absolutely love it!) Then I started helping out in the office with some admin work, and about two months ago Sonia offered me the position of ‘Head Crafter’ (which is the only job title we could decide on that didn’t sound super boring and corporate!)
Sonia - So can you just explain what you do at London Craft Club exactly?
Zoe - Ha, well a bit of everything really - whatever is needed! My main roles are creating our programme of workshops - so coming up with new workshop ideas, finding creatives to work with, researching what we will need and how it would work in a workshop environment, making samples, that sort of thing. And then I also do the marketing and sales side of things - I’ve been writing the weekly newsletters for a while now, and will also be taking over social media and content creation which I’m really excited for.
Sonia - Zoe, I honestly think you are the most versatile crafter I know! What workshops do you teach?
Zoe - My biggest passion is yarn crafts - anything that involves yarn I just find so interesting and relaxing. I teach weaving, punch needle, crochet, felting, macrame... and lots of other stuff too! I’ve also been hugely passionate about a wide range of crafts, and have never been able to just pick one to focus on! I’m never sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s just the way I am!
Sonia - Why do you like teaching crafts?
Zoe - Honestly, I feel like craft has played a huge part in my life for such a long time, and making things has opened up so many doors for me, as well as helping me deal with anxiety and stress. I’m a massive advocate for the benefits of crafting on a regular basis, and I hope through teaching crafts and helping other people to find a craft they love, that I can pass on those benefits. I genuinely believe that we would all be a lot happier and more relaxed if we made time each day to do something creative.
Sonia - Thank you so much for answering our questions, everyone at LCC is so excited to have you in the gang! You're SO creative and can make anything, but we think you fit in so well here because you really get our "be kind, be awesome at what you do" mentality. Hurrah for Zoe!
If you'd like to find out what I've been up to, head over to www.craftworklondon.com for a little look! Me and the Craft Work gang still share an office with LCC so we haven't gone far but it's a little different...
Meet Our New Teacher Yvonne August 19, 2018 15:00
As London Craft Club grows and expands and changes so does our team of craft teachers. We are so incredibly lucky to work with some super talented people, who allow us to bring you such a great range of different workshops. Our newest member of the team is Yvonne Pratt, who is going to be teaching our Hand Sewing Workshop starting from September, and hopefully some other workshops too in the future.
Yvonne has an interesting story as she has recently left her job in education and teaching to become a freelance creative - something which we know lots of you would also love to do! So we thought we would ask her a few questions to see what made her take the leap into freelance life!
1. Tell us a bit about your background.
I have worked in various educational backgrounds over many years, from teaching silkscreen printing and fabric dye workshops at universities, to teaching careers at West Suffolk Collage focusing on the Art and Design department and inspiring young minds about their future careers.
2. What made you decide to go freelance?
Whilst I have been working in teaching environments I have always continued to practice my passion for craft. This has developed into my unique style of bespoke mixed media textile pieces which combine my love of drawing, illustration, textile print and free motion embroidery. I have a fascination for the natural environment and our Great British Heritage.
Living in Suffolk I have continued to exhibit, showcase and sell my work, and have built up a community of friends who are craft makers like myself. Ultimately it was this community that encouraged me to become freelance, allowing me to fully embrace my craft and love of teaching.
3. What are the best and worst parts of being freelance?
The best part of becoming freelance is being able to concentrate on my passion to create and inspire others through my craft experience and knowledge of crafts. Also meeting and networking with likeminded people with the same passion as myself.
Since I’m new to freelancing, there aren’t any bad bits (yet!)
4. What crafts do you/can you teach?
I am extremely versatile when it comes to crafting as I use mixed media within my own craft. But also I love to experiment with different techniques and have been fortunate to attend and work at workshops at various crafting events over the years. I can turn my hand to almost anything, and I find it extremely satisfying to learn new crafts.
5. Do you still craft for fun? If so what do you make?
Yes, and this tends to be if I take a fancy to something new. But I love using free motion embroidery because I love that it is such a versatile technique, and I can have fun using different materials and fabrics. I love the textures and style it can gives an art piece.
6. Why do you love crafting?
Being an extremely creative person my mind is just bursting with ideas all the time, and I can only get these ideas out through using my hands to create crafts. So this is really just my way of expressing my ideas.
Thanks so much for chatting with us Yvonne! We hope you've enjoyed learning a bit more about the newest team member, and you can book to learn Hand Sewing with Yvonne right here.
Our stunning new home in the West End! August 12, 2018 09:45
We are so excited to announce that we are just about to move into our new permanent home in Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, in the heart of the West End.
From now on nearly all our workshops and events will take place here. It'll be much simpler for you to book and of course it means we're free to do more socials and unusual crafts. We're starting with our big London Craft Club Party!
How to get there
It's a quick walk from Tottenham Court Road on the Northern and Central Line, and Russell Square on the Picadilly Line. Euston, St Pancras and Charing Cross mainline stations are all easy to get to, less than 20 minutes walk or quicker by Tube.
Bedford Square backs on to the British Museum and you can walk to Oxford Street or Soho easily from there. It's one of the best-preserved Georgian squares in London, built in the 1770s.
We're looking forward to making it into a stunningly gorgeous space - you know we like a bit of Instagram so our challenge is to make the most Insta-worthy studio ever! Keep an eye out for updates on the studio and how we make it beautiful, and then come to our London Craft Club party and see the results yourself! Don't forget if you book a workshop, you'll get a free ticket (while tickets last)
We're really looking forward to seeing you there!
Happiness Happens months August 5, 2018 08:31
Sometimes it’s good to take a moment to remind yourself of all the things that make you happiest - plus who doesn’t love a good list?!
We've made a list of some of the things that make us happiest! What makes you happy? Try our free printable Happiness List for yourself so you can make your own version too. We recommend sticking it somewhere you can see it every day, and if you’re feeling in need of a boost try doing something off of your list.
There is actually quite a lot of scientific evidence to support the idea that crafting does in fact make you happier, as well as reducing anxiety and stress. When you get absorbed in a craft your mind goes into an almost meditative state, which in turn helps improve your mental wellbeing. So there you go, it's as good as a mindfulness app and keeps you off your phone.
The social element of crafting is also excellent for boosting happiness. Not all of us like to craft in company, but it can be a lovely way to meet people you share an interest with.
Plus you get to make something you can use/wear/have in your home, which will then bring you happiness every time you see it. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to reply ‘I made it’ when someone compliments something of yours. That first thing you made that you're super proud of can be a real milestone in your life, whether you're aged 4 or 84.
My newest thing is drop-spinning, and honestly a bit like catnip to me! The spin, pinch, draft, release rhythm is an additive and utterly absorbing thing! And I am so incredibly proud of my bit of spun yarn, even if it is only a few tens of metres...
So get some craft on your list and make August a really good one.
Summer Lovin! June 17, 2018 07:00
It's treats time!
Summer is for hanging out with friends - so if you buy two tickets to a workshop, you get the second one half price!!!!!! Just use the code SUMMERLOVIN at the checkout. (It must be the same workshop on the same date, and you must book before midnight on 20th June 2018)
Yes the tickets for the Twist Sandal Workshop are here!!! Book now because they are on Early Bird prices, and there are only two dates.
Check out this round up of all our lovely Summer printables by Hannah of Utensils0 - super cute!
Mega Insta-giveaway! Head to our account two win a pair of free tickets to a workshop of your choice, so you and a friends can hang out together
And guess what - there's more goodies next week! Don't say we don't love you :-)
Vote now on our Summer picnic workshop! May 26, 2018 22:57 2 Comments
We're planning a lovely beach bag customisation workshop for the Summer, and we need your opinion. We've got two gorgeous woven palm bags and a mountain of stuff to customise them with. Here's a pinterest board of what we could do...
And here's your chance to vote on which bag we use!
The Hand-Woven Palm basket bag.
A generous bag made of best quality woven palm, its sturdy, robust and holds its shape well whilst still having a soft feel to it. With it's palm woven handles, it's the perfect beach bag - almost! It's just calling out for you to add colour and joy to it.
The Round Palm Weave Bag
This bag is brilliantly useful and super gorgeous. The soft plaited palm keeps its fantastic round shape, and the opening has a lovely structured edge that makes it easy to use and very practical.
Vote classic French style basket
Watch this space to see which one wins!
My six favourite crafty bits of kit May 13, 2018 11:14 1 Comment
At Craft Club HQ, we've had a really big clear-out this week, which has made us think about what we really do need. I have a bit of an addiction to craft gadgetry, although not all are as useful as others! These are some ours favourite, but there are so many other ones we could chose. What are your favourite crafty tools?
I thought rotary cutters were total magic when I first found them. Especially when I realised you can cut through more than one layer of fabric at a time. I actually find cutting the hardest part of dressmaking so these are a godsend! Find out all about them here
It sticks to fabric! It's doublesided! Seriously you can use it for everything. Gapey shirt buttons need holding closed? Bra straps need to stick under your dress straps? Need to stick a lampshade together? Want to add decorative bits to a Christmas stocking? The list is endless! Buy it here
We have a few hundred pairs of scissors at Craft Club, but nothing beats a really sharp well balanced pair of dressmaking shears. Like these by fabulous traditional scissor makes Ernest Wright and Son
Water soluble pens
Another magic trick! Draw on fabic, then when you've felted, emboridered or what ever else you want to do on it, you just spray water on it and it VANISHES! Get them here
Blank plastic cards
You can buy batches of blank white credit cards and they are great for so many things! I make map coasters with Mod Podge, and they help you smooth on a lovely smooth finish. Also great for spreading glue, grout and anything else you need to spread evenly. Way way better than a glue spreader! Get em here
After the big clearout that made us think of this, we've decided to get a little Instagram sale or two going! Watch out for the dates coming soon!
Sew Luxe Leather Book Review May 6, 2018 07:55
Leather is so bang on trend at the moment, and it’s popping up everywhere from the catwalk, to homewares, to accessories and we can’t get enough of it! It’s no secret that at Craft Club we love working with leather in our workshops (we’ve made everything from leather jewellery to leather clutch bags)
so when the talented Rosanna Gethin sent us a copy of her new book ’Sew Luxe Leather’ we were immediately keen. It’s packed full of gorgeous projects to make using leather, starting off super simple with a leather tassel keyring, or a travel card holder, and then increasing in difficulty all the way up to a cross body bag. There’s something to suit everyone’s taste, and it’s definitely a book we will be turning to when we are stuck for ideas for handmade gifts.
Rosanna has detailed step by step instructions for each project, made even clearer by photos illustrating each stage, meaning the projects are easy to follow even if you’re not a very confident crafter. Although working with leather looks really complicated, with Rosanna’s expert guidance you’ll be creating beautiful leather items in no time.
Our favourite parts of the book though are the bits with information on what tools and supplies you will need, and what they are all used for. If you're buying this a gift for a crafty friend, it's got enough technical info to be a really good resource, as well as looking really pretty.
At the back of the book are details of each technique used in the projects in case you need a quick reference. From from gluing, to inserting fastenings, to surface treatments, this is such a handy guide to have, and would be invaluable to anyone starting out working with leather. No more googling what a lacing pony is (yes, it’s a real thing!) or wondering what type of glue you should be using on leather.
Packed full of gorgeous photos, and lots of useful content (definitely no filler in here!) Sew Luxe Leather has found itself a place on our crafty bookshelf. We are heading out on bank holiday Monday to find some old leather items to upcycle into something new - perhaps a new purse?
Sew Luxe Leather is published by SewandSo and will be available from May 25th 2018
Don't forget you can meet Rosanna an make a luxe leather plant hanger with her. Find the details here
Our Nerrisa is running this awesome creative workshop for IKEA April 29, 2018 12:26
You may have met Nerrisa Pratt, our lovely craft teacher and the creative behind Wud ,at one of our workshops. Excitingly, she's been invited to run a creative workshop for IKEA
KEA has teamed up with LA-based fashion designer Chris Stamp, and freelance designer Maja Ganszyniec for a limited-edition collection: SPÄNST. Inspired by street fashion and an active lifestyle, SPÄNST features furniture, accessories and items for storing, displaying and organising some of your favourites at home.
Nerrisa will be in the IKEA Croydon store this Friday (4th May) hosting a workshop on how to customise your trainers. From embroidery to fabric paints, get to grips with how to update your kicks!
Spaces are free, but limited and exclusive to IKEA FAMILY members. For more information on how to book, click here: https://events.myikeafamily.com/croydon
Cant make it? Follow @nerrisapratt over on Instagram who will be revealing her customised collection of trainers on Instagram stories.
Citadel Festival is going to be amazing! April 29, 2018 11:56
I love a Summer Festival. There's something dreamy about sitting on the grass, sipping a drink as you watch the sun setting over the main stage, while everyone around you is just a little bit more unbuttoned than usual. It's refreshing for the soul.
So, when London Craft Club was invited to take part in Citadel Festival I was obviously very pleased. But then I saw the programme! The bands are amazing, of course, but there's so much stuff to do. So much! From the Spandex Stage to the Art Studio to the Science Camp to the Tug-of-War, I think I have found my Summer heaven.
I firmly believe that exercise is the best way to release, rejuvenate, and inspire yourself - but not just exercise of the physical kind. I also love the feeling of exercising my brain with learning and experimenting. I forget to worry and instead marvel at the exciting new things I have discovered and done, and come out feeling like I've been for a refreshing swim (but without the chlorine hair and awkward wet cozzy)
Check out the programme at Citadel, for your inner child, and handily for any actual children as well. We'll be there with a lovely mini macrame for you to try, plus you can create your own super gorgeous design on a bag and have us heat press it on for you.
It's time to apply for the Great British Sewing Bee! April 29, 2018 11:16
After a year off, Sewing Bee is back! There's lots of speculation about the host - will it be Claudia, or maybe Joe Lycett according to the Radio Times
Love Productions, who make Sewing Bee, have been in touch with London Craft Club to see if we can help recruit new contestants and we think you should definitely go for it! I can think of a few of you off the top of my head who definitely have the skills! It'll be fun to apply, and even better if you get on the programme. Don't over think it, just do it!
Here's the link, and let me know if you do apply so we can be your cheerleaders all the way!
Good luck sewists! Go get em!!!
Crafty ways to get plants into your house! April 15, 2018 01:26
I love having plants in the house. I'm awful at keeping them alive, but I am getting better. (Here's a good place to get a few hints, not from me but from Sophie at Geofleur!) I stick with my beloved spider plants, succulents and a couple of old stalwarts who don't seem to die.
So it goes without saying that my favourite way to display plants is in plant hanger. We've got two Plant Hanger workshops on at the moment, so take your pick!
|Leather Plant Hanger||Macrame Plant Hanger|
My next is on a planter (ie a long-legged stand). They are great because they add different heights, like this, which immediately makes a cluster of plants look good. They are also great for a desk, as they make more space for all the other important clutter you have there.
Or you can use them like this to make a small plant have the same impact as a massive plant you either bought for a ton of cash or spend years growing. If you like the look of these, we've got a workshop coming up soon, with the lovely Melodie of Slinky Home
Image courtesy of Slinky Home
If you really can't keep your plants alive - try these patterns for crochet from Yarn Plaza
Image courtesy of Plaza Yarn
Can't crochet? No, me neither. What about papercraft? Try Hannah's fabulous papercraft wreath workshop here
And if you've mastered keeping the plants alive - try this totally awesome DIY from Hello Marilu to give them gorgeous unique pots to live in. Everything she makes is gorgeous! Find the DIY here, it's a really lovely take on marbling.
Image courtesy of Hello Marilu
I hope you're feeling greenfingered after that! Good luck with your indoor plants, and if you've got any tips for me other than don't tip Diet Coke in them, I'd love to hear.
Win Free Tickets to the Battersea Antiques and Textiles Fair April 8, 2018 10:34 5 Comments
We've got an exciting competition for you this month! Our friends at Twentieth Century Posters are exhibiting at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair and they've given us three pairs of tickets!
The fair is gorgeous - each different stand is done out like a vintage room, ranging from Georgian to Mid Century, and it's a visual feast! If you even slightly like interiors its a real treat. The organisers vet everything that displayed, so there are no reproductions or fakes - everything is 100% the real deal! I go and drool over the expensive stuff, but I also get so much inspiration for my own craft and for decorating my home.
So if you would like to enter our draw to win a pair of tickets, just head to Instagram and look for the competition post. Tag the person you'd like go with in the comments, and you can enter as many times as you like.
The Cross Keys have joined the crafty gang! March 31, 2018 16:20
If you've ever been to Craft Life, our Saturday afternoon free craft social, you'll know how popular it is. In fact it's bursting at the seams, and we've been wanting to get an evening version going for ages. The only thing holding us back was finding the perfect venue. And now we've got one.
The Cross Keys in Hammersmith is absolutely perfect.They have a private room that we can take over for the evening, and they really, really like having us there. We've been running workshops with them for a couple of months now, and when we mentioned that we needed a home for Craft Life Late they immediately offered their private room up.
We are over the moon to announce that the first Craft Life Late is on Monday16th April and runs 6.30 - 8.30pm. Zoe will be hosting, and of course everyone is welcome to stay on afterwards for few drinks.
We'll be bringing tons of jersey yarn, given to us by Hoooked, for a mystery craft project. Keep and eye on our Instagram and Facebook for sneak peeks comingn soon
Craft Life isn't like a workshop, it's more of a social with a taster craft available for anyone who wants to try it. Lots of people bring whatever craft they're working on, but we also get lots of craft newbies who are welcomed in by our regulars. It's so friendly - Valentina who regularly hosts Craft Life has seen many friendships start and grow over crafts, and I'm sure Craft Life Late will be just the same. So come along! Whether you want to try some craftiness for the first time, or you just want to meet new crafty buddies, we're here for you.
To come along, pop to our Calendar page here and RSVP now. We'll see you there
See the restoration process right up close - it's fascinating! March 18, 2018 11:40
We are very excited to be teaming up with the Old Royal Navy College in Greenwich. If you haven't been to their Painted Hall, now is a brilliant time to go. Normally, it's right up high and out of reach, but right now it's being restored. In a stroke of genius, the College decided that instead of shutting the hall, it would bring loads of people in to see the specialist work up close.
You head up an industrial set of scaffolding stairs (not wobbly at all, I am terrified of heights and I was totally fine). At the top, you come out onto a temporary floor into an incredible space, where the lavishly painted ceiling is almost in touching distance.There are regular tours for the public, but on 23rd March you can come to THE CELESTIAL CITY Late and see it with dancing, drinks and craft! Create your kaleidoscope with London Craft Club, learn about the astrological signs, listen to otherworldly music and dance among the stars at this marvellous mytholoy-themed Friday Late.
The Painted Hall, Old Royal Navy College, Greenwich, £12/£10, book ahead, 7pm
Mother's Day usefulness February 25, 2018 12:41 1 Comment
Mother's Day isn't quite as commercialised as Valentines, although that's not saying much, let's face it! But luckily here in the UK there is a strong tradition of making your Mother's Day gift, which means millions of mums across the UK receive adorable but useless, and sometimes baffling, handmade gifts from their kids. Two years my little son gave me what looked like a playdo model of a small poo with sticks shoved in it. It felt too cruel to ask outright what on earth it was, but I slyly managed to elicit that it was in fact a hedgehog.
As a grown-up, I can make my mum genuinely nice gifts. At the moment, she wants vinyl stickers of Westie terriers, so I have made her sheets and sheets on the Cricut, in many sizes, and many materials, which I hope she'll love.
If you'd like to make your Mum a nice gift, I strongly recommend our Merino Felt Slippers workshop. We'll bring loads of vinyl heat press letters along, so you can monogram with her initials, or a heart if you prefer!
Or if you'd like to give the gift of spending some time together, what about workshop tickets? Our Brush Lettering workshop, Bookbinding workshop or Mosaic Making workshop are all great ones to do in pairs. (Look out for the awesome Double Tickets on Mosaic Making!)
Here's a totally free downloadable card for your Mum, designed by Hannah of Utensils0
Finally, try this Pinterest board of ideas for handmade gifts that are better than a poo with a stick in it.
What's the worst handmade gift from a kid that you've had, that you've had to keep out of a mix of guilt and love? Or did it slip into the bin....?
Happy Mother's Day crafting gang :-)
Workshops inspired by a Mid-Century Exhibition February 18, 2018 11:26
Our collaboration with the Jewish Museum has been great fun because it's involved both a tour of the Designs on Britain Exhibition and a workshop inspired by the exhibition. Have a look at our collage inspired by Dorrit Dekk, lead by Gabriela Szulman, and there's still space on the Mosaic Making and Brush Lettering workshops in March and April.
Gabriela Szulman leading the collage workshop
Examples and templates created by Gabriela, based on the designs of Dorrit Dekk. Dekk's work is deceptively simply!
Looking at papers and cutting shapes
Creating shapes and designs
Taking inspiration from Gabriela's templates
Examples of what people made. A lovely day!
Crafty fun in the Big Apple! January 28, 2018 19:43
I'm back from my trip to NYC! Here's what I found for the keen crafter. This is by no means a complete list because we had such a short time there but it's a good start.
Brooklyn felt a bit like East London - bits were super-cool, some were full of young mums, and some bits still felt a bit in need of some TLC. The Brooklyn Craft Company was full of cute things like pins and kits, and runs sewing classes in a bright colourful shop. My favourite places was the Brooklyn General Store which was a treasure chest of yarn, and had great quality stuff and knowledgeable staff, great for the serious crafter! I couldn't get to String Thing but it looks great. Walking about in Brooklyn in the Park Slopes are felt a lot like being in later episodes of Sex and the City, with brownstones and boutiques everywhere.
I went to a Michael's! It's like their Hobbycraft, and I thought Hobbycraft stood up pretty well. But you don't find Hobbycraft anywhere other than out of town shopping parks, and there were a lot of Michael's bang in the middle of New York. I also went to Paper Source, which was great! If you like Paperchase you'll love Paper Source, and they had similar trends to us. Apart from the Sloth thing. They are HUGE on sloths. Sloth everything! I wanted to go to Barrel and Crate and ABC Carpet and Home but ran out of time.
Mood Fabrics and the Garment District
Oh my god Mood! Just that one shop alone was too much to comprehend. I suppose if you went every week you'd start to get a feel for what's there and be able navigate it, but for the first timer it was overload. The whole area has that insider's feel that Berwick and Broadwick Street in our Soho used to have years ago, except on a vast scale. Amazing trimming and hab shops, with MJ Trimmings being the highlight.
Indie Yarn shops
I couldn't persuade Mr Craft Club to go to many more craft shops so I missed Purl Soho. It appears to be the Gucci of craft shops, and it's in Soho so not far from the designer shopping and smart restaurants. Knitty City looks fantastic, and the Brooklyn General Store had amazing yarn. Lion Brand came highly recommended too.
We went to Chelsea Market which was great fun, a mix of shops and Artists and Fleas, which seems to be a shop full of little indie shops. It's a short nip to the Whitney and the High Line too. The Canal Street Market in Soho was similar, and full of nice bits to buy from smaller brands. We weren't there at the weekend so we missed a lot of the other markets
I tried to get to the Ink Pad, which amazingly specialises in ink pads! And Blicks art supplies was great, like our Cass Arts.
That should be plenty to see you through a few days as you have to see the Museums and the Sights too, and it's a bit tricky getting about.
Right - the stuff no-one tells you about navigating around the subway!
- Lots of stations have the same name even if they are totally different. check out Spring Street. Two stations, both callled Spring Street, on Spring St, not close to each other and not on the same lines. But exactly the same name.
- Often you cannot get to the opposite platform without leaving the station, walking 50 yards up the road and then going in another entrance. Which is a problem becasuse....
- you can only use your weekly pass every 18 minutes. So if you are on the worng platform and you go up above ground in order to go be the other way, you have to wait 18 minutes before you can get back in to platform you want.
- Some stops are local stops. Only local trains stop at them, and the express trains seems to just magically skip them out, you don't even see them. Look out for that!
- They hate signage in NY. Nothing is signposted. When you get back to London, you really notice how well everthing is signposted. TfL, finally I appreciate you!
- try this post for more help!
- I didn't even bother with buses. If the subway is this hard I could end up in a different state if I try the bus...
I always think the best way to see a city is to get a paper map and walk everywhere that can be walked in less than an hour. I make coasters out of the maps we use at each place we go like this Berlin one
Have you been to NYC, or anywhere else that has great craft? I'd love your tips!
The lovely feeling of a huge clearout! January 21, 2018 00:49 1 Comment
I've been thinking about happiness a lot recently, and one of the things that seems to really make me happy is having a good sort out.
I am not a tidy person. In a small way, it's part of my creative process to have a crazy mix of stuff all around me, but in truth I know an organised and clear studio makes my mind feel like a blank slate, open to new ideas and free to wander. For all my messiness, I can't stand the idea that there is tangled dusty mess under the bed or on top of a cupboard. Clearing out the hidden dusty corners of the house does the same for my mind.
I'm looking forward to the Big Craft Swish a week today - I have cleared so much stuff out of our studio that it's going to be two carloads! The studio and house feel lighter and fresher without all that stuff. I know I'll take back a load of new stuff, but I will choose thoughtfully. If you want a big clearout that spreads a bit of good karma around, book a ticket here
The bit I'm most excited about is getting back to the studio and setting it all up anew. I've found a company called A Place For Everything, and I've just got all-new white storage boxes. I'm going to make lovely Cricut labels for each one, and when it's done, I'll share the whole decluttered glory of it with you! So if the fact that it's not far off February already is a bit depressing, what about cleaning out a cupboard to make you feel clearheaded and proud of yourself?
I also found this lovely post on decluttering from Apartment Therapy and it's really comprehensive!
Let me know if works...
My Crafty New York Tour January 12, 2018 20:38
I’m going to New York next week! I'm so excited to go and meet loads of crafters and see all the best crafty destinations. My recent post on Instagram has got me a huge amount of recommendations for places to go and people to meet, so I’ve made a map with the places I want to go. If you know of somewhere I've missed, please do let me know either here or on IG so I can add them to my map. See the map here and all the destinations I've pinned to it here!
Everyone says that the States generally is the leader in the craft trends, but I think the UK is holding it's own. We may not have access to huge stores like Michaeals, but we do have Hobbycraft and an amazing wealth of online and real-life indie suppliers. Our makers and designers lead the trends in both techniques and designs, and thanks to Pinterest, Etsy and Instagram craft is now a global community.
So look out on Instagram for our Stories to see the tour of NYC as it unfolds! I land back in the UK the day before the Big Craft Swish - I have a one-in-one-out policy at the moment so if I buy anything there, I'll have to swish a load more stuff to make way for it here! Come along to the Swish and hear about the trip in person!
Has the cup got a bloody hole in it? January 7, 2018 12:04
I've been back at work for three days, during which time we've moved studios, started organising the Swish in earnest (still time to volunteer by the way) and got ready for our first two workshops of the year. I love it, but my goodness the feeling of being rested over Christmas is well and truly gone!
This weekend I've turned to my three favourite cup fillers.
Actually go to a museum or gallery
It's on pretty much everyone's Ought To Do list of guilt. But it's brilliant! As soon as you step through the door you feel like a proper grown-up together person who appreciates the rich cultural heritage of the UK. Even with kids in tow I always feel pleased I've done it. And then, when you are actually in there, there is a bunch of really interesting stuff that pulls your mind away from emails and hair removal and carbs and makes you think again about the Universe, beauty, injustice or any other epic topic. Check out our Designs on Britain series... craft AND museums
Making something for myself
Last night I made myself a pair of slippers. We have a slippers workshops coming up on Tuesday, because we wanted the slippers for ourselves. But all the slippers I've made to date have been for the workshop, so now I've made my very own monogrammed pair for me me me. Then I made myself the orange and pink leather earrings I've been wanting for about four months. I have all the stuff to hand, so instead of making mash potato by hand I made earrings! Slippers and earrings will always fit too. Check out the craft calendar
Read an awesome book
Pretty self explanatory. I recommend The Power by Naomi Alderman if you haven't already read it. It's not flawless, but it is unmissable.
Have a great Sunday. I'm off to fill my cup with coffee, and visit the RAF Museum.
Hello and Happy New Year to Nunhead, Peckham and East Dulwich! January 4, 2018 21:24 1 Comment
We're so excited to be bringing our gorgeous craft workshops to Space at 61 on Cheltenham Road this Spring! This means all you lovely creative types in Nunhead, Peckham, East Dulwich, Blackheath, Camberwell and Forest Hill have got all our best workshops coming to a venue right on your doorstep.
Our new friends at Blabar in Putney are a perfect match for us. December 27, 2017 01:27
What makes a great venue for London Craft Club workshops? Well for starters a great location. But it also needs to be somewhere where run by people who want to build a community, and who welcome creativity. It needs sturdy tables too.
And for the perfect pairing, we want somewhere that makes us feel happy and inspired. So when we looked for a new place in Putney, we were delighted when we found Blabar.
Inspired by the idea of Nordic Living, and with a fantastic range of homewares and more to buy, it's a gorgeous little haven in Putney. From January, we'll be holding our workshops in there and we couldn't be more pleased! And if you book our Merino Slippers workshop, you'll get a free sewing kit to encourage you in your creative life. Hope to see you there
Thursday 11th January 2018
Thursday 8th February 2018
Thursday 7th March 2018
|Thursday 26th April 2018
7.00 - 9.30pm
Handmade Christmas Gift Guide December 9, 2017 19:21 14 Comments
It can be overwhelming trying to hunt down that perfect gift for someone at Christmas, so we've brought together a gift guide featuring beautiful items handmade by some of our favourite designer makers - it's the London Craft Club experts and teachers gift list!
So if you're struggling to find something that's just right for that relative who has everything, or fretting over what your Secret Santa partner will like, sit back with a nice hot drink (or a mulled wine - tis the season after all) and have a peruse of our Handmade Gift Guide.
Dee Maxwell - Suede and Co
Dee's handmade bags have been a huge hit this year, especially for weddings, as she's a dab hand at personalising her products. This sage green zip up bags is really luxurious, and the colour is just beautiful. Snap it up here
Hannah designs and makes beautiful hand cut paper art, and is the designer behind all our hugely popular Botanical Paper Art workshops. It just wouldn't be Christmas without holly and misteltoe, and with Hannahs's paper craft kits you can make your own sprigs to use for decoration.
Meet our resident printmaker and mixed-media artist Gabriela Szulman. Inspired by memory, nostalgia and a love of anything vintage. Gabriela is skilled in several different crafts including printmaking, decoupage and ceramics to name but a few! This fabulous limited edition print can be bought here:
You can never have too many hats, especially when a) the weather is as cold as it has been recently, brrrrrr and b) when they are as beautiful as this one by Valentina Karellas. Made from 100% pure British wool, the bright yellow colour is guaranteed to brighten up even the greyest winter's day!
Melodie Telliez - Slinky Links
Personalised items are so on trend right now, and it's a lovely way of adding an extra touch of thoughtfulness to your gift-giving. We adore these Personalised Leather Initial Necklaces by Slinky Links Jewellery. The black and gold colourway is classic and understated, making it a beautiful gift that will be worn every day.
Kate Marsden - Made by Mrs M
Calling all plant lovers - we have found the perfect tote bag for you (just the right size to take plant shopping!) Produced as a collaboration between Made By Mrs M and Plant Prints for Peace, not only is this tote super stylish and functional, it's also good for the world as 10% of the profits will help fund the incredible work of Peace Direct. Buy one for everyone you know, and help others at the same time.
Stylish but quirky, Rhiannon Palmer's stunning Concrete and Metallic Necklaces are the perfect gift for anyone that loves unique accessories. Easy to wear, they will dress up a simple outfit, and the hint of metallic means they are ideal for wearing during the upcoming party season!
Kat Wight - Kat and the Monocle
Love cats? Love food? Then how about a bone china plate featuring The Kat and Moncole's 'Mr Bojangles' print?! We reckon it's almost too nice to eat off of, but how about displaying it as a piece of artwork? Although we wouldn't say no to a slice of cake served up on this purrrfect plate.
Zoe Bateman - Too Cute to Quit
Macrame is a huge trend right now, and with this Macrame Statement Necklace by Too Cute To Quit you can now wear it! Made from soft cotton cord in a variety of colours, it's easy to wear and will brighten up any outfit.
With all the madness surrounding the festive season, give someone the gift of relaxation with an Embroidery Starter Kit from Zlalikova Textiles. Not only is learning embroidery a great way to unwind and practice mindfulness, they'll also be learning a new skill and, who knows, maybe embroidery will become their new favourite hobby!
London Craft Club vouchers
One sure fire hit is a London Craft Club voucher. They never expire, and you get a nice physical voucher in the post as well as a pdf in case you need to print it out immediately. Find out more here
Do you have any friends and family you're still trying to find gifts for, or are you super-organised and have completed all your shopping weeks ago?! We'd love to hear from you either way - and if you're stuck for a gift maybe we can help to match you up with a designer maker that has just the thing you're looking for.
The Big Craft Swish is Back! December 7, 2017 17:23
The Big Craft Swish is back, and it's even bigger this year! So get Sunday 28th January 10.00-12.45 in your diary because it's going to be huge...
Purge, streamline, springclean, whatever you want to call it, it's time to open those dusty boxes and pull out the stuff at the back of the drawer! Your unwanted crafty stuff, that fabric you bought on sale but are afraid to try and sew with, that candle making kit you haven't got round to opening, the 57 variations on the same colour yarn - it needs to go to a new home!
Clear our your cupboards and give something back to the crafty world by putting it in the Big Craft Swish. Your rash buys are someone else's perfect crafty find! And you might find a treasure trove of inspirational new stuff to rescue and rehome, so let's make up for our moments of credit card madness and make sure nothing goes to waste!
All profit will be split between Mind and Stop the Traffik
It works like this!
1) Everyone must bring at least one item of quality craft material or kit (drop off from 10.00am)
2) You will have half an hour to browse before the swish opens (10.30 – 11.00am)
3) No item may be claimed before the swish opens at 11.00am
4) As soon as the swish is declared open, everyone may take what they want.
5) Remember we’re here for sharing not sharp elbows!
WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! The Swish needs quite a few people to run it on the day. We need some people to sort the contributions as they come in, and keep the tables tidy, someone to check tickets on the door, someone to set some quiz questions and someone to compere the quiz! Volunteers go free, and get in first to the Swish, so have the best chance of getting their stuff!
*Any piece of crafty materials or kit will count as a crafty contribution, as long as it's not broken or spoiled in any way.
Our roundup of the best indie craft markets in London November 26, 2017 09:41
Feeling a bit jaded after Black Friday? Make a change and finish off your Christmas shopping by doing the best indie craft markets in London. You'll be making those hard-earned pounds of yours contribute to the creative economy on your doorstop, and you'll be giving the coolest gifts in the house!
Start today with ......................................................................................
What: Craft Central Winter Market at The Forge
When: Sunday 26th November
Where: Craft Central at hte Forge, Westferry Road
What they say: Join us this winter at Craft Central's wonderful new home, The Forge, for a seasonal market selling handmade products by over 50 talented craftspeople. Home accessories, fashion, jewellery, ceramics, stationery, prints and more will be on sale. The Craft Central winter market is a chance to meet and shop directly from designer-makers, explore our imaginatively converted 19th century Victorian forge building, take part in one of our family craft workshops and enjoy a drink in our pop-up café.
What :Etsy Made Local 2017 - Tooting Broadway
When: Saturday 2nd December
Where: Tooting Shed and social (map)
What they say: This year, the Etsy London Team is hosting their Etsy Made Local Christmas market in the heart of South London in the beautiful Tram & Social. 40 plus talented local designer-makers from the thriving Etsy London community will be showcasing their wonderful products. Free goody bag stuffed with products for the first 50 visitors and get all your Christmas presents you’ve bought from the market wrapped at the wrapping station – it’s free! So come along to enjoy a day of mulled wine and Christmas music!
What: CROUCH END FESTIVAL 2017 CHRISTMAS MARKET
When: Saturday 2nd December
Where: Crouch End Town Hall Green
What they say: Giant xmas tree switch-on ceremony at 5pm. Full music programme to entertain you while you browse the stalls – check back on this page for full details. You’ll find the market packed with gorgeous gift ideas, plus deliciously tempting food and drink. There are also beautifully wrapped edible gifts too
What: Crafty Fox Christmas Market - Brixton
When: Saturday 2nd December and Sunday 3rd December
Where: The Dogstar Brixton
What they say: Join us for more festive fun at the original Crafty Fox Market venue - the Dogstar in Brixton. You'll find 3 floors of the finest designer/makers selling original gifts alongside drop-in workshops, DJs, mulled wine and The Tea's Knees tearoom. Different traders each day
What: GREENWICH PENINSULA PRESENT SAMPLE CURATED BY HEMINGWAYDESIGN
When: Saturday 2nd December and Sunday 3rd December
Where: Greenwich Peninsula
What they say: Join us this December for London’s most vibrant urban market. A celebration of the start of the new season through fresh produce and modern craftsmanship showcasing the latest emerging creatives from the world of fashion, beatify, art, design and homewares. Workshops running throughout both days
What: Bust Craftacular
When: Sunday 3rd December
Where: York Hall, Bethnal Green
What they say: This year's event has over 100 designer-makers represented, across 70 stalls. Plus the usual Craftacular festive mix of workshops, Drink Shop & Do cafe, DJs, activities, raffle and demos
What: Morley College Christmas Fair
When: Sunday 3rd December
Where: Morley College London, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7HT
What they say: Celebrate the festive season at the annual Morley Winter Fair. Pick up unique, handcrafted gifts for Christmas, enjoy live performances and demonstrations and take part in taster sessions happening throughout the day. Try delicious street food, mulled wine and mince pies! Performances will take place in Morley's prestigious Holst Room from 11am - 3pm with a mixture of Kathak dancing, Opera, Flamenco dancing, Folk Choir and more to keep you entertained through out the day. We are running a number of tasters to excite and inspire you!
When: December Tuesday 5th December Sunday 10th December
What they say: The best place for jewellery by indie makers this Christmas. This exhibition celebrates the variety of mediums used to make jewellery in a modern world with handcrafted work by 9 different jewellers. Includes work by Rhiannon Palmer, the designer who created the smash hit casting concrete jewellery workshops at London Craft Club
What: Renegade Craft Fair
When :Saturday 9th December and Sunday 10th December
Where: The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane
What they say: With over 200 makers, Renegade is a celebration of the creative spirit. Each fair showcases emergent and seasoned independent makers alike, with 2017 will markingour 7th year in Londontown!
What: Pexmas Festive 2017
When: Saturday 9th December and Sunday 10th December
Where: Warwick Gardens
What they say: Catch us in Warwick Gardens in December for all your favourites at the sixth year of our original festive market. Mulled Wine. Stalls. Street Food. Tunes. All the stuff. Keep it LOCAL. #pexmas2017 #countdown
Hey let me know if we missed your favourite one off - I'm always keen to find more!
Happiness really is a Handmade Christmas November 16, 2017 20:22
The Spring 2018 Programme of workshops! November 12, 2017 10:44
We'll be steadily announcing more and more of our Spring workshops over the next couple of weeks, but to whet your appetite here are the first five! There will be more coming soon so keep an eye on the newsletter and our social media.
I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas... November 12, 2017 10:08
Although here at London Craft Club HQ we love crafting all year round (I mean, who doesn't?!) there's something about the colder weather that's been creeping in that makes us want to craft constantly. But not just any crafts - we are pulling out all the 'cold weather crafts.' Those projects that you can snuggle up with on the sofa with a huge mug of tea while watching Elf. (Yeah, we have started watching Christmas movies already, someone should really stage an intervention.)
Despite it not being the most Christmassy colour ever, we've definitely noticed a colour scheme running through our current projects. Except we liked pink before it became the 'millennial pink' colour of choice.
Nothing says warm and cosy like a spot of knitting. Sonia knitted up these Bjork-inspired fluffy pink mohair wrist warmers recently and we are totally smitten with how soft and snuggly they are!
And if knitting is a bit outside your comfort zone then why not give arm knitting a go? It's much easier than regular knitting and a hundred times faster too! In fact, it's so quick that you can whip up a scarf in two hours, so perfect for when relatives turn up unannounced and you have nothing to give them. Our Arm Knitting Workshop has you covered.
Christmas is the season for PARTIES. Whether it's the work party, a family get together, dinner and drinks with your friends, everyone's social calendars seem full to bursting at this time of year. And if you're in need of new accessories without breaking the bank then fear not, our Box Clutch Workshop will save the day! Not only will you make your own bespoke party clutch bag, but you'll be able to use your new found skills to make more bags after the workshop - one to go with every outfit maybe?
And of course no Christmas celebration is complete without a Christmas tree, and no tree is complete without DECORATIONS. While you can buy some lovely ones in the shops, there is nothing as special and meaningful as a handmade decoration. Our Heirloom Tree Decoration Workshop will show you how to make your own luxury hand-stitched ornament that would make a thoughtful gift, or a beautiful addition to your own tree. What do you think about pink for Christmas? Do you love quirky new colours or good old red and green?
Happy Christmas memories still live in these little ornaments November 5, 2017 10:11
When you think of Christmas, chances are you think of Christmas trees and, more specifically, of decorating that tree. Most of my earliest memories of Christmas involve getting our decorations out of the loft, unwrapping them, and hanging them carefully on the branches one by one. Each decoration holds so many memories, of times and places and people, that I wanted to share some of my favourites with you, and hopefully you'll want to share some of your decorations and the memories attached to them with us.
These are from my distant childhood, and I can't remember a Christmas without a them.They are a bit grubby now and their satin finish is looking a bit worse for wear, but I still love them and the memories they evoke.
What would Christmas be without handmade decorations? The one on the left was made by my step-daughter when she was about ten, and the gingerbread house on the right was made by my little boy when he was three. I love these ones so much as they were the first ones they each made for our tree.
Poor little guy - he's lost his ride! But my hubby loves this weird little chap as he remembers him from his childhood Christmases.
These baubles marked my entry into the world of grown up Christmas ornaments. They were the first decorations I bought that were not glittery, and every time I look at them I think that if I wanted, I could have an elegant and stylish Christmas. But the truth is I don't - I want a tinsel smothered sparklefest with mince pies, inflatable santas, and cheesy Christmas songs. But I can have a few fancy ornaments on the tree...
Why not add to your collection of Christmas memories by decorating your tree with a handmade ornament or two? We have two wonderful workshops coming up that will show you how to create your own decorations such as the handstitched leather decorations pictured above. And once you've mastered it you'll be able to make them to gift to friends and family too, and spread the memories and love even further.
Zoe and Sonia at The Knitting and Stitching Show October 20, 2017 16:41
If there is one thing Team London Craft Club loves more than making things, it's shopping for supplies to make things with. Fabric, yarn, ribbon, thread, scissors (don't get us started on our scissor obsession) we love it all. So when we were offered press passes for The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace we couldn't say no (plus we felt super cool all day wearing our fancy lanyard passes all day!) It's one of our favourite crafting events of the year and it's easy to see why with so many talented creatives under one roof.
Although there are lots of finished items for sale, the main focus of the event is craft supplies, with stalls selling everything you could need for crafts ranging from yarn dyeing, to crochet, to shibori, to embroidery. If you love craft supplies (and who doesn't?) then this is the place to come. And while we are both what I like to politely call 'unfocused crafters' (because we love every craft going!) we noticed we were being drawn towards particular crafts. Sonia was eyeing up fabrics, with plans of recreating one of her favourite jackets in a jazzy colour or print. However it was a DIY shibori fabric patchwork quilt from Changs Fabrics that had us making serious heart eyes. How gorgeous would this look on the back of a sofa or on the end of your bed?
Having recently become addicted to punch needle rug hooking I was on the hunt for some quirky handyed or handspun yarns, so I was VERY excited to find the gorgeous Spin City stand. Packed full of vibrant rainbow coloured batts and gorgeous handspun art yarns, it was definitely a feast for the eyes. As well as creating incredible things, owner Louise also teaches spinning workshops (the yarn kind not the gym bike kind!) on both drop spindles and on spinning wheels. She kindly demonstrated both for us, and now Sonia and I have decided we need to learn to spin our own yarn!
The Knitting and Stitching Show is always so packed full of inspiration - not just from the array of products on offer, but also the displays themselves. One of our favourites was this ingenious way of displaying yarn by Toft Alpaca. How awesome would it be to have something like this at home? You could easily see all your yarns, even the ones at the bottom! Toft also make gorgeous yarns, and have kits to make up some of the cutest amigurumi animals you ever did see.
Both Sonia and I fell instantly in love with the Flat Mannie cardboard Tailor Dummies, used to store and show off your favourite craft supplies. Such a simple idea, but they looked so effective, and they provide practical storage whilst also being aesthetically pleasing. We'd like one in every size please!
Unfortunately (or fortunately in the case of our bank balances!) we couldn't spend all day staring at beautiful crafty things. However we both left feeling inspired and full of ideas for London Craft Club, and with pockets full of business cards from the lovely people we met. We may even have started planning some new workshops.... Stay tuned! Did anyone else visit The Knitting and Stitching Show last weekend? What were your favourite finds or buys? If you missed it then fear not - it's held twice a year in London so pop the next date in your diary and start saving those pennies!
5 Things on My Autumn Checklist October 8, 2017 09:14
Who else can't believe it's October already? Time is flying by, and we are trying to remember to do all our favourite Autumnal things, so we thought we would put together a little checklist to remind us of the things we love to do during our favourite season.
1. Autumnal Decorating - Although we can't exactly redecorate our entire house every season (though wouldn't that be fun?!), its always nice to change things up every so often. In Autumn we bring out the cosy sofa blankets, buy new candles, and add little hints of Autumnal colours everywhere. Copper is so on trend right now for homewares, so the candleholder I made in our Copper Candelabra Workshop has pride of place on the dining room table. If you'd like to make one of your own there are a few spaces left!
2. Baking - Anything baked with apples, pumpkin or cinnamon gets my vote. There's something so Autumnal about those flavours, and I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a good book, a cup of tea, and a slice of homemade cake. One of my current favourites is this Pumpkin, Chocolate and Ginger Bread Wreath by Domestic Gothess.
3. Get Cosy - There are few things in life I love more than getting cosy in an oversized jumper, or wrapping up warm in a chunky scarf. Especially if they are a yummy Autumnal colour like mustard or burnt orange. And if, like me, you're a fan of getting snug as a bug in a rug, then our Arm Knitting Workshop is THE place to be. Learn to make your own super cosy scarf, and use the arm knitting technique to make other things such as a blanket. Because, let's face it, you can never have too many blankets...
4. Go Outside - Yes, I know I've been going on about how much I love staying inside in Autumn but it's good to get outside too, even if it is only to show off your new jumper! Wrap up warm and go for a walk in your local park to take in all the gorgeous Autumn colours. Crunch through the leaves and, while you're there, gather up a few particularly attractive ones and use them in a craft project. We particularly love these DIY Autumn Leaves Fairy Lights by Wallflower Kitchen. Perfect for bringing a bit of the outside inside.
5. Learn a New Craft - As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, most of us find ourselves spending more and more time indoors and in particular, if you're anything like me, more time snuggled on the sofa. Although it may be tempting to use that time to binge watch your current favourite TV show (hello Game of Thrones!) why not learn a new craft skill instead? Our Hand Sewing Workshop is perfect for keeping your hands busy, and doesn't require any fancy tools like a sewing machine. Plus you can get a headstart on Christmas presents by making some!
And in case you need any more Autumnal Inspiration (because you can never have too much of a good thing, right?) be sure to check out our Pinterest board dedicated to our favourite season.
What are your favourite things to do in Autumn? Do you have any special traditions you take part in at this time of year?
The Handmade Fair v Sewing Bee Live September 24, 2017 09:23
It’s no secret that crafting and handmade is back in a big way, and with TV shows such as Channel 4’s ‘Craft It Yourself’ being watched by millions of viewers, craft is definitely no longer a pastime of the minority.
And as craft has become more mainstream there have been an increasing number of events popping up around the UK catering for crafters. With so many to choose from we decided to take one for the team and review two of the most recent events – The Handmade Fair and The Great British Sewing Bee.
Artcuts fabulous stand at the Handmade Fair
First up was The Handmade Fair. Held in The Green at Hampton Court Palace, and spearheaded by Queen of Crafts Kirstie Allsopp, The Handmade Fair is like a mini festival dedicated entirely to crafting (and with much nicer toilets.) There are food trucks, talks, workshops, book signings, demonstrations, and of course plenty of things to buy. Handmade items from some of the countries best designer makers are available to purchase – from jewellery, to bags, to artisanal brownies (yes, we taste-tested those for you too and they were incredible.) And for those who enjoy getting in on the craft action there are plenty of stalls selling all manner of craft supplies. So whether you’re a fabric junkie, a yarn hoarder, or looking to take up needle felting, there will be materials and tools to tempt you.
The Super Theatre where lots of talks take place
But it’s not all about the shopping, as we had to keep reminding ourselves. The Handmade Fair has an amazing selection of workshops on offer too – ranging from origami, to basket weaving, to paper quilling, each one is a perfect introduction to a new craft. And who knows, maybe you’ll find your new craft obsession (or three if you’re anything like us!)
The lovely lady from Selvedge Magazine was caught in the rain a few times
The Great British Sewing Bee Live is held at the ExCel London, and showcases everything sewing related. Sewing workshops, sewing talks, drop is sewing clinics, sewing supplies to buy… you get the picture! Plus if you’re lucky you might even spot Patrick Grant himself wandering around (form an orderly queue ladies!)
Sewing Bee Live is big!
Like The Handmade Fair it’s much more than just a shopping event, but if you’re in the mood to spend some dosh then there’s no shortage of beautiful things to buy. The focus here is much more heavily on items you can use to make things, rather than handmade items, but they have everything you could ever need if you are a sewer, including every kind of fabric imaginable.
Sewing workshops for all skill levels
Fancy brushing up on your sewing skills? They’ve got you covered with workshops including pattern drafting, mastering an overlocker, and tailoring techniques. There’s a drop in sewing clinic where you can get one to one advice and tips from the experts, as well as some of the biggest names in sewing machines showcasing their latest offerings for you to test out.
Tilly and the Buttons lovely stall at Sewing Bee Live
So which one should you visit? Well if you’re a sewer then you will find nirvana at The Great British Sewing Bee as the entire show is dedicated to the one craft. However if you’re more of a general crafter like us, or a wannabe crafty type who just wants an inspiring day out, then The Handmade Fair is the place to go as there is a much larger variety of crafts on offer. Whichever event you choose we know you’ll have a great time – and who knows, maybe we will see you there? Don't forget to head to our Facebook page for more pics from both events.
If you’ve been to any brilliant crafty events then do please let us know – we love any excuse to get out of the office for a ‘business trip’! And if you can’t wait till next year to get your craft one, then why not check out our calendar of workshops - we’d love to have you join us.
The Pom Maker! September 18, 2017 20:39 20 Comments
“Why do we need a pom pom maker that looks like a donut, when we can use a bit of old cardboard?” is what we naively asked ourselves, mainly because old habits die hard and we have been using circles cut from cereal boxes since we were kids. Well the answer is threefold…
Firstly, let’s talk aesthetics. Not only does the Donut Pom Maker come in the most gorgeous packaging ever (a screenprinted cotton drawstring bag with a witty tag attached) but the Pom Maker itself is a thing of beauty. Let’s face it, there is nothing Instagrammable about a mangled bit of old cardboard, but the Donut Pom Maker is so adorable you’ll want to make pom poms every day just so you can photograph your new FCT (favourite craft tool – because we all have one, right?)
Secondly, and some would say most importantly, it makes really good pom poms. There is nothing more disappointing than a sparse, uneven, sad looking pom pom, but those are a thing of the past with the Pom Maker. It holds much more yarn than other pom pom makers, which gives you a really dense and super fluffy pom pom every single time. And let’s face it, that’s the name of the game when you’re making pom poms. You’ll still need to give your pom poms a good trim though, because trimming is key to a nice even pom pom.
Thirdly, and probably our favourite reason, when you buy a Pom Maker you are supporting an independent handmade business that makes each one from sustainable beech wood, paints each piece using non-toxic paint, and lovingly packages and ships them to you. The end result is something beautiful yet functional, that you’ll love having as part of your crafting kit.
We took our Donut Pom Maker along to our most recent Craft Life social event and everyone was impressed with it – there were of course lots of cries of “ITS SO CUTE” but that’s to be expected. I think it’s safe to say we have converted more than a few lovely crafters to using the Pom Maker for all their pom pom needs!
And if you’re now desperate to make pom poms, why not check out the competition over on our Instagram page where you can win a Donut Pom Maker of your own! If you don't win, get one here!
By Zoe aka Too Cute To Quit
In the interest of honesty, you should know that we were sent this Pom Maker for free to try out, in return for an unbiased review. Zoe genuinely loves a pom pom so seemed the perfect person to review it.
What should we do about craft and wellness? September 3, 2017 10:41
Anyone who’s got a creative hobby will have a sense that it’s doing them good in some way. Whether it’s cross-stitch or screen-printing, as soon as you immerse yourself in it, the world and its worries wash away and are replaced by the gentile but exhilarating sense of flow. It’s your own thing, and it feels really good to do it.
The media are increasingly recognising that there’s more to the modern craft movement than just cutesie cottage décor too. Like yoga before it, craft is starting to move away from eccentric to mainstream, partly because of its undeniable benefits both physical and mental. There is plenty of evidence of the benefit of craft to health and wellbeing, from the success of the prison stitching project Fine Cell Work to the research around quilting improving mental agility with its spacial problem solving challenge. A couple of years ago I blogged on a similar topic and didn’t find a lot of evidence, whereas now there’s more, and what there is, is easier to find.
This week I was lucky enough to take part in the Holborn Magazines’ panel discussion Craft And Wellness, along with Rachel of Ray Stitch (the stand-out best fabric store in North London), Lottie of the new-wave WI Shoreditch Sisters and Sarah of the Craftivist Collective, award-winning campaigner. Before the event, the four of us sat down for a drink and a chat about some of the issues we were due to discuss.
Ray Stitch is going from strength to strength as the demand for modern, on-trend dress-making fabric grows. The Shoreditch Sisters WI is thriving as a diverse local community with craft at its heart, and Sarah’s quiet craftivism is regularly recognised for its impressive results in changing attitudes and influencing politicians. London Craft Club’s own events are full of people wanting to explore craft, many citing stress and a wish a for a supportive community as their reason. (Don't forget to look at our programme of workshops!)
In a room full of crafters, the idea that craft is good for you is not a hard sell. But beyond that – well who hasn’t had a friend who thinks your crafting is a bit grannyish, geeky or just a bit boring despite the rising trend? The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throw Down have definitely improved the public perception of craft to some extent, but laughingly we all confessed to moments when we’ve kept quiet about our crafty obsessions as if they were a guilty pleasure.
For me, the mark of an event that was worth going to is one that changes your opinion or influences your behaviour for the better. The audience this week were well versed in the benefits of craft and suggested lots of interventions, but the discussion often came back to how a widespread lack of understanding about these benefits preventing craft being widely used as a tool for good. The logical action for me is to be a better ambassador for the benefits of craft.
So London Craft Club’s contribution to this is two-fold. First, to actively encourage all our community to share how craft improves their lives. For everyone it’s different, but please do think on it and share your thoughts in person and anywhere else you can.
And secondly, we’re working on an event, which we think is rather special and that anyone at all can join in. Watch this space, craft ambassadors!
Coffee and Craft is getting a makeover! August 27, 2017 10:53
Our monthly social Coffee and Craft and maybe a Cocktail has been running for over 3 years now, and it's time for a bit of a makeover!
London Craft Club is all about how to live your best (craft) life, so we decided to give our socials a name that reflected that. So... welcome to Craft Life!
We welcome totally craft newbies and craftaholics alike, and there's always a waiting list to come along. There's always a free taster craft for everyone to try, and we invite people to bring something they're working on for show and tell. It's warm, friendly and a whirlwind of creativity. I love it from the bottom of my heart!
This month we are making keyrings made from pleather and recycled leather. We've got a secret weapon when it comes to working with pleather that we'll reveal on the day! Come and experiment!
We'll also be showing off our newest craft crush, the Pom Maker! Made of sustainable birch and off the scale cute, these make perfect poms and feel heavenly in your hand. Come along a see one in action, and enter our September giveaway for a chance to win one of your own.
Join us at Saucer and Spritz on Saturday 16th September, don't forget to RSVP to get your place here!
Don't mourn August! August 20, 2017 09:43
Don’t mourn August! September is 100% better. Better outfits, better stuff to do. Here’s just a few things I am excited about along with beautiful Autumn colours and handsome new stationary!
10-12 September Top Drawer (Olympia)
This is bit of an insider's treat - it's a show for designers and makers to show their stuff off to potential stockists. It includes a lot of crafters showing their work, and the visitors are a mix of stylists and buyers for shops so it's more about taking large orders than one off purchases. But you can go and have a nosey. Register and a get a free ticket or buy one for £20
15-17 September The Handmade Fair (Hampton Court)
Kirstie Allsopp's outdoor crafty festival has quickly become one of the loveliest days out in the crafty calendar. There's fabulous shopping and a lot of workshops to keep you busy, it's probably worth a two day ticket. We're giving away four pairs of tickets this August, and to claim a ticket just tag us on Instagram or Twitter (@londoncraftclub)
16-17 September 2017 Crafty Fox Bussey Building, Peckham (part of Peckham Festival)
The regular Crafty Fox craft market is always worth a visit. London has a wonderful community of makers and crafters who took the plunge and ditch the day job, and at Crafty Fox you can feel meet them face to face and use your pounds to support them. Plus it's great shopping!
21-24 September The Great British Sewing Bee Live (Excel)
This one is a new addition - apparently the demise of Bake Off took Sewing Bee off our TVs too, but Patrick and Esme have still been busy! Sewing Bee Live looks set to be a sewists dream - I hear a lot of the workshops are excellent but booked up. Today there is a half price ticket offer on.
21-24 London Fashion Week Festival, Store Studios WC2R
Really beautifully-crafted clothes, made with the finest materials, are like catnip to a sewist like me! Head to some of the talks and events that run alongside the shows and parties, to get some great inspiration for your own Autumn collection. Use up all that fabric you bought at Sewing Bee and the Handmade Fair
21-24 London Design Festival (WH Craft Prize, Kensington)
There's so much to see at LDF, including lots at the V&A but I'm most keen to see the Woman's Hour Craft Prize. As a long time devotee of Woman's Hour and the even more awesome late night version with Lauren Lavern, this prize is two of my favourite things coming together.
That's just a few of the things that are coming up in September, not to mention Underbelly at the South Bank, the Raindance Film Festival and the Vinyl Festival. So let's get in the mood for Autumn.
What are you looking forward to most in September, and have you got your tickets?
Find out about our day at the live antiques auction July 22, 2017 22:26 3 Comments
If you love a good market, you'll most likely enjoy going to a live antiques auction. Yesterday we went to one looking for Mid Century ceramics , rare posters and some cutlery. We did find some real gems and it was a lovely afternoon, so I thought I'd describe what it's like to go and bid at one.
It's not fancy but it is fun!
Mr London Craft Club is a dealer in antique posters which means we regularly find ourselves at auctions around the country looking for rare posters. This Saturday we visited Henry Aldridge and Son Auction Rooms in Devizes, Wiltshire, looking for posters for him and any nice little gems for me. We drove to Devizes and while I drove, Mr LCC bid on, and won some, cutlery using The Saleroom.com (a way to bid online at live auctions)
Mr LCC looking casual as he bids
When you arrive you have to register, and then you're issued a bidding number to wave around. But don't wave it around unless you really mean to buy, as once your bid is accepted, you will be invoiced and there's no going back! To bid on something, raise your number for the auctioneer to see - be quick as he does around 100 lots per hour! This is also a good rule of thumb if you only want to see one or two lots, then you don't have to be there all day and you can work out what time to rock up.
Lot 376 a necklace by Graham Watling, British Silversmith. Mine all mine!!!
There will be people bidding on the phone and on the internet, so it moves really fast. If you win, hold your number up again so they can take a note of who won that lot.
One of the best things about vintage or antiques is that your money goes so much further. Good stuff isn’t gong for peanuts, but it’s often better quality than new items at the same price. Plus it has a story, a provenance, all of it’s own. eBay can be a good way to buy - but you can't see your potential purchases in the flesh. With vintage that's really important… as I was reminded this weekend! And as with markets and charity shops, you need to be ready to rummage.
A mix of bonkers tat and total gems (depending on your opinion!)
When we got there, we looked out the posters we’d come to see and then browsed the sale room for things that might not have stood out in the catalogue. We also had a look at our internet-won cutlery, which turned out to be a pile of total tat. That’s what you get for not viewing it in person!
Actually, when we got home we found some lovely little silver mustard spoons that made up for how awful and knackered the knives were!
There were also a couple of totally wonderful finds. We bought 6 pieces of ceramics by Penelope Ellis, daughter of Mid Century Modern design power-couple Rosemary and Clifford Ellis.
One huge tip is to remember you pay about 21% extra on top of what you bid because of commission and VAT. You can also be charged about 3% extra for bidding on line. And if you buy something big, don't forget you may need it delivered. A courier from Devizes to London - ouch...
Posters, bowls, plates, vases, and the rubbish cutlery
A print by Edward Lear the writer, poet and author
Inge Lisa Koeford vase. It's looking down from a shelf at me now with it's two mad eyes!
Elvis Presley wore these hideous PJs for one week while he was in hospital. They made £8,000 yesterday. I am stunned.
At the end of the day, you pay for your stuff at the saleroom office, and they give you a slip to prove you've paid. Then you can pick up your stuff, and race home to play with it all! Buying at auction is fun, competitive and you can get anything from a great bargain to a total ripoff!
Both Mr LCC and I have one big tip tip. Buy for love not money. You can't predict the market, but if you love it, you'll love living with it.
Have you ever been to a live auction? Do you think it sounds a bit scary or would you be happy to go for it?
Flora is uncovering London's wild colour secrets for us July 16, 2017 00:17
Flora's recipe book
Flora has been sharing her knowledge of how to identify plants that can be used to dye fabric on our outdoor walks. She brings her beautiful "recipe book" to shows the colours plants produce when used to dye different fabrics and yarn. Her Battersea walk is already one of our highest rated sessions, and her next one at Hampstead promises to be even better. (Click to see our Facebook pics)
As well as the walks, Flora has been leading us through the dye techniques in her workshops too. So far this year we've done both bundle dye and Shibori, with wonderful results. We use Habotai silk scarves, which have a floaty light texture and a beautiful sheen, and at 72 inches long they are a really good size.
Bundle dyed fabric from our workshop
Natural dyeing is one of the most direct and exciting crafts we do - when you open out your fabric and reveal what you've created it's a wonderful moment. It's always slightly unpredictably but that's the great joy of it!
Find out more about Flora here
Flora's bundle dye workshops
5 of my favourite ways to find creative inspiration July 9, 2017 10:04
Some days I want to make stuff because I love making, but I'm not sure what I want to make. These are the days when I feel I need to look actively for inspiration, and here's some things I like to start with
1 - handle my raw materials
Sometimes I find that just handling the fabric, leather, metal, paper or whatever it is can kick start my thinking. This works best if it's a materials I know well, but feeling the way materials behave in my hands of ten prompts ideas
handling leather to find out what it likes to do
2 - go back to my own themes
We all have our own creative themes, even if you haven't consciously identified them yet. Whether it's a love of neutral colours, or geometric shapes, or big leaves, you've probably got visual things you're often drawn to. Think of your favourite clothes and things in your house, the ones that make you feel nice, and look for similarities you can use as a creative starting point
these are my current favourite colours, shapes and textures
3 -find a problem to solve
A totally blank canvas can be overwhelming. Some of the best creative work is done in response to a brief, because a brief is basically a problem that needs a creative solution. So for instance - "make some jewellery" is very broad.. But "make a necklace that I can wear with my favourite orange halter-neck summer dress" is specific and gives you a starting point.
this bag was made to go with a bright orange dress that I wore to a wedding
4 - activate your eyes
In London inspiration is everywhere, and that's why it's so great! So if you're running out of ideas, look up. Consciously activate your eyes. Lift your head and look at colours, shapes, textures, other people and floating plastic bags. Take photos in your head (and on your phone) of visual things that inspire you everywhere from the corner shop to the museums
visual surprises are everywhere
5 - free your ideas from "perfect"
Get a pen and doodle ideas and words down on a piece of paper, with a bin (recycling bin of course) next to you. Write, doodle, draw, and then bin each page as you go. That way there's no pressure on your output to be any good, and you can just free up your thinking without any need to be perfect.
FFS feminism is just a word June 18, 2017 02:05
I used to be very wary of the label Feminist, but I have to say with the possibility of the DUP getting into government and pushing women's and LGBT rights backwards, I am freaking out. about feminism. The Handmaid's Tale isn't helping.
Being a feminist means that you have a plain and simple belief that all men and women have equal value and equal rights.
In fact, how on earth did even the word feminism get taken away from women in the first place? Despite Emma Watson's efforts, it's still an awkward tag. Like even still, wanting equality makes you a ranty, tree-hugging, badly-dressed pain in the arse.
Right now, with our hard won progress towards all sorts of equality under threat, frankly I don't care if people do think I'm awkward. We have a Feminist Embroidery workshop coming up, which we put on because we thought it would be fun to celebrate some of the great characters of feminism. Since then, things have changed and it feels more urgent.
I know almost no feminist theory. My feminism is born of experience, and hearing women's stories. I absolutely do not think this invalidates my opinions, it means there is more exciting stuff to learn, more opinions for me to hear.
So... I'm up for a bit political stitching if you are. Join us at Drink Shop Do or the Nines. No theory required, just come to share thoughts, stories and stitches.
Help out a researcher studying crafting stories June 16, 2017 23:23
This week Naomi Clarke got in touch with us out of the blue. Naomi is a craft blogger, but she's also doing her MSc in Social Work Research. Like any resourceful, creative person would, she's found a way to delve into her two interests at the same time and is doing her MSC research into the stories of the new crafty generation.
You can help her out by taking part here. It's a lovely project, and great craft blog too. We all wish Naomi the best of luck, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the results.
The paper I made June 16, 2017 22:24
Here we go - the paper that I made at West Dean. Dried, flat, and ready to write on. I will defintitely be doing this again! See the blog post where I made it here
Hello Epping - come see us at Todd Sloane June 10, 2017 13:47
Hello to you Epping! What a lovely forest you have, and how cool is your High Street with all it's fantastic independent shops. I've been visiting for years, so I'm really pleased to have teamed up with Todd Sloane, a lovely homewares and gift shop. Together we'll be bringing you our very best workshops from August.
Todd Sloane is one of those shops that's so full of cute things it's almost dangerous! They also have an excellent coffee shop and the brunch is BRILLIANT. Check out their Instagram @toddsloaneshop to whet your appetite.
Our first workshop is the super popular Make Summer Espadrilles workshop followed by a new workshop every month.
My turn to be the student June 10, 2017 00:27 1 Comment
Last weekend I went to the West Dean craft fair and lay in the sunshine on the grass listening to music, and went to two lovely craft workshops.
Here's my day in pictures
Paper making workshop
This was so much fun! Making paper is messy, immediate and colourful. We did a little intro workshop and there was tons of wonderful terminology like couching (pronounced kooching) and kissing off. I would most definitely recommend it!
Folded copper jewellery workshop
I loved this, hammering and heating copper up. It reminded me of the glass blowing studio of my student days. I made a wierd looking thing but had a great time exploring copper and what it can do. Plus it's always great hitting things with a hammer.
In between workshops we had a lovely potter around the grounds
The last three years May 28, 2017 12:07
This last three years have been huge for me. Incredible. Life changing.
London Craft Club, my little passion project that I started back in 2014, has taken on a life of its own, and grown bigger than I ever expected.
When we started in 2014, I designed and taught all the workshops myself. All the materials lived in a cupboard under the telly. I drove everything about in my little car, and handed out fliers all over the place by hand.
A year later and I’d starting asking hand-picked guest teachers to create and teach brand new workshops – the first two were the wonderful Riannon of I Make Knots and brilliant Rhiannon of Rhiannon Palmer Jewellery. It was hugely successful and our beloved #crafttarts* joined in droves because of the variety of workshops we offered.
Bounce on to 2016 and we’re still growing! Darling wonderful Hannah Miles joined, kicking our social media into order and coordinating our schedule brilliantly. Between us we found our gang of awesome craft hosts. The originals were Dee, Will, Eleanor, Kat and Zuz, and their arrival meant that I could actually spend evenings and weekends at home with my family at last.
And now it’s halfway through 2017. In January Briony joined the gang, initially as a volunteer but now as our Live Events Manager, and our events programme is going through the roof. We have an amazing (but top secret project) taking shape, and things are looking rosy for London Craft Club. It has definitely had it’s ups and downs, but here we are, three years on, and I can’t believe how well its gone.
I am totally in love with London Craft Club, and how it unleashes creativity, kicks off new friendships, builds confidence and brings happiness to so many people. It helps the professional and aspiring professional craft community in London and educates people about the products they consume. The community gathering around it is truly beautiful and I’m so grateful to everyone for being part of it. I really feel that it’s one drop of good in the world, and all the drops combine to form a flood of positivity that can carry us through anything.
And now, if we are going to keep up with this movement, we are going to need help. If you are the kind of person who loves a goal, is confident, fascinated by people, and enjoys social media, you might want to join us as our Sales and Marketing Coordinator. Or if you like nothing better than having everything in its right place, and have a head for dates and details, you might be interested in being our Logistics Coordinator. They’re both part-time and very flexible, on a temp to perm basis, and based in North London
If you’d like to know more, email firstname.lastname@example.org and join us on this wonderful, creative, journey building a social enterprise that makes the world a better place
* What's a craft tart? It's a very affectionate term that I coined the term for me but it fits tons of us! Someone who loves trying new crafts all the time, and can't resist a new kit or a new technique!