Many moons ago, the Studio had a monthly calendar event called “Open Craft Night.” These involved going to a local pub once a month, where we would have a room to ourselves to take on a designated craft. Some of the items we have made were pillow cases, button bracelets, felt flower lapel pins and that good old stalwart, bunting. But as time went on, the venues we used were sold and the rooms became unavailable or became too expensive to rent when trying to recoup the costs. So our group that was the OCN faded away.
However, one of our crafty alumnae Lucy, who has been to a slew of workshops here at the Studio, set up a craft club in her local area (Poynton). She mentioned it to me in an email a few months ago and I asked her if she would share her experience of how she set it up as well as how they maintain it moving forward. She thought it was a great idea and amongst her very busy priorities (three children under 5!) took time out to write this post for the Studio.
It was while feeding my youngest recently, at 3 in the morning, that I realised I had no social life and – possibly even worse – no time for making things, which is one of my favourite things to do. With three very young children, I had become a frustrated crafter!
After learning knitting and embroidery from my Mum during childhood, I had a few years’ hiatus from crafting – until my eldest niece was due and I wanted to make a present for her. Now, nearly eight years later, I have three children of my own, a rekindled love for all things crafty, and nowhere near enough time to indulge myself.
So, the Poynton Mums’ Craft Club was born (during that same 3 am feed!).
I follow a couple of crafty groups on Facebook which encourage people to share what they’ve made and offer a social media outlet for people who want to sell their products. But I wanted something a bit *more*, because what was missing was the reality of meeting up with people for a sociable and fun crafty adventure. Almost as importantly I wanted to get out of the house into a grown up environment on a semi-regular basis!
There are hundreds of crafters in my local area but I really wanted to connect with other mums who probably felt the same as me about needing adult company and ‘me time’ for getting back to their crafting, so I posted on my neighbourhood mums’ group on Facebook to see if there was any interest – and oh yes, there really was! Within hours I discovered a group of other frustrated crafters who had been forced to negotiate around toddlers and babies when they wanted to make anything, because it certainly adds a new perspective to being crafty when your three year old wants to help you knit, and proceeds to run around the dining table holding the end of your wool!
Thinking that the best way forward was to connect us all together, I set up a new Facebook group and linked to it from my earlier post. The group quickly grew to include 25 members and we all wrote a short blurb to introduce ourselves and show some photos of things we’d made. We had knitters, sewers, crocheters, felters, embroiderers, button artists, and many more. (As a side note, seeing all the lovely things people make whetted my incorrigible appetite for learning new crafts – dangerous territory!). In fact the Facebook group (now with 31 members) is fast becoming a hub of chat and activity as we swap ideas and advice on our various crafts … and show off what we’ve been making.
Not wanting to lose this amazing momentum I used the tools on our Facebook group to create a real life event, booked a table at our local pub, and invited my new crafting pals to join me a few days later.
We’ve now had two crafty meet ups, with five mums attending the first and seven of us at the next one. We’ve dates in the diary until the end of the school year, meeting every other week on different evenings so that we can all negotiate our various childcare challenges and attend some of the time, if not every time.
We’re lucky to have found an enthusiastic host pub (we moved venue after our first meet because we wanted a relaxed vibe and the first pub we tried was too full of hustle and bustle) – and the team there has welcomed us with open arms, even throwing in jugs of soft drinks and nibbles and not batting an eyelid when we started some minor furniture rearrangement to better suit our group.
Not everyone has crafts which are easy to transport so I bring along a few extra bits and bobs for people to get creative with – usually involving my current obsession with felt – so that no one feels left out.
For me, our craft socials are achieving exactly what I needed. I get out of the house, enjoy a nice glass of wine, chat with other local mums, and I get to make something at the same time. I’ve even finished off a couple of small projects that had been glaring at me from my overflowing craft cupboard. And it was so easy to get off the ground, so if you’re a frustrated crafter like me, why not do the same?! Or indeed search Facebook for a crafting group near you – there’s bound to be one.