Handmade Monday 188 – What Happens in a Class?

Welcome to this week’s Handmade Monday – pop over to Handmade Harbour and treat yourself to an hour or so browising the work of some very talented crafters and artists.


I’ve realised that although I spend alot of my time teaching I rarely blog about what happens in a class! So I’m aiming to change that in the coming weeks.

Today I’ll give a brief overview of the various classes that are running and the sort of things we do

Open to All

Beginners Crochet – Starts 13.10. 14 @ Hedge End, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

wpid-20140303_195614.jpgIn beginners classes there is usually a mixture of people, from those who have never picked up a hook in their lives to those who have learned a bit off the net or who crocheted years ago but have forgotten how to get going again.

For the purposes of this post I’ll focus on the 1st week: We start by finding the best way to hold the hook and yarn for you – I start by teaching the best way, both right and left handed and then work with individuals who are struggling to find a technique that is best for them. It might be holding the hook differently or threading your hand another way with the yarn. We then move on and practice chain stitch. When everyone is confident they are able to manage that, we start on the 1st lesson proper – making a granny square. I choose the granny square because the foundation chain doesn’t need to be perfect as its hidden inside the centre and its  a popular thing to make. Once you have mastered it you can go on to create anything from handbags to cushions to blankets. To achieve this we then learn slip stitch, joining a chain to make a ring and treble crochet, plus how to put them all together to make a square. After the 1sr couple of round I introduce pattern reading, so that the group start to get a handle on the abbreviations and how crochet patterns are written. I colour code the pattern and break each round down into manageable sections. Once we’ve covered this, I tend to find that those who have some crochet knowledge can work the following round with minimal support, giving me more time to work one to one or in a smaller group with those who need a bit more help. The ladies who are working more independently are not left to struggle however as I am on hand for them too. If the lesson is going well we also look at colour changes. The group is encouraged to practice at home, either starting another square from scratch or adding more rounds to their existing square. Practice between lessons is essential. We revise the granny square in week 2 and then move on to look at a variety of ways of joining them together.  Each week you receive a comprehensive learning pack that covers everything we have learned during the lesson. This builds into a beginners / improvers manual, including exclusive patterns that you can fall back on in the future.


Knit and Learn – Tuesdays, Bitterne Park, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

wpid-20131202_135408.jpgThis is a mixed ability group of beginners, improvers and more experienced knitters. There is usually a 1 hour workshop, followed by a further hour working on individual projects with support when needed. Handouts are supplied for any new techniques and beginners have access to the the full 6 week beginners manual. We are currently working on Christmas Decs as a group, with people learning colour work, shaping, experimenting with fun yarns and making up techniques, Individual projects include lace work baby blankets, hats, mitts, cardigans and fairisle squares for a blanket. We have recently covered blocking and mattress stitch as the large blanket is put together.


wpid-20131018_133210.jpgCrochet Thursdays – Various Dates, Eling Tide Mill Cafe, 7- 9pm

This group runs along the same lines as the Knit and Learn group, with a combination of beginners and improvers working on a range of projects. Sometimes the group chooses to have a 2 hour workshop, others we do an hour focusing on a specific technique and occasionally they all work individually and I float around the group to help. Beginners are welcome and you will get quite alot of individual attention. We usually meet once a month and the group is small and friendly. Currently we are making Christmas decorations and gifts. In the last session we created an amazing crochet rose!

Why not come along and joins us if you can! If you prefer to have individual lessons these are available too!

If you’d like to book a class, pop over to the events page and click the relevant link!


Specialist Groups

Headway Group

wpid-20140908_114913.jpgThis group is specifically for people who are living with an acquired brain injury. We have been running for 2 years and are now at a point where everyone is working individually on chosen projects in between sewing panels for a wall hanging quilt. Currently we have people learning to use sewing machines to make a variety of bags, loom knitting toys, crocheting fairies and sewing felt Christmas decs. The bag on the right is a box toiletries bag made by one of the men in the group. He has no use of his right side but is amazing on the sewing machine….this was very much a project where I was learning as I was teaching…. that’s one of the reasons I love this group so much, there’s always an interesting challenge and alot of fun!

Creative Options

wpid-20140729_110705.jpgThese are 2 specific groups for people experiencing enduring mental health issues. We work on a combination of small group projects such as a knitted / crocheted afternoon tea, egg cosies, Christmas Decs, flowers. The aim of the sessions are to build concentration, explore crafting as a way of managing symptom and to learn / extend skills. This group has a 50 /50 male female balance. Some members crochet and others prefer to knit. Not everyone wants to work on the group projects so the learning plan is flexible. Again learning packs and patterns are available to the group members. Many choose to work on their projects at home as a way of elevating mood, distracting themselves from troublesome symptoms and giving themselves a sense of achievement.


Workplace Groups

wpid-20140707_182146.jpgThese run over an hour and are based on the premise of supporting individuals with their chosen projects. I also supply handouts and offer a mini 15 min workshop covering a specific technique. Currently I have beginners crocheters learning to make granny squares or work from their 1st pattern, beginners knitters learning to make hats and flowers and more experienced knitters learning new techniques like the lace cast on and knitting on circulars using the magic loop.



I am of course busy working on commissions and getting some canvases made for an exhibition in December, as well as knitting for my gorgeous grandson…. I recently adapted a hoodie pattern and turned him into a very hungry caterpillar: