Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild – Crochet with Karina

This month we were lucky enough to have Karina back, by popular demand, to lead a beginners and improvers session with the Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild. Since her last session we’ve had a number of new joiners to the group, and many of the beginners from the first session were now ready to move on to new techniques and more difficult makes.

Karina and her glamorous assistant PJ took small groups of people through the different steps of starting out, how to make your first chain and what you do with this, through to increasing, decreasing and making a sphere. Everyone had a great time with many participants going from being a complete beginner to finishing their first granny square!

 

If you weren’t able to attend the session, you can access the ‘how to crochet’ guide from the Knitting & Crochet Guild here, and there are always people on hand at our monthly sessions to show you ‘how to’ and to answer any queries you have.

The next session of the Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild will be on Saturday 10 June from 10am to midday. We’ll be at the Boston Tea Party on Alfred Street to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day and the second birthday of the Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild – we look forward to seeing you there!

March Meet the Maker

THE CHALLENGE

During March I participated in the Instagram challenge, #marchmeetthemaker. Joanne Hawker started the challenge in 2016 with the aim of helping small businesses to share a bit more about themselves as makers, to tell the story behind their brand and give some insight into the hard work that goes into being an independent designer-maker.

The prompts were refreshed for 2017, ensuring it was engaging and relevant even if you took part in the first challenge last year. The free planner was really useful and helped you to think ahead about what you might post, especially if you needed to prepare an image.

WAS IT WORTHWHILE?

I can be a bit hit and miss with my Instagram posts, so I took part for encouragement to post daily and also to connect with other makers out there.  The prompts really helped to think about what I do in a different way, and how I could share some of the more everyday elements of my practice with those on Instagram.

I’m pleased to say that the challenge helped me to gain more followers, reach a new audience with the hashtag #marchmeetthemaker, and raise my average number of ‘likes’ per post. I also have a better understanding of the types of post that engage with my audience. However, the best thing about it has been to see into the lives, motivations and studios of fellow makers; we really are an inspiring bunch of creatives.

Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild – Amigurumi

For the September session of the Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild Karina talked us through the history of knitting and crochet in Japan, and how this evolved into the craft known as amigurumi.

So, what is it?  Well, the name is made up of a combination of words: ami = knitted/crocheted, nuigurumi = stuffed doll, and together they make amigurumi. This gives you a few clues about how they’re made.  The other key elements of amigurumi creatures are that they must be SMALL and CUTE.

The term first appeared in 1951 and by 2006 amigurumi items were reported to be the most popular items sold on Etsy. This popularity isn’t reflected in the number of books on the subject, however if you put the term into Google you’ll get over 14 million results!

In Japan, ‘kawaii’ is the word used to denote how lovable, cute, or adorable something is and is ‘the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture’ and this too gained popularity in the early 1950s. This love of things small and cute was promoted as a distraction from and to cover up the atrocities of the atomic bomb as Japan regrouped and reformed as a nation and a political power.

The way the Japanese use the skills of knitting and crocheting to create amigurumi are very different to the traditional, functional, uses in the West.  However, some of the first knitters in Japan were Samurai warriors who would make their own socks with individual toes to aid movement – which is very functional indeed.

After Karina’s introduction to all things amigurumi, it was time for us to have a go and there were many dragons, birds, bears and bunnies to choose from.  It was one of our quietest sessions ever as everyone was concentrating so hard on making tiny pieces or attempting a new technique. While the Japanese may have distracted themselves from the atomic bomb with the ‘kawaii-ness’ of the crafted creatures, I think perhaps the level of concentration required also helped to focus the mind!