#SeptTextileLove 2020

It’s back for another year! #SeptTextileLove is the Instagram challenge for those who love textiles and it starts a week from tomorrow.

The full list of prompts will be shared on the seam blog on 31 August, ready for people to respond to from 1 September. If you like to plan ahead, you can see the prompts a week early by subscribing to the seam newsletter. The full list of prompts is shared with seam newsletter subscribers as an exclusive preview so they can get a bit of a head start (and there’s a #SeptTextileLove planner for subscribers to download too).

Who’s it for?

Anyone who creates or loves textiles can be part of #SeptTextileLove. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started experimenting with textiles in lockdown, whether that’s as a hobby you’ve always been curious about, as an antidote to boredom or for your own wellbeing, or if you are a textile professional, it doesn’t even matter where in the world you are based; everyone is welcome to take part in the conversation.

How does it work?

For each of the 30 days of September there is a different textile-related prompt for you to interpret on your Instagram feed. You can respond to as many of the prompts as you wish, this could be only a few or it may be all of them. The only requirement is that you include the hashtag #SeptTextileLove so seam, and everyone else involved, can find, like, comment on and share your posts!

What next?

Follow the seam blog to ensure you receive the prompts on 31 August, ready to start in September.

If you’d like to start thinking about the prompts ahead of the challenge and prepare a few responses, subscribe to the seam newsletter and you’ll receive the full list of prompts one week before they’re publicly released. You’ll also receive the link to download the prompt planner too.

During the challenge, follow the hashtag #SeptTextileLove to find and be inspired by posts from the other participants.

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5 ways to get your craft fix during self-isolation

We took the decision to cancel Saturday’s session of the Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild to keep our attendees safe and healthy amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

Whether you’re self-isolating or just a bit dubious about being out and about in the world at the moment, there’s no need to miss out on your craft fix. Here I’ve gathered together five ways to keep boredom at bay and enjoy your craft.

1. Learn

If you don’t know how to knit or crochet yet, this is the perfect time to learn. The Knitting & Crochet Guild have excellent resources on their website and there are many many video tutorials over on YouTube.

If you already know the basics, this is a great opportunity to practice a new technique you’ve been meaning to learn. Again, YouTube is good for video tutorials and Purl Soho has a huge selection of free patterns available to put your new skill to use.

I’m sure that most regular crafters have a yarn stash that would see them through months, if not years, of making in an end-of-the-world/zombie-apocalypse/Armageddon situation. However, if you are short of supplies or are new to the craft and need to set yourself up, you can still get what you need without stepping outside. One of our local yarns stores, A Yarn Story, provide a lovely online shopping experience, or you could opt for a solely online retailer like Love Crafts.

2. finish

This one is for those of us who have a pile of WIPs… things you’ve been meaning to finish but the lure of casting on with that squishy new wool is too great. Here’s your chance to work through the ‘almost-finished’ pile and turn it into a ‘ready-to-wear’ pile.

3. listen

This is a great option whether you’re at home alone or with others. Listening to podcasts about craft helps to feel like you’re part of a conversation (wonderful if you’re tired of talking to yourself) and equally brilliant if you’re home with others who might inhibit your ability to sit and make (parents with young children, I’m thinking of you – my one-year-old loves to ‘help’ and the ball of wool usually ends up in a Mensa-level tangle).

A few of my favourites are listed below. The beauty of podcasts is that you can usually access the full back catalogue once you’ve settled on one you like.

  • Wool Work. This is the podcast from Louise Scollay, previously called KnitBritish. Join Louise on her journey of woolly discovery celebrating the unique characteristics of local wool, from sheep to skein, to finished object.
  • Yarn in the City. Allison and Rachel are the team behind the Great London Yarn Crawl, Yarnporium and their own weekly Stitch Night. No longer producing new episodes, although still a great listen with a large back catalogue.
  • Electric Sheep. One of the first knitting podcasts I came across. I listened to the back catalogue during the wee small hours while completing my MA. No longer producing new episodes.
  • Material Matters with Grant Gibson. In-depth interviews with a variety of designers, makers and artists about their relationship with a particular material or technique.

4. watch

There are a number of yarn and making documentaries and short films available to view.

  • Swatched. A docu-series that challenges every stereotype that comes to mind when you hear the words, ‘knit and crochet’. This proof-of-concept pilot features fibre arts designer, Angela Tong, based in New Jersey.
  • YARN. Meet the artists who are redefining the tradition of knit and crochet, bringing yarn out of the house and into the world.
  • Baa Baa Land. A contemplative epic and eight-hour slow-motion movie, entirely starring sheep. Plot summary: sheep standing in a field.
  • She Shears. The inspiring story of the passion, purpose, and determination of five women for whom shearing is more than just a job. Available to stream from amazon prime for £5.49.

TED Talks are great to watch and are usually about 20 minutes in length. You can search for individual speeches or find playlists on a topic of interest.

  • Handywoman: Making a Creative Life. Forced to abandon her academic career, Kate Davies turned her hand to something completely different, establishing a small business producing designs for handknitters.
  • Talks for the fibre arts lover. This is a playlist of six talks on knitting and crochet.
  • Maths, coral and crochet. This is an article rather than a talk, but the images are lovely and I just had to include it (one of the talks in the link above is about this project).

5. connect

If you’re still craving some real time responses to your craft conversations and chat this one’s for you; maybe you want to share something you’ve finished or have a question about a technique you’re trying to master. Luckily the internet makes it very easy to connect with makers around the world from the comfort of our own homes.

  • Ravelry. The social media network for knitters, crocheters and other crafters. You’ll be able to connect with individuals, groups, designers, people who listen to the same podcasts or read the same magazines… the list really is endless. If you’d like to join a knit- or crochet-a-long to make something in tandem with other makers, there’s even a thread for that!
  • Facebook. There are many specific groups on Facebook for craft chat. The Knitting & Crochet Guild group is a great one to start with.
  • Instagram. Re-connect with makers and designers or search out new ones with the hashtags #crochetaddict, #knittersofinstagram, #knittersoftheworld, #crocheteveryday, etc. Also of interest on Instagram, the Knitting & Crochet Guild is showcasing its top 100 objects in an online exhibition. View the objects and follow the countdown from @kcguild or use the hashtag #kcg100.

Of course there are many other ways to keep yourself entertained with your craft, these are but a few ideas to get you started and perhaps point you in a new direction. I also love a good knitting blog or newsletter and subscribe to Selvedge and embroidery magazine (both have great articles on many textile disciplines), so I’m never short of something to be going on with!

The reality for most of us as schools and colleges are closed, as we’re asked to or forced to work from home, as holidays and other trips are cancelled is that boredom and worry will be the more imminent problems to manage. Being in close quarters with those we live with for longer each day, possibly for weeks or even months at a time, will bring mental health challenges and having an outlet and a way to focus on something and connect with others will be very important.

It would be great to hear how you’re getting your craft fix during this time to beat any boredom.

Spotlight on… Clare Griffel

Clare Griffel is a long-standing member of the Bath branch and has recently been appointed as the advisor to the Chair for the Knitting & Crochet Guild. We recently caught up and had a chat about all things knitting…

How long have you been a member of the Knitting and Crochet Guild?
Since about 2014.

You’re a regular member of the Bath branch, what keeps you coming back each month?
A lot of things really; the company, meeting up with like-minded people, the variety of topics, the relaxed atmosphere and the appeal of a day out in Bath.  

You recently took up the role of advisor to the Chair for the Knitting & Crochet Guild, what prompted you to stand/get more involved?
I feel strongly about the craft and the image of knitting and had a sense of wanting to contribute to the organisation. That, and I’m naturally bossy.

When did you start knitting?
I started knitting when I was 7 years old.

How did you learn to knit/who taught you?
I learnt to knit at school. I made a woolly hat in cream yarn although it came out in stripes! I knit the grubby dark grey stripes, my friend, who was slightly cleaner, knit the light grey stripes and our teacher knit the cream stripes.

What do you like about knitting?
There is always something new to learn. The physical pleasure of the process. As a fidgety person it keeps me occupied, I knit and read at the same time.

Are you a product or a process knitter?
Both. 

You’ve taught a few knitting sessions as well, what attracts you to teaching knitting?
Again, being naturally bossy! I like to share the skill and craft with other people and find teaching very rewarding.

What would you say to someone considering attending the AGM and Convention for the first time? Any advice?
Do it, it’s extremely friendly. Even if you don’t know anyone the attendees all have so much in common you won’t feel left out. 

Any final words about knitting and the Guild generally?
The Knitting and Crochet Guild is a unique resource for our members and a gateway to the heritage of knitting and crochet and it’s fantastic to be a part of it all. 

Thank you to Clare for chatting with me If you’d like to find out more about the Knitting & Crochet Guild, visit their website or contact your local branch coordinator.

Image credit: The owls were Clare’s contribution to the National Trust’s ‘Woollen Woods’ event