Wednesday, 23 April 2014

When traditional crafts get sucked into London and become 'fashionable'

I was reading a post today by some textile related organisation and it got me thinking about an aspect to British society that I find quite frustrating. When traditional crafts get sucked into London and become 'fashionable'.

As a textile designer myself, which I shall now refer to myself as, to fit in with this article (sense sarcasm), I find it quite frustrating that our cottage industries, which have fantastically started to rise in numbers, or the concept of them have sadly been 'stolen' by the arty farty London-esque types, which I find quite sad.

A year or so ago I discovered various British societies and organisations on Facebook and through the Internet and was delighted to see some of their policies on promoting cottage industries and natural fibres in the UK but what I started to discover was their posts became quite boring and becoming poncy and arty farty.

What I mean by this is that to me, just a fairly bog standard person working in the world of yarn, oops! sorry textile designer, I cannot relate to these posts. I start to see posts about weird textile sculptures created by some artist for no point other than to look unusual, or strange 'fashion' posts about over-sized just plain rediculous knitwear seen on the cat walk.

Of course I have nothing against these fashion designers and artists (ok maybe I do a bit) but I start to wonder where the normality has gone? The general chit chat about the love of yarn, the family orientated, traditional, homeyness of posts, where are they? I happily see them on individual's pages, the true creative forces behind cottage industries so why can't these so called supporters of cottage industries act like that? Why does it seem that if they communicate (if they do at all) with their followers with normal posts they come across as unsuccessful or not in the thick of the hip and happening world of craft, which brings me back to my article about our London centric Britian.

Now I don't know if similar things happen say in America and whether this is because of our antiquated class system but it bothers me a lot. Not only is it unfair to some amazing crafty people out there but it is damaging as it creates a divide.

There is also another area that makes me feel itchy as if stood in the rain in a pure wool jumper, the offline societies. These are the ones that still live in the stone age with regards to things like social media but offline they are rampant with their monitoring and judging of craft industries, running competitions to win awards for something or another but judged by what seemingly seems to be old men who probably haven't even picked up a smart phone let alone switched on the internet to see the modern world of cottage industries. How can these people be in a position to judge? I feel there is an ever increasing divide between young people and these older people, perhaps demonstrated with their desperate attempts to bring the two closer together through dealings with students, but students who only fuel the London-esque hell I mentioned earlier. No offence to students. Even I won an award as an art student by such an organisation but of course this award has become completely pointless when I entered into the reality that is earning a living in the real world.

Another frustration in this country is the obsession with knitting over crochet. I don't understand why there is so little crochet in this country. I have absolutely nothing against knitting of course, that would be an insane thought for me to even consider but virtually all British yarn related societies and companies only seem to promote knitting and I just don't understand why. If they do promote crochet is always comes under category number 2 or just mixed into knitting. From my experience in my circles, crochet is certainly not any less popular.

A few months back I actually contacted such an organisation in the infamous London based area that were exactly what I typified in my comments above with regards to 'cat-walking up' of craft. They were asking for designers to come forward and I asked about crochet designers but they didn't even consider crochet. It wasn't even on their agenda as something to promote and I find that really strange.

Well, I don't plan to start a revolution anytime soon but I do pray that things will change in time. I hope that shows like the Great British Sewing Bee and famous crafty people like Kirstie Allsopp promoting craft on TV can promote my silent cause but I do feel that what were once family trades between mother and daughter, father and son, will inevitable and depressingly be sucked into London and turned fashionable. Out casting the people who originally made it what it was.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

How To Crochet an Afghan or Baby Blanket with a mesh filet design - Yarn Scrap Friday

I may be stretching the 'yarn scrap' theme but hopefully you will enjoy joining me as I show you how to make an afghan, baby blanket or throw. I also show you how to make it bigger or smaller.

This pattern shows you how to crochet a small blanket, suitable for a cot bed or as an afghan or simple throw.

You can watch my video tutorial here for this pattern too.


Finished size if using same materials is 50 inches x 30 inches.

For larger or smaller sizes work to odd units of 5 so 15, 25, 35 ... 85, 95 etc... This is so that the mesh pattern starts and finishes with closed blocks of double crochets.

You will need;

- You can use any yarn really but I chose Bergere de France Cherie yarn in Evasion
- 5.5mm crochet hook
- Yarn needle and scissors
- Tape measure (optional)

Row 1
Crochet 165 double crochet foundation stitches - (165)

Click here to watch my video tutorial on how to do the double crochet foundation stitch.

Row 2
Ch2 (count as dc here and throughout), TURN, 1dc in next 4 sts, *ch1, sk1, 1dc in next st, ch1, sk1, 1dc in next st, ch1, sk1, 1dc in next 5 sts* repeat from * to * until end - (165)

Row 3
Ch2, TURN, 1dc in next 4 sts, *ch1, sk1, 1dc in next st, ch1, sk1, 1dc in next st, ch1, sk1, 1dc in next 5 sts* repeat from * to * until end, ending last dc in top of previous ch2 - (165)

Rows 4 - 59
Repeat row 3

Row 60
Ch2, TURN, 1dc in next 4 sts, *1dc in previous ch1 sp, 1dc in next st, 1dc in previous ch1 sp, 1dc in next st, 1dc in previous ch1 sp, 1dc in next 5 sts* repeat from * to * until end, ending last dc in top of previous ch2 - (165)

Fasten off and tie in all tails.

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© HappyBerry This pattern can not be reproduced in any way without credit given to HappyBerry. This includes copying and pasting into another blog or website, and filming the pattern for use on YouTube. You can however print it off for personal use or for use in a crochet group. Thank you.