My favourite crochet class

During the 6 years or so I’ve been teaching knitting and crochet, I’ve tried various classes. Some, I run quite often because there is a demand for them, others, rarely (only when there are enough people interested), and the odd one or two I have changed or just ditched altogether. I’m pleased there aren’t many of those.

In the spirit of February, love and cuddly things, I would like to share my favourite class with you and why I adore it.

Sensational Crocheted Squares was the first ‘real’ crochet class I developed, back in 2011. I know it’s a bit of a mouthful to say, but I’ve resisted changing the name because

1. they are awesome

2. most of the motifs are squares

3. It’s crochet, and if I say ‘crocheted square’, lots of people know what I mean (it’s a classic)

A granny square has a simple, repetitive rhythm, making them perfect to relax with and infinitely soothing – a real zoning out project.

I added other squares and hexagons to the class so that people could learn other techniques in the same course. All of the motifs are very portable and quick, so they are ideal for busy people or people who like to complete one little thing each night.

On a more personal level, I love the Sensational Crocheted Squares course because at it’s heart, I’m passing on the patterns and skills I learnt as a child. It feels great.

One of the things which drew me to crochet was my Great Nanna, with her basket of colourful squares, quickly joining them together as I picked out the next one. It was a warm, cosy holiday in her little cottage, and I learnt things like how to light a coal fire using newspaper (safety first, kids, I must have been about 5!), and what the names of the wildflowers were which grew down the side of the canal.

This reminds me of family history and the interconnectedness of women through the generations. In a sense, the stitches and textiles made form the fabric of our lives, surrounding us, cocooning us and keeping us safe like a magical spell.

I would love to hear your thoughts about how crafts and textiles fit into your life – find me on Facebook at happymakesart or on Twitter at CarryYarnCaro.

Caroline. x

If you are interested in the Sensational Crocheted Squares course, I will have more details soon. Follow me on Twitter!

#KnitBod 2016

This piece was commissioned by Dr Liz Granger from The Young Scientist Centre at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, and funded by The Physiological Society.

Our brief was to respond creatively to the problem of having too few activities for younger children at The Young Scientist Centre. After a few sketches, we decided on how we could make an interactive body full of things to play with, to help engage young people and be a learning aid. It was an ambitious project, which we decided to share with some victims wonderful volunteers.

The most tedious part was probably knitting the small intestine, which was proper ‘plodding’ knitting and seemed to go on for weeks. We tried to share it around and I took my intestine out to several cafes and soft play areas during school holidays. The most exciting part was undoubtedly seeing the bodies completed.

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They even decided to drop into our ‘Woolly Thinking’ exhibition at Oxheys Mill Studios!

I was delighted to be involved in this project. All the volunteers, my family, and I learnt things about how our bodies work. If you want to knit your own body, sign up for the Happy Makes newsletter and you can download the patterns for your school or group – Free! Signup here.

*Caroline Finnigan is an artist with studios at Oxheys Mill Studios, Preston. She teaches knitting, crochet and other crafts, enjoys photographing things from strange angles and lives with dotty 2 cats.

Brownies visit Oxheys for weaving

Last week a group ( of Brownies from Preston visited my space at Oxheys Mills Studios.

After a look around the current exhibition from the BIPP (British Institute of Prefesseional Photographers), and a short introduction to the Studios, the girls and leaders had a tour of the building to see what our resident artists get up to during their working day.

We settled into my studio at two large tables loaded with a host of different textures and colours of yarn, and after a short demonstration everyone began to weave.

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Even the leaders got stuck in to the activity!

As some of the pieces made in chunkier yarn were finished, there was a short demonstration about how to finish the weaving and remove it from the card, then it was time to pack up and take the work home to finish.

It was a pleasure to have such interested, well-behaved girls at the studio making fantastic textile art – well done everyone!