What we're up to
Five ways to achieve joy through de-cluttering! January 01, 2017 11:50 1 Comment
I have long thought that I am intrinsically a hoarder and that the mess that follows me around is an unavoidable part of my creative process.
But during 2016 I began to get a taste for de-cluttering. We only have a small space for our two creative businesses (Twentieth Century Posters also operates from our HQ) and we simply ran out of space. So we made some very conscious changes and I have to say that I am genuinely a happier and calmer person as a result.
Here are my top tips for a calmer, easier, clearer space.
1 - Touch It Once
I have a friend at book club to thank for this. As the most easily distracted human alive, I have a tendency to put things down everywhere.Touch It Once is a mantra that says if you touch it, you have to sort it out. Whether that's putting it back where it lives, fixing it if it's broken, or chucking it if it's useless. I now repeat this under my breath all day long.
2 - One in One Out
If we bring a new thing in, we have to donate or recycle another thing. When I started this one, I was horrified at how much stuff we were bringing in every month. No wonder we are at capacity. Maybe it's time to get rid of the Amazon and Ebay apps...
3 - Fit for purpose
Over the years I have realised that anything in a pile of more than four will eventually get scruffled up and fall into chaos. London living and working spaces are notorious for not having enough storage, so the storage we do have needs to be fit for purpose. I spent a long time thinking about what we use and how accessible it needs to be before investing in the right boxes, drawers, shelves and racks. Deeply satisfying!
4 - Swishing
My friend Daisy over at Wardrobe Workshop has shown me that swishing is the way to go. She's passionate about reducing waste and organises amazing clothes swishes. I love love love clothes and shopping but I lack space, and swishing is the absolute best way to prune your wardrobe still get great new stuff. I'm so hooked on it that we are having a craft swish this January. It's simple - you put an item into the swish, and you can take what you like out in return.
5 - Time
I have found that it's when I'm in a hurry that the clutter starts to re-appear, and that the more stressed I am the less likely I am to remember my new strategies. Ironically, when I do follow them, I am less stressed and time pressured. As a result, my new year resolution is to value my time more and be more thoughtful about committing my time. And so tidiness shall reign!
So what are your top tips for keeping on top of clutter and mess? I've made progress but I haven't cracked it yet so I'd love to know what your tricks and tips are.
You don't need a whole sewing room... December 21, 2016 18:23
Sales of sewing machines have exploded in the last five years, with purchases of some models increasing by 500%. But here in the capital, most of us just don’t have space for a sewing room – or even a sewing corner. If that’s you, you should be sewing by hand instead!
20- and 30-something Londoners are embracing the trend for stitching but despite lots of enthusiasm, often find their sewing machines end up stuck in the bottom of the wardrobe because of the lack of space to spread out and sew.
Hand sewing could be the answer. It’s so small it can fit in your bag, there’s no need to pack it all away at night and you can make endless useful, stylish accessories. Here's a little headphone case we made in almost the same time it would take on a sewing machine
Hand -sewing includes all the same principals of machine sewing, like working with the nice side of the fabric on the inside until the last minute, or putting a zip in position. It’s slower for sure but not as slow as you might think, and it’s a great way to have a go at sewing and see if you enjoy it in general.
London Craft Club founder Sonia Bownes is running a Hand Sewing session where you can make handy headphone case in one short evening. Sonia says “hand sewing is really satisfying. You can really lose yourself in it, and there are so many good modern projects out there for you to make with nothing more than scissors, needle and thread and a few scraps of fabric”
You Can Sewing without a Sewing Machine runs on Saturday 14th January 2017 2-5pm at the Create Place in Bethnal Green.
Six ways to get everyone to make their own Christmas gifts. December 17, 2016 00:38 1 Comment
Sod Black Friday - shop handmade instead! November 25, 2016 14:30
I love open studios - partly because I'm nosy of course! But there is nothing nicer than than buying direct from a maker. It makes me value a thing so much more knowing who made it and how. And it makes me feel like I have a little part to play in that maker's creative career from then on. Head down to Craft Central this weekend and get involved with the artists and makers there.
I am decluttering at the moment, which means buying lots of stuff isn't really what I want to be doing. So I'm embracing the Just a Card Campaign. The idea is, if you love a maker's work but aren't in the market for a big purchase, you can still support the maker by buying just a card. Brilliant! You can frame them up as mini wall-art to store them till you have a card emergency.
If you're in Crouch End next weekend, you could swing by the Etsy London Local market and try this lovely paper mistletoe workshop with Utensils0 at the same time.
So step away from the crazy online deals, and take an altogether calmer approach to supporting the creative economy with your spending power.
What's your favourite handmade buy ever? At the moment I'm in love with my handmade mugs by Hackney Potter!
Where to find the best hand-made stuff... November 20, 2016 09:10
The Christmas Craft market and pop-up season is here and all our favourite makers will be bringing out their best and most beautiful wares for you. Let's shop handmade and local this year.
Saturday 26th November - Stoke Newington
Stokey Christmas market
Winter Design Market
Visit for design stalls, mulled wine and mince pies, foodie gifts, music.
Sunday 27th November - Bethnal Green
Cabaret vs Cancer
Visit for Crafts, Vintage Clothes, Oysters, Massages, Live Entertainment and a fully stocked bar. Meat Raffle with Jerry Bakewell & Steakley Bakewell and LIVE entertainment from Tom Carradine and Champagne Charlie!
Sunday 27th November - Bethnal Green
Time Out says this is "London's coolest craft Fair"! Featuring over 70 carefully curated crafty vendors, pop-up cafe and bar, DJs and DIY workshops! Confirmed programme so far includes Rob Ryan, Tatty Devine, Craftivist Collective, Drink Shop & Do Cafe. and DJ sets from Rubyy Jones/Mammory Tapes/ Hula Hoop Troupe/Marawa's Majorettes
Sat 3rd & Sun 4th December - Crouch End
Etsy Made Local Crouch End
The Etsy London Local team are hosting another curated Christmas Market with over 60 London based Etsy sellers over 2 days, bringing you a variety of handmade products! There will be workshops on each day so you can get your craft on and lots of festive spirit too to get you in the mood.
Thursday 8th December - Docklands
Crafty Fox Market Museum of London
We'll be bringing a hand-picked selection of 70+ designer makers to showcase their work at the Museum of London Docklands. There will also be workshops so you can even make your own gifts and DJs keeping the vibes just right. Entry is free and children are welcome. Join us from 4-9pm. Full trader listings can be viewed at www.craftyfoxmarket.co.uk
Sat 10th & Sun 11 December - Mile End
Urban Makers East
There are over 100 designer makers trading over the weekend selling jewellery, art, ceramics, textiles, homewares and more with tasty sweet and savoury food at Urban Makers Feast, coffee and Christmas cocktails, workshops and a craft room for the kids.
Entry is free.
Sunday 11 December - Peckham
Crafty fox Peckham
There will be 55+ different designer/makers and artists taking part each day alongside an inspiring mix of workshops. The bar will be well stocked with mulled-wine and DJs will be spinning, keeping the vibe just right!
Thursday 15th December - Hoxton
Crafty Fox Geffrye Museum
The second of two special edition 'Night Markets' at the Geffrye Museum, Hoxton.
Featuring 65+ designer-makers and artists. This atmospheric venue is the perfect place to get into the festive spirit! Browse the stalls with a mulled wine in hand, meet the makers and buy unique gifts for friends and family. Along with the buzz of the traders, there’ll be live DJs, festive drinks and maker-led workshops throughout the evening. Entry is free and children are welcome.
22nd November - 4th December - Hackney
Alloy at the Hackney Shop
99 Morning Lane
Local London jewellers, including our own Rhiannon Palmer of concrete jewellery fame, are getting together to create a popup shop in Hackney. Buy direct from the makers and hear the stories behind the pieces
22nd November - 19 December - Edinburgh
Makers and Friends
If you happen to be in Edinburgh any time soon, don't forget to visit the wonderful Makers and Friends at 17 Dundas St. Full of great works and fun workshops, it's always a treat!
SHOP LOCAL SHOP HANDMADE!!!!
What's the real reason Christmas Jumpers are making me agitated? November 13, 2016 00:36 1 Comment
Museums know how much we love craft! November 05, 2016 23:08
Everyone knows London has world class museums. Of course it does. So for us crafty types, how cool is it to be able to make and create, all the while surrounded by the inspirational collections of our museums?
If that sounds good to you, you're in the right place! We're regularly partnering up with museusm - check out what's coming up...
What do you think of mixing up museums and craft? Have you ever been to crafty museum event, and did you have fun?
To eep an eye on our newsletter and social media to hear more dates, and join us for plenty of creativity and inspiration
Crafternoons everywhere! October 25, 2016 21:18
You might have spotted our regular crafternoons at Saucer and Spritz on Tottenham Court Road? They're our super-friendly meetups where you can bring whatever craft you're working on or join in with our little free craft project of the day. Recently they've been going from strength to strength, with tons of you turning up, hanging out and making all sorts of friendships and craftiness! It's amazing to see so many people getting together to create and share their ideas and tips
Each month we see beginners sitting along side skilled knitters, paper artists and sewists, sharing a common interest and swapping tips and stories. We love welcoming newbies and try to introduce you to people who like similar crafts, plus we sometimes have craft celebrities giving talks or just joining in the craft.
It's been so popular we've had to expand, so from last month we've also got a Coffee and Craft West at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising and a Crafternoon South at Brewdog Clapham Junction on Battersea Rise.
We'd love to see you - if you'd like to join us you can just turn up on the day, but it's helpful if you can drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we have a rough idea of how many people are coming and how much materials we'll need to bring. Have a look at our What's On page
Upcoming dates are:
Brewdog Clapham Junction (Batttersea Rise)
20th November, 18th December (making Christmas bows from scrap paper)
Saucer and Spritz (inside Oasis, 22 Tottenham Court Road)
29th October (bring your own craft or make mini pom-pom earrings)
3rd December (make gift bows out of scrap wrapping paper)
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
Next date TBC
Burgundy craft goals October 23, 2016 08:46
Yes I love Autumn, we know that now! One reason is the Autumn colours. Each year this colour comes back. Pantone called it Marsala a couple of year ago, and thankfully it's back again this year. Here's my burgundy craft goals board on Pinterest- what are yours?
1- Mohair! (A new form of self-punishment) Knitting with mohair is my new obsession, except I can't get the cast on neat enough so I frog it each time. It will be years before I wear anything I've knitted in mohair.
2 - Ceramics. Recently I bought tons of mugs from the Hackney Potter and now I really really want to take up ceramics so I can make mugs. I will still buy Hackney Potter mugs though, becuase they make my tea taste magic
3 - New Handbag. My current little suede mini bag is covered in coffee, biro and general London grime. I want to make a new one - or just buy Rosanna Clare ones.
4 - Christmas. Poinsettas are hitting the top of my list for handmade Christmas themese this year. I love them - retro and nostalgic, but also big bold and graphic.
5 - Sewing Renaissance - I have discovered one of my neighbours is an obsessive sewist! It has got me sewing again after a phase of loving print, and I want to make perfect fitting dresses.
I'd love to know what your craft goals are at the moment! Am I the only one who gets overexcited and sets crazy ambitious craft goals? And do you ever get that thing where you're determined to master something tricky and it becomes a bit obsessive? I love hearing about what you're up to
Halloween challenge! October 15, 2016 21:38 1 Comment
You might be surprised to hear that not everyone is prepare to craft until the small hours to create the most freaky Trick or Treat doorway. There's bound to be a good number of people who are caught unprepared... so let's help them out!
You're a pretty creative bunch, so my challenge to you is to tell me what's the best Halloween doorway decoration you can think of that's made with nothing but bin bags (and maybe a bit tat from around the house) If you've got a great suggestion worthy of Buffy and Willow then we'll make it here at HQ
So what do you think? Got a great idea? See something totally brilliant on Pinterest? Let me know and I'll give it a go!
Who's up for some weekend inspiration? October 07, 2016 17:29 4 Comments
This last month or two has been rather heavy on admin and not as much random creative productivity as I'd have liked! So this weekend I've decided to consciously look for inspiration. Here's the plan...
1 I'm going to a museum
The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising to be precise. While I'm there I'm going to be looking for colour combinations that I wouldn't have thought of, and checking out the feast of vintage fonts.
2 I'm hanging with creative friends
I took up crochet last week and my crochet buddies are coming to hang out. I'm really looking forward to chatting ideas! What's a good second project? I'm thinking a laptop case. What do you think I should crochet?
3 I'm quitting multitasking
Has anyone been listening to Oliver Burkeman is Busy? I love a podcast and this BBC mini series has got me thinking about the effect of being busy on my creative output. After listening to these bite size reflections on modern busy-ness, I've decided to quit pretending to multitask and instead focus on flow. In practise, this means I'll be locking myself away with my sketch book and a sewing machine for 6 hours at a time... and no I will not hem your trousers while I'm there!
4 I'm looking back
Do you keep a sketch book, or a notebook? What about Pinterest, or a scrapbook? I do a bit of all of those, and when I'm a bit lacking in inspiration I find looking back at ideas I toyed with but never developed can kindle a creative storm. Moodboards are having a moment and I'm filling up a book with ideas ripped from magazines for the next time I need inspiration.
5 I'm going for a run
Oh how much do I not feel like pulling on those trainers, but I really believe that exercise and making have a similar thing going on. The brain stretches itself around in a different way when you're actively doing and it seems to open my brain to lateral thinking. So this weekend I'll be running up that hill.
What do you do when your brain isn't exactly full of ideas? I'd love to know your tricks!
I just learned a new skill I really should have had for years.. October 01, 2016 23:14 2 Comments
I'm definitely what we at London Craft Club fondly call a "craft tart". I flit from one new craft to another, toying with air dry clay for a while, then shifting my affections to sock knitting. But I've been doing this for well over two decades. I've ended up with a pretty comprehensive set of craft skills, and now that I do this fuIl-time I think I can justifiably call myself a craft expert.
So it's always been a bit of an embarrassment that I can't crochet. I don't know why I never learned. Maybe it's because ....
....I knit. I love knitting and it looks like a big jump to change from two handed knotting to one handed.
....I'm not into granny squares. Just not. No real reason.
....I might be rubbish at it. It looks complicated, and nothing like knitting or macrame at all. If I don't manage to master it I'd never live it down #craftexpertnot
....YouTube is not as helpful as it promises. Clips entitled "Super easy beginners crochet tutorial" either assume a bit of knowledge, or rattle through the stitches way too fast to make out what they are doing.
....No one seems able to decide what a Double Crochet actually is! What is with the US or UK thing? What is with that?
But on Wednesday this week, I decided that it's always the right time to learn a new skill. So I've done it! I've learned to crochet, and here's the evidence. Learning is one of life's huge joys, and I'm delighted with myself for finally doing it!
5 things that make Autumn the most inspiring season of the year September 25, 2016 06:00 2 Comments
I love Autumn, it's the best season of the year. Here's why it's my favourite
1 London gets gross in the heat
Wonderful London does get a bit scratchy and sweaty by the end of August. By mid September, I'm totally ready for the refreshing cooler weather, the crisp light, and an end to being roasted alive on public transport. Going in to Central London is suddenly a treat again
2 The colours
What more can I say. Bright beautiful oranges, yellows, rich tans. Conkers, berries, blue skies. Every year I fall for it all over again.
3 New season's collections arrive
Each year lots of tweed and textured fabrics come back in Autumn and shops roll out the chiffon, cord and leather in deep rich colours. I've whipped out my sewing machine and overlocker and am bursting with ideas for stuff to make!
Oh yeah, big fat chunky knits! Show me what you're knitting - and if you don't know how to knit, now is the time to learn!
5 The best festivals are in Autumn
Nothing beats dressing up for Halloween or smokey Bonfire Night parties. I'm already decorating the house in my head and this year I want to carve the ULTIMATE PUMPKIN!
5.5 New School Term (because for some of us it just means worse traffic..)
The new term feels like a fresh start even if you haven't been in school for decades! New stationery and new stuff to learn, without the hideous uniform. And for some it's a chance to get on top of things after Summer with the kids!
So let's get out there and take inspiration from this year's lovely, mild and beautiful Autumn! What's inspiring you this year?
Win a pair of tickets to "In the Groove" Late at the Jewish Museum September 24, 2016 00:00
Enter the draw to win a pair of ticket to "In the Groove" Late at the Jewish Museum on Thursday 29 September 2016. Running from 6-9pm, it's a great chance to unwind with a drink and explore the museum and the exhibition Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl after hours.
During the event you can:
- Capture that '50s Jukebox vibe with an energetic 45 minute Swing dance class from the fantastic Swing Patrol
Experience an experimental DJ performance from Jake Williams ofLondon’s School of Sound Recording
Get up close to objects from Handel & Hendrix in London, including a record player and costumes, with Michelle Graabek, Learning and Participation Officer.
- Be inspired by Rock Star style and pose in our Jukebox photobooth
- Learn more about the stories behind Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl with** a curator's tour** from Head of Exhibitions, Jo Rosenthal
- Share your favourite musical memories in our response area
To enter the draw to win, email email@example.com with In the Groove in the subject line! Make sure to enter before midnight on 28th September 2016. SEe you tehre for dancing, craft, drinks and tunes!
Box Office: 020 7284 7384 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mash-ups, Mess-ups and Making New Friends September 17, 2016 22:35 22 Comments
This weekend we’ve been at Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. It’s a crafter's paradise, with the big craft brands pulling out all the stops to entertain us and a host of independent makers and designers showing their wares and sharing their skills.
Hannah at the London Craft Club Stand, E70
If you were there on Friday you might have seen me in the Super Theatre for the Mollie Makes Mashup, competing against Lisa Comfort. Lisa is the sewing guru and all round craft hero of Sew Over it, and the battle was hosted by the lovely Cath Dean, editor of our favourite craft mag Mollie Makes.
Cath Dean of Mollile Makes, me, and Lisa of Sew Over It.
In true Ready Steady Cook style, Lisa and I were both given a straw tote and a bag of unseen craft materials, and challenged to upcycle it in just 45 minutes. I got some yellow, black and white paint, black chunky yarn, wooden beads, masking tape and a glue gun, along with a few bits and bobs to stitch and paint with. Lisa got some trims and a tin of spray paint. We were rigged up to our mikes and battle commenced!
Lisa doing her best not to spray paint the rug or Cath's shoes!
As we crafted away, the two of us got chatting with Cath about the latest trends in craft, the disastrous potential of jumpsuits for camel toe, the size of our secret craft stashes and the pleasure we both get from helping people discover their latent crafty talents.
My final bag - probably still damp!
Lisa’s bag came out really well – mine was sort-of along the lines I’d hoped for but the paint wouldn’t dry and it was a bit of mess as a result! When it came to the final vote, Lisa definitely had it. It would have been nice to win but I had such a brilliant time making friends with Lisa, who’ve I’ve long admired for her sewing, her vlogs and her all-round ladyboss chops that the time spent chatting more than made up for it.
by Sonia Bownes
If I can't get these in the shops then I'll make them myself September 02, 2016 15:30
I'm not quite sure why, but shop-bought lampshades don't seem to follow fabric trends in the same way that cushions or curtains do. Which is odd, because they're relatively affordable and easy to change. You'd think they'd be the best place for a fickle trend-follower like me (I know what I am!) to show off my newest interiors crush.
So September sees London Craft Club taking the matter in hand. We're bringing back one of our most popular workshops - but we've super sized it! We're making BIG ASS lampshades, with some of the hottest fabric of 2016/17.
We've had a tropical leaf print fabric created specially for this workshop, and sourced a gorgeously elegant marble print, a delightfully colourful painterly dab print and a decisive monochrome crosses print too. The Marimekko prints were snapped up for private workshops straight away. I am unashamed to admit that this is my personal fabric wishlist for the foreseeable future and it was no hardship getting a lot of it in!
A too-small lampshade can look pokey and mean. A big one, in a great print, can make a room look like it's lived in by someone who really knows their own mind. But it's not just about the type of light fitting or shade you choose. Where you put the thing makes a difference too. Have a look at this Pinterest board of rooms we've found that make the most of the lighting by thinking about where to put it. https://uk.pinterest.com/londoncraftclub/lampshades-that-make-the-room/
I'm now off to buy a extra long lampshade cord to go with my new massive lampshade. What do you think? If you could use any fabric or print for your lampshade, what would it be? Do you think about where you put the lights or are you happy to plonk them somewhere in reach of the plug socket?
We've all been invited to Bake Off - An Extra Slice!!! August 28, 2016 01:44 1 Comment
So exciting!! The guys from Great British Bake Off - An Extra Slice, have invited London Craft Club to their TV studios to show off our creative baking!!!! (Sorry in advance for all the exclamation marks...)
We're getting a group together to take over The Bakers Area is the front section of the studio audience! It's the bit with the tables and chairs where people sit with their bakes while Jo Brand tastes or talks about what they’ve brought in.
The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice is looking for really creative baking enthusiasts. They invited us all to come down on Sunday 25th September, so if you want to join us for a behind the scene day out and an advance preview of that week's Bake Off, you just need to bake something creative or ambitious to bring with you. It doesn't matter if it works or not - they actually love a good baking fail! The studios are Central London and it's a full day, 1pm to 8pm but it will be a blast with all of us together!!!
Put your name down by emailing me and let's show em what we've got!
Email me on Sonia@londoncraftclub.co.uk telling me your name, what you plan to bake and a couple of lines (attention grabbing!) about why you're a creative baker!
SEE YOU THERE!!!!!!!!
Cool things with cork! July 31, 2016 06:24
We've been seeing so much gorgeous stuff made with cork recently, from handbags to shoes to chairs. It's a 70's staple but it's got wonderful qualities that make it easy to see why it's back in force. Warm and soft to the touch, with the wobbles and blobs of an organic material, cork makes a lovely foil to shiny metals and plastics.
Browse our Pinterest board Cool Things With Craft
We've been looking for the perfect craft cork for a while and we think we've found it. A lot of the sticky-back craft cork sheets or craft coasters you can buy have a tiny, crumbly grain that doesn't look as good as the big-grain, really corky-looking expensive materials. Our superior quality cork doesn't crumble or flake when you cut it, and it's treated to make it tough and durable. It's a brand new product and as far as we know it's only made by our suppiers. It's a tiny bit pricey but you get what you pay for! We haven't stop making stuff with it since we found it and you can get it here http://www.dannells.com/cork--100cm--clear-pvc-1995-p.asp
To have a play with our superior quality cork, check out our Cork Jewellery workshop at the London Artisan Market coming up soon.
Find inspiration from London's wildflowers July 23, 2016 22:02 1 Comment
London can feel a bit dry and built up in this sweltering weather. Hannah, our resident paper artist, took a walk at Alexandra Palace to check out the wildflowers and remember that nature is still here to inspire us! Scroll down for flowers and the craftworks they inspired. Tag us with your wildflower images #LCCMakes to show us what's inspiring you this week.
Utensils0 wonderful paper illustration - check out her One Year Anniversary celebration here
Got any favourite wildflower inspired makers? Lets us know!
Meet Poppy Chancellor at Coffee and Craft ! July 22, 2016 08:35 1 Comment
Craft and Coffee is our regular free crafternoon meetup in Central London, usually on a Saturday. Anyone is welcome to come along and chat over a bit of gentle craft. Bring something you're working on or have a go at the little project we supply.
This month we'll be welcoming papercut artist Poppy Chancellor for a chat and to soak up her top tips for paper cutting ready for her new book 'Cut It Out' available September 1st. We'll have some paper and scissors for you to experiment with, as always you can bring along any crafty projects you've been working on! It's going to be fantastic!
Saucer and Spritz, our lovely venue is lovely and cool in this roasty weather and they do a mean cocktail too!
How we got Hoooked July 17, 2016 10:32 1 Comment
Thursday was one of those lovely afternoons that reminds me why running Craft Club is the coolest job ever. Hannah and I spend the afternoon experimenting with making animations and taking delivery of a stream of parcels full of crafty goodies.
Starting London Craft Club has been a crazy journey, and one of the best things about it has been discovering that the craft community's warmth and friendliness extends to the businesses involved in it too. The team at Hoooked has supported us from almost the beginning, with helpful advice, patterns, ideas and yarn to experiment with.
What I love so much about the Hoooked range (apart from the enormungous choice of colour and texture) is the way it knits or knots up. This week at the 50+ Show we met tons of dedicated, skilled crafters and they were fascinated with Hoooked Zpagetti. Our Arm Knitting sessions were mobbed with people, proving that even the most experienced crafters can still get excited about new crafty finds!
So scroll down for some of my favourite examples of how using jersey yarn for simple modern patterns give stylish results. It's super fast to work with, and it's one of the few crafty supplies that is genuinely recyled, being made from the jersey offcuts of the fashion industry.
We do macrame with it - it's lovely to work with as it's soft...
And here's my favouite speedy knit project ever created by the brilliant Riannon Selcuk
This is the reason I want to learn to crochet - look at that gorgeous texture. Click here for the free pattern
(London Craft Club HQ)
5 top tips if you're organising a baby shower July 09, 2016 13:11
You're doing a lovely thing for the Mum-to-be and she's going to be really chuffed. But don't stress about it too much. Ultimately it's friendship that matters, and that can't be measured in party accessories.
If you'd like to throw a crafty baby shower, click here to visit our craft parties page.
How simplicity kept our crafternoon creative July 02, 2016 23:28
Today I found myself saying the same thing over and over....
Simple is best! Simple is best!
I was at Saucer and Spritz, one of my absolute favourite venues, where we were printing onto cotton napkins. The point that I was trying to get across was that sometimes you don't need to overcomplicate the creative process.
The first part of the printing workshop is all about deciding what to print, and the second half is actually getting inky and printing. The danger with the first part is feeling the pressure to come up with an amazing drawing or detailed design.
But the great thing about printing is that you can use repeating shapes to brilliant effect. And often the simpler the better, like this grey on grey print. Just one super simple shape, repeated and overlapped in two slightly different greys. Brilliant!
This flamingo and palm combination works really well too. Simple strong shapes and a great colour combination - there was a lot of oooh-ing over this when it was finished!
It was a creative and energetic afternoon of printing, cocktails and cake. By the end of it we had between us created at least fourteen designs based on the principle of repeating a simple shape. Everyone learned some printing techniques - and the building blocks to create a successful design from the most basic of shapes.
If you want some more inspiration for printing designs, check out our Pinterest board on simple printing shapes, or just take a few minutes to marvel at the versatility of the humble triangle, one of my favourite design motifs ever.
by Sonia Bownes, founder of London Craft Club
Craft Club Yeah! The next date is 30th July July 01, 2016 01:41
Craft and Coffee is our regular free crafternoon meetup in Central London, usually on a Saturday. Anyone is welcome to come along and chat over a bit of gentle craft. Bring something you're working on or have a go at the little project we supply.
This monthwe're meeting on Saturday 30th July and we'll be making fabric flower brooches. Either bring your own lightweight fabric or put £1 in the kitty for fabric.
The wonderfully glam Saucer & Spritz are hosting us again, we love them! There's cocktails, cakes and a brilliant light lunch menu too, so I tend to get there at 1pm and have the set lunch which they put on specially for us. If you'd like to join me for lunch just look for the London Craft Club flags on the table and come and sit down! Crafting kicks off at 2pm
See you there on Saturday July 30th - Saucer and Spritz, upstairs in Oasis, 22 Tottenham Court Road
PS this meetup can get really busy - we ask you to RSVP to email@example.com so we can get an idea of how much craft supplies to bring. Please do change your RSVP if you change your plans! Thanks
Saturday Social June 25, 2016 19:29
And here's a link to a fingerknitting tute http://www.icreativeideas.com/how-to-diy-stylish-finger-knitted-bracelet/
Craft workshops help you in two totally different ways June 18, 2016 21:08 1 Comment
We all know exercise is good for you - but craft is holding it's own in terms of wellbeing benefits too!
Future proofing your brain
As you get older, your brain gets smaller. I find that a bit alarming, as I really rather like my brain and the various jobs it does for me. But it turns out, as with so many things in life, that size isn’t everything when it comes to your mental agility.
You can’t stop your brain from shrinking, but you can improve the neural links in your brain, and that’s what actually matters. Happily for me, learning new things is one of the best way to boost your brain activity. Doctors recommend taking up something that challenges you at least every decade…
Craft in particular improves your cognitive function. Take quilting. There’s now evidence from a study by the University of Glasgow that quilters' brains are challenged not only by dexterity but geometry too, and it helps keep them sharp as a quilters pin for years to come.
Find the flow and wash away worries
Serena Williams, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Beth Tweddle will all recognise the concept of flow – the state of mind conjured up when someone is truly immersed in something and doing it intuitively and often brilliantly. It's often thought of as a purely sporting phenomenon, but it’s a recognised psychological state that can occur when you concentrate on anything physical
Flow was first defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who pointed out that we aren’t actually very good at multitasking. Think about what it’s like to have two people talking to you at once – you can't take either conversation in. It’s the same when you’re doing a physical task, because you can only really concentrate on one thing. If you are immersed in doing something, you just don’t have the headspace to worry, stress, or dwell on negative things. So that’s why when you’re crafting, the time flies, and you lose yourself totally in the moment. And dropping your worries, even briefly, is good for you.
by Sonia Bownes, Founder of London Craft Club
#MayDoandMend is here! April 30, 2016 00:00
We all know fashion moves fast. Take flared jeans. Two months ago I was looking at them in horror - now I'm considering embracing my 90s look all over again.
But much as I love fashion trends, I know full well that low-cost high-turnover fashion has costs for people all over the world that I'm not so keen to run up. So this May, London Craft Club has teamed up with the fashion-friendly sustainability charity Hubbub for the #MayDoandMend challenge.
It's super simple! Just tag a pic of something you've mended, upcycled or swapped with #maydoandmend, and share your top tip for bringing clothes back to life.
Get started with my 7 favourite mending hacks here ...
Check out Hubbub's guide to mending and more here...
Or recycle those jeans into a little bag here...
It doesn't matter whether it's mending a little hole in a jumper or organising a huge clothes swap, take the #MayDoandMend challenge and show us how you're fixing fashion one step at a time!
Don't fear Adobe Illustrator! April 26, 2016 12:30
I'm all excited about our upcoming Laser Cutting session with the awesome Hub Workshop, but that also means I'm also going to have to overcome my distrust of Adobe Illustrator and all things "vector".
Whether you're a newbie to digital image stuff or you're confident in Adobe Photoshop but baffled by Adobe Illustrator, we've hunted out some tips to get you on track.
First the basics....
Laser cutting is the process of using a laser to cut shapes out of sheet of materials like plywood, plastic or metal. Sadly you can't just pick up a laser gun and use it to freehand zap out the shape you want. Instead you'll need to tell a computer what you want to cut and the computer then guides the laser. So far so good. But how do you turn your lovely line drawing into something the computer understands?
Well, you need a vector file.
Sounds super technical. But it just means a file that's made up of lines, like a pen drawing. (Photoshop is made up of blocks of colour, like a painting.) A vector file is a bit like a dot-to-dot drawing:
You create anchors (the dots) and then join them up with lines. You can make the lines between the dots straight or curvy. The lines are called "strokes", as in pen strokes.
And that's it.
To make vector files you need Adobe Illustrator, which you can get from Adobe.com on 30 days free trial. Once you've done that, I REALLY recommend half an hour spent on YouTube with the fabulous TastyTuts. If you're a 100% beginner, check out their full beginners guide here. It's 19 episodes (eek), but get as far as Episode four and you'll get the basics on vectors. If you want to cut to the chase and just learn about vectors, jump to episode four here. These are really clear tutorials that don't assume any previous knowledge, so you may as well go through the whole course and finish up with some serious new Adobe Illustrator skills!
The best way to learn is to get on and try it out - so what are you waiting for! If you are coming to our Laser Cutting for Crafters session and you don't get time to do this first, don't worry. We'll be supplying the files for this session, and will be topping up your Illustrator skills as a group after the session. You'll be just like Buzz Lightyear in no time!
Laser cutting in action (but sadly not with a handheld laser gun...)
How to handle our new favourite interiors trend without taking a sledgehammer to your home! April 15, 2016 06:00
Over the last few months I've been watching a new trend take hold in interiors. I love it, but it's a tricky one to do without coming over all sledgehammer on your home!
Rustic industrial is here in a big way. It's all exposed brick, steel frameworks and open ducting, mixed up with farmhouse tables and artisan pottery. We've made a Pinterest board of course, and I've been trying to sell the idea of smashing all the plaster off the walls in the stairs.
Unfortunately Mr Craft Club doesn't seem up for that! During my search for less destructive ways to get the brick thing into our home I met Christian Marsden from StolenForm.
Christian's collection of ceramic homewares is exactly the right look, and he was kind enough to take some time out to chat with us about his work. Have a look at the StolenForm shop , and for the rest of April you can get £5 in his shop with our exclusive London Craft Club discount promo code LCCAP16. I want all of it!
LCC - Hi Christian, thanks for chatting to us. How did you get started with Stolen Form? Did you have a formal ceramics training?
LCC - What's the best thing about running your own craft business?
16th & 17th April: Best Of Britannia (BOB) at The Classic Car Boot, Lewis Cubitt Square, Kings Cross N1C 4UZ 10am - 6pm
15th May: Urban Village Fete Greenwich Peninsula, London. 12.00am-7pm
24th - 26th June: Grow London, Hampstead Heath
14th - 17th July: Art In Action, Waterperry House, South Oxfordshire,
Craft and Coffee… and maybe a Cocktail too April 03, 2016 00:00
Craft and Coffee is our regular crafternoon meetup in cafes around central London, usually on a Saturday. Anyone is welcome to come along and chat over a bit of gentle craft. Bring something you're working on or have a go at the little project we supply. This month we’re making a paper clouds and we might even indulge in a cocktail or two to celebrate our newest venue….
We are super excited to be at Saucer and Spritz because it turns out the manager is also a bit of a craft fan! We’ll be kicking off the craft at 2pm but you can make a bit of an afternoon of it because they’ve also organised an exclusive London Craft Club lunch menu, available from 12pm. It’s a great deal at £9.50, which includes a 10% discount and the service charge. They’re even doing happy hour prices on cocktails and wine for us so it should be quite jolly! You just need to rock up any time from 12pm and explain you’re here for the crafting – myself, I’ll be arriving for lunch at 1.15. If you’re coming on your own I’ll have a London Craft Club flag so come and join me!
Here’s the craft project designed by Utensils0 that I'll be bringing – you can have a go at making a batch of these cute clouds, or just bring whatever you’re working on. I’ll bring all the paper and supplies you’ll need – as usual there’s no charge for crafting!
See you there - just drop us an email if you're thinking of coming to help us predict numbers, we get pretty busy sometimes!
Images courtesy of Nic Crilly-Hargrave
Our expert's top tips on buying original vintage posters April 01, 2016 17:46
Finding the right artwork to complete a room can be a daunting business. Magazines are full of photoshoots where a carefully selected piece effortlessly conveys the owner’s style and personality. But how can you achieve the same impact without the help of an interior stylist and the bank balance of Bill Gates? Happily, David Bownes of Twentieth Century Posters (aka Mr. London Craft Club) has the answer: original, vintage posters, which not only look amazing but also have the potential to dramatically increase in value.
So over to David for the basics…
“What types of posters are out there?
Illustrated posters have been around since the late nineteenth Century, selling everything from consumer products, travel, propaganda and entertainment. Although an individual design might be very rare, the overall survival rate of original posters is astonishingly high, meaning that no matter how niche your interests are the likelihood is that there’s a perfect match out there. So whether you’re looking for a Modernist inspired view of Kew Gardens or a gig poster for your favourite 80s band the chances are that that you’ll find the right poster – eventually!
How much should I spend?
Prices for original posters vary enormously and can reach into the tens of thousands (or more) for iconic designs by the likes of Toulouse Lautrec (C19th French) or Rodchenko (interwar Russian) – but don’t despair. Many truly outstanding twentieth century posters can be had for less than £1500, with the majority costing between £100 and £500.
Why should I buy an original vintage poster?
Quality, originality, size, value for money and investment! Most posters made before about 1960 are lithographs – a printing process which produces a very high quality image with a rich depth of colour, considered Fine Art standard today. Put simply, original posters are often much better printed than modern mass-produced ‘wall-art’ available from the High Street. And, of course, an original poster is the ‘real thing’, linking us directly with with earlier times.
Where should I shop for posters?
Authentic posters can still be found cheaply in online auctions (like EBay) or at fairs, but caution is needed due to the alarming number of reproductions that have flooded the market in recent years. A safer bet is to buy from an auction house, or an established poster dealer. Always compare prices online first and talk to dealers before making a purchase. Most established dealers are poster enthusiasts and only too happy to offer advice. Few, if any, will be looking to make a quick buck by ripping you off. And avoid sellers who don’t offer a guarantee of authenticity, unless you are primarily interested in the image rather than originality/investment.
How can I tell original from a fake?
Although straight forward for an expert to spot, the unwary can be easily caught out. Authentic posters were usually printed in standard sizes that are no longer readily available (LINK). Similarly, a genuine lithographic poster will be printed on thin paper and the matt image can be ‘read’ from the reverse by holding it up to the light. In general, avoid glossy finishes, modern paper sizes, and anything which looks like a digital print.
Is a bit of damage acceptable?
By their very nature, posters are likely to have suffered some damage over the years, such as folding, small tears, creasing and edge ‘nicks’. Some collectors like to preserve their posters in this condition, and evidence of wear and tear can look great when framed. Others prefer to have posters professionally conserved on either linen or Japan tissue backing, which makes them easier to handle and can improve physical appearance. Ultimately it’s a matter of personal taste, but don’t be tempted to over-restore a poster by having missing areas filled-in as this can adversely affect value.
How should I display an original poster?
The best option is a conservation grade mount and UV filtered glass, both of which are widely available from High Street framers and will extend the poster’s life, especially if displayed out of direct sunlight. Whether you’re going for a traditional card or a ‘floating’ mount always ask the framer to use PH neutral glues and tapes. Never trim or fold a poster to size!
What are your Top Tips for acquiring amazing designs with great investment potential?
Interwar women designers. There is growing interest in the outstanding, and pioneering, contribution of British women commercial artists from the 20s and 30s. Recent publications and planned museum exhibitions will only enhance this reputation. Names to look out for include: Freda Lingstrom, Doris and Anna Zinkeisen, Dora Batty, Sybil Andrews, Rosemary Ellis and Vera Willoughby.
‘Mid-century’ British designers. Posters by the very best of these, such as Abram Games and Tom Eckersley, already command quite high prices, but there are many superb designs by the likes of Daphne Padden, Dorrit Dekk, Royston Cooper and Hans Unger that can still be had for a few hundred pounds (or less). Buy them while you can!
Hans Unger, Ideal Homes (1958) £150
Lastly, airline posters. Designs from the 50s and 60s are still surprisingly affordable, stylishly conveying the glamour and modernism of the ‘Jet Age’. My bet is that these will go the way of classic railway posters from the thirties and be seen as emblematic of their times – with a price tag to match.
David Bownes is a poster dealer and former curator specializing in C20th British design. Check his website www.twentiethcenturyposters.com but he loves to talk posters so do always free to call him direct on 07718 064 205
Just in case you didn’t spot the reference, David is married to Sonia Bownes, Founder of London Craft Club! He still knows everything there is to know about poster though…
Epic underdog knitwear.... March 23, 2016 17:34
The Eddie the Eagle film is out on Monday! You can watch the trailer here. If you remember watching Britain's favourite snowy underdog in the 1988 Winter Olympics, you can relive the moment with this (only slightly mental) knitting pattern from Yarn Stories. We caught up with Juliet Bernard, who knitted the actual jumper in the film.
LCC - Juliet, we all love an underdog! Do you remember the original Eddie the Eagle?
Juliet - I do! I remember cheering him on, it was very exciting. Meeting him was a real thrill.
LCC - You met him? That is cool! Have your knits ever been on the silver screen before?
Juliet - Not so far but I did knit some hats for statues in Stockholm and Copenhagen this year as part of innocent’s Big Knit. I did a Danish flag for the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbour.
LCC - What did wool did you use for the Eddie jumper? Hopefully not some shellsuit-friendly acrylic!
The jumper was designed by Charlotte Johnson who works for a great British brand called Yarn Stories (www.yarnstories.com). They still spin their own yarn in Yorkshire and it was a real pleasure to knit with. I’m not sure what the original yarn was.
LCC - That's a relief. So did your mum knit or sew for you and if so, was it good stuff or embarrassing?
Juliet - Not my mum, but my German grandmother who mostly made things for my dolls. She did once sew a traditional Dirndlkleid for me – a lovely flowery fabric with a little apron. I remember being very proud to wear it.
LCC - That sounds really cute! What celebrity would you most like make something for?
Juliet - I did actually knit one of the Eddie hats for Hugh Jackman but didn’t get a chance to give it to him. I think I would like to knit something for Boy George as long as we get to have a chat while I am doing it! He is just so fascinating.
LCC - Excellent choice. Thanks Juliet for taking the time to chat to us!
Get the free pattern here and threaten your kids with this look. Eddie the Eagle is out in cinemas from Easter Monday March 28 #EddieTheEagle
Gorgeous giveaway! March 23, 2016 16:25
Don't forget to pop over to Utensils0 for this fab giveaway! Click here to get your hands on a giclee print AND this gorgeous hand cut Cockatiel.
Quilting for Speed Freaks March 19, 2016 08:54
Chris’s craft philosophy showed in the workshop… a gentle mood prevailed with Chris reassuringly calm as we snipped glued and stitched the evening away. I was surprised to be one of the slowest in the group as I methodically stitched my tiny, paper backed shapes into patchwork, oblivious to time passing.
Win our new favourite toy, the Gyro-Cut! March 08, 2016 08:05
This month we’re running a competition to win the excellent GYRO-CUT® paper cutting tool. To enter, tag us in Instgram or Twitter with a picture of something you’ve made and #LCCMakes .
We’ve been playing about with the Gyrocut lots here at LCC and Hannah, who cuts paper for a living, roadtested it for us. Here’s what she says:
“It’s quite different to a regular scalpel because the blade rotates, twisting as you cut, making it faster and easier to cut rounded shapes than with a standard scalpel. The big advantage is that when cutting curves, you don’t need to keep rotating the paper around to ensure you’re always cutting towards you. It’s also designed to not cut your skin!
I started by applying the Sticky Mat Adhesive to the cutting mat with a sponge which made a tacky layer and held the paper in place. Cleverly it’s PVA based so can just be washed off.
The GYRO-CUT® holds much like a pen. To start off I found it a little awkward, but once I stopped trying to make it behave like my usual scalpel it was great fun. The blade swivels as you move so it feel more like writing than cutting. I found I needed to press harder with a thicker paper, as I hadn’t cut all the way through at points. Wobbly lines, abstract shapes and curves were the most satisfying to do because it just glides along, making it really fast to do.
Freehand circles were also noticeably easier than with a standard scalpel, as was tracing round a curved shape. Tracing around an image was also really quick - I used it to cut out the tulip from this month’s printable in a minute!
All in all it’s easy and very satisfying to use and makes cutting curvey lines fast and fun – we all definitely want to spend more time using it! Interestingly there’s also a fabric version called a FABRI-CUT®, which we’re keen to try out for applique quilting.”
If you can't wait to get one, you can buy Gyrocut here
Don’t forget to tag us in Instgram or Twitter with a picture of something you’ve made and #LCCMakes to be in with a change to win a GYRO-CUT® of your own to try out!
Follow us at @londoncraftclub
Rosanna Gethin of Rosanna Clare Handmade Accessories March 06, 2016 21:54I've long had a love affair with leather handbags. Years of making things means I really do appreciate well-made things that use gorgeous materials. The first time I splashed out on a genuine leather bag is a moment I remember clearly, as a guilty but glorious pleasure. It's a bit embarrassing just how happy it made me...
But I've always been a bit nervous about sewing with leather, because it feels like expensive stuff to go wrong with, and I'm wary of killing off my old faithful sewing machine. So it's been great meeting Rosanna Gethin of Rosanna Clare Handmade Accessories. Rosanna specialises in creating leather items, and I'm over the moon that she's joining our team of expert teachers.
Rosanna in her North Kent studio
From 1 May 2016 London Craft Club is collaborating with Rosanna to bring you a fantastic leather workshop for beginners, where you can learn the key skills to make simple but stylish leather accessories.
Mixing up her Masters in Textile Design and a love of upcycling and repurposing led to her range of wood and leather jewellery and accessories. She says...
"My designs are mainly influenced by geometric shapes and patterns but many pieces are dictated by the nature of the shape, size or form of the materials available. Having developed skills in sewing and general resourcefulness over the years, I thoroughly enjoy being able make something beautiful out of an item that might otherwise be thrown away."
I love her collection - it's just my thing with it's sharp lines, colour blocking and unfussy structure. Rosanna also takes commissions for bespoke work - if you've never commissioned something before it's definitely something to consider. It's not as ruinously expensive as you might think, it's a brilliant way to support UK makers and it's great knowing you're the owner of a one-off, handmade piece.
Our first workshop is on 1st May at the Proud Archivist. As ever with London Craft Club sessions it'll be informal, really welcoming, you'll learn skills and make gorgeous stuff. Come and try your hand at leather, you'll be surprised at what you can create!
Our 7 favourite fashion craft hacks February 29, 2016 15:00
I can't help but appreciated the effort the lady in the second one has put in ....
1 - how to fix a hole in a jumper - ten times easier than it looks and well worth the ten minutes it takes
2- how to fix the boob gap - one woman's mission to test out the options. Thanks lady, we owe you!
3 - how to fix knackered jeans with sashiko - so very on-trend for your Mom jeans. But why are we calling them Mom jeans here in the UK I ask you?
4 - how to stop your bra strap messing about - thank goodness
5 - how to make your bra fit in a racer tee - a bit like a sports bra but temporary. One day the sun will shine and this will be useful
6 - how to stencil a boring teeshirt - you can get freezer paper on Amazon and frankly it will change your life
7 - how to add a new feature to a coat or jacket - fabric-covered buttons rule
Win tickets to the Country Living Spring Fair in Islington February 07, 2016 22:33
This year's Country Living Spring Fair is even more crafty than ever. It's all about simple pleasures - things to make, talents to nurture and gifts to give. There are expert home craft demonstrations and hands on sessions in the Craft & Create Room and every day there are different workshops where you can draw, make and sew items to take home with you. I'm looking forward to the The Country Living Theatre talks and demonstrations and I expect I'll find a minute or two for some shopping too. Scroll right back through our Twitter feed for last year's favourite buys if you get a minute.
There's also loads of chances to meet the people behind the businesses, so if you're considering striking out on your own this is a great place to meet kitchen table bakers, artisan chocolatiers and organic wine makers. And you can try a few samples while you're there of course!
The bit I'm most excited about is the Newcomers Market, located on the Gallery Level. It's going to be hosting first time exhibitors. For one day only on Wednesday 16 March there is a Pop-up Market in the Gallery Hall, featuring a carefully selected collection of crafters, makers, designers and artists who are making their first foray into selling to the public. For them it's a chance to see if their idea has commercial possibilities, and they'll be keen to hear your reactions and share their stories. It's a build-a-business day all round, with talks from expert entrepreneurs packed full of useful advice for would-be start-ups. Whether you want to buy direct from the crafters and support young creative businesses, or you're thinking you could turn your craft into a business, this should be a fascinating day out. Expect to see me there getting the pick of the best stuff first and finding my 2016 craft crushes!
For a chance to win a pair of tickets - just post a picture of something you've made on Twitter or Instagram and tag it #LCCMakes before 12 midnight on 25th February 2016. To be sure of getting a ticket book in advance.
The Business Design Centre, Islington, London N1 from 16-20 March 2016. Tickets £14.00 in advance (instead of £17.50 on the door)* There are also VIP, Late Night Thursday and Sunday tickets at different prices. See www.countrylivingfair.com/spring for details or call 0844 848 0150 OR book online
By Sonia Bownes
Win tickets to London Transport Museum's Friday Late January 27, 2016 15:40
Just tag a picture of something you made with #LCCMakes on Instagram or Twitter before 1st February to win a pair of tickets to London Transport Museums' fabulous Friday Late. We'll be there making this little pierced night lights, or you can take part in shadow life drawing classes with London Drawing, enjoy talks exploring the importance of light in city life and get involved in an artist–led light printing workshop. Whatever you decide to do, this Friday Late is guaranteed to get you thinking. As ever, they've got bars (with neon cocktails on hand), the famous Friday Late pub quiz is back and our in-house DJ Museum of Vinyl will be spinning the records. A visit to the gorgeous temporary exhibition Nightshift is also included in your ticket price. Go on, light up your February with a night out at the museum.
7 ways to deal with the craft project that won't go away January 25, 2016 21:51
Are you familiar with the craft project that won't go away? Unfinished, maybe because it was harder than you thought, or more boring than you'd hoped, or just got dropped in favour of a newer, juicier project. You bought all that stuff, and now it causes you a flash of guilt when you catch sight of it...well you're not alone. We asked round our crafty mates and gathered together some suggestions for how to deal with it.
1 Join a social crafting group
There are tons of social groups out there in London where you just rock up at the appointed time and place, usually a cafe in town, and get on with whatever you're working on. Meetup.com is great place to find one, because the whole point is it doesn't matter if you don't know anyone. Drag that evil project along with you and get moral support, sympathy and skills from your new mates.
2 Commit on social media
Instagram is good for this! Post a pitiful picture of the half finished mess and ask for help and encouragement. Your craft buds will most likely come good and you can even start a hashtag like this #soniasgoingtofinishthisstitchingordie.
3 One in one out
Simple. Don't let yourself buy anything new until it's DONE. (Good for Hobbycraft addicts)
4 Use your imagination
A friendly fitness guru told me that if you visualise yourself doing something in a disassociated way you're more likely to be motivated to do it. That basically means imagine you are watching a film of yourself nailing that trickster project once and for all, and that will motivate you to actually do it in real life. True.
5 Rein it in a bit
If the project is to create a king-sized hand-stitched hexagon quilt, maybe look at making a cushion cover instead? It's not defeat, it's realism, we're all busy.
6 Make it a gift
Earmark it as a birthday gift so you've got a deadline. Just be aware that for ever after you will be asked "can you make me a ....."
7 F*!@* It
Life's too short for guilt. Put it in the bin and be done with it.
Meet our new expert Chris Webb January 23, 2016 22:06
3 exhibitions worth braving the cold for January 13, 2016 00:00
Did you resolve to go to more exhibitions this year? Here's three we've all decided to definitely make the time for
Why does your furniture look the way it does? Oh, because of these guys! Stuff you'll recognise and some bonkers bits to boot.
A lovely eye candy exhibition that might also introduce you to a museum you might not normally think to go to, but will be delighted you've discovered.
The NPG isn't just for the annual painting prize - go for the photos too. Don't forget to pop in to see some of the permanent collection and test your sleb spotting skills too.
Craft Club in January December 30, 2015 00:00
Are you planning to get creative in 2016? Join us at Prufrock Coffee for an afternoon of crafty chat and coffee. If you're new to craft, bring a little bit of fabric (an old top will do fine) and learn how to make a flower fabric brooch. It's a super easy, and there's lots of help. If you've already started working on something crafty, bring it along and show us. We love seeing what you're up to. This is a really friendly group and beginners are very definitely welcome. When you arrive look out for Sonia with a Meetup sign on the table. See you there to kick off 2016!in crafty style! PS-Prufrock does a truly excellent coffee - don't forget to show your appreciation to them for hosting us by buying a couple
Saturday 16th January 2-4pm Prufrock Coffee, 23-25 Leather Ln, London EC1N 7TE
Tips for budding crafters by Hannah of Utensils0 December 08, 2015 14:15
Hannah Miles is the design and paper artist behind Utensils0. I met up with her in a cafe in Muswell Hill to chat craft and life. Here's a few snippets of our conversation:
Hannah, how did you make the move to being a professional maker?
I was always the crafty child, making lots of things from early on like candles and crochet hats for dolls. I fell into Graphic Design which tended to be very computer focused and I forgot about creating with my hands but during my final year I realised I was happier using handcrafts in my work and would spend hours coming up with new ways to use skills in food decoration, textiles and papercraft in my work. Using paper just seemed to fit me and the possibilities of using it in the home, giving gifts, making artwork and in Graphic Design drove me to try more and more skills in papercrafting.
What would your three best tips for a budding crafter be?
Others don’t judge your crafts as much as you do, so don’t beat yourself up about getting it perfect
|It’s easy to look at finished pieces online and want your work to look as perfect and pristine as them, but in reality it probably took hours of learning and trial and error to get there! Don’t listen to your inner critic too much, others will focus on the skill, care and time you have put into each thing you hand make and that is what it is all about.|
Set yourself challenges
|In every craft there is so much you can learn, loads of fun techniques and new tools to use. I challenged myself this year to hand make every card I was going to send and with each one I used a new technique or a style. It pushed me to keep trying things out, and the best thing is that whatever you do your love ones will be so pleased to receive something handmade from you, and they'll be your most encouraging audience.|
It takes 5,000 hours to get really good at something but it's worth it!
|I have been working with paper seriously for 2 years, and in that time I have seen a huge jump in style and skill. The details I am able to get out of my work in that time have really increased. Every craft takes time to become second nature but it’s about taking that first step, not jumping in at the deep end and building your way up. Don’t get discouraged! It's a good idea to start off with something simple like the Gingerbread House printable which can be used in so many ways with just scissors and glue.|
Hannah will be at the Illustrators’ Christmas Fair by the House of Illustration Saturday 12th December and you can buy and commissions through her Etsy Shop www.utensils0.etsy.com
By Sonia Bownes, founder of London Craft Club
5 reasons why craft workshops are the best way to broaden your creative horizons November 26, 2015 15:02
There's tons of craft workshops available in London - what makes them such a great way to get your craft on?
Your Own Personal Troubleshooter
It really helps to have an expert on hand to troubleshoot! YouTube and Pinterest are amazing resources for tutorials and DIYs, but there’s nothing like one to one teaching from a real expert to help you get over a glitch. “It wasn’t until the teacher described it a forward PUNCH that I got the technique” said Cathy at a recent arm knitting session. Who knew yarn craft could be so violent…
Crafters Are A Lovely Bunch
There is a place for quiet, solitary crafting – but crafting in a gang is the best! Last week at Craft Club I watch a lovely friendship form over crochet, and so many of my own friends I met through crafting. There’s something about crafting that seems to attract friendly, quirky, individuals, and there’s nothing nicer than sharing your latest triumphant make or dubious craft fail. Crafty buddies are one of the best sources of inspiration too.
The Drawer of Un-finished Craft Projects
Are you familiar with the dreaded Drawer of Un-finished Craft Projects? Filled with knitting still on the needles, the cut out bits of a paper craft project that you didn’t have the right bit for, jewellery with no fastenings on … most good workshops are based around a project that you can finish in the first session. And a finished project is the route to zen happiness
The Other Stuff Behind the Un-finished Craft Projects
And on the topic of the Drawer of Un-finished Craft Projects, what about the gadgets that it turns out weren’t that useful, clay you never actually got round to making tea light holders with, the fat quarters squirreled about the house, the enormous tub of ModPodge you haven’t opened yet… it probably cost you more than a workshop and you have just got a drawer full of neglected products. Most good workshops supply absolutely everything. So if you really can’t resist the urge to splurge in Hobbycraft, you might at least end up with stuff you use...
Who hasn’t dreamed about ditching the rat race to start a new creative life? Most of the craft experts who teach workshops are doing exactly that, so if you’re really thinking about it you can pick their brains about their experiences. Or live vicariously through them, get your fix of life-affirming creativity and soak up some new skills and inspiration.
Sonia Bownes is the Founder of London Craft Club. She's an obsessive crafter and specialist in education and volunteering partnerships for businesses and charities.
Craft Club is back for November November 05, 2015 20:43
Hello everyone - Knit Club is morphing into Craft Club! We'll be back at Prufrock Coffee on Leather Lane, Farringdone from 2-3.30pm. This month the theme is Beads and we'll have bucket loads for you to rummage through. As ever, knitting, crochet, stitching and millinery (you know who you are!) are still welcome, beads or no. See you there!
Meet Rhiannon and her new concrete jewellery collection this weekend November 05, 2015 19:53
These earrings are actually made of concrete - part of Rhiannon Palmer's beautiful new Cosmos Collection. We're huge fans of Rhiannon, who led our most unusual workshop to date, Casting Concrete Jewellery.If you came to the workshop, why not pop down to Renegade Craft Fair at the Truman Brewery this weekend to visit Rhiannon's stall and show her your handiwork. And if you didn't manage to get a ticket, come along and meet her in person, with her unusual and elegant work. Casting concrete is a tricky process but great fun! Here's what Dana and Helen made on our workshop last month.
We know lots of you were disappointed not to get a ticket for this, so keep an eye out for new dates in future newletters.
The London Artisan x London Craft Club take Sundays! October 24, 2015 22:00
You told us you wanted workshops at the weekends - so we've teamed up with the London Artisan to bring you a programme of Sunday sessions at the Old Truman Brewery. Spend the morning shopping in the heart of London's creative district, stop for a cobweb-busting lunch and then sit down for a bit of quality time with a new craft. As ever, the sessions are led by experts, and everything is supplied.
We're so pleased that to have been invited to collaborate with the London Artisan, a curated marketplace developed in collaboration with The Old Truman Brewery.
The London Artisan offer's a diverse, quality, shopping experience that celebrates independent producers and makers. But more than that, it’s about people and place; meeting the makers, conversation with friends and embedding the social back into shopping. What more you could want from a Sunday.
The first session is Arm Knitting with I Make Knots - yarn supplied by the ever fabulous Hoooked! Find out more here.