My first sewing and knitting memories go back to the age of five. I had a mother who was an amazing needlewoman and a grandmother who taught me to knit at the age of six. My baby sister was born and in those days mothers and babies were kept in hospital a week or more, and I made a yellow knitted teddy for my new sister. I was thrilled with them both and have never stopped wanting to sew and create since then!
I taught textiles in a secondary school before having my family of three boys, who I’m proud to say can all use the sewing machine, but have not inherited my passion for fibre. When they went to school I retrained as an infant teacher but the textile passion was always there and never faded.
My weaving journey started one cold and rainy Saturday in December. My eldest son had just gone to Australia and I was feeling a little glum. I saw some weaving in a window and stopped to admire it, I saw some workshops advertised and couldn’t resist and the rest is history as they say.
Over the past 4 to 5 years I have been learning new textile skills, adding to those I already have. I have learnt to weave graduating to bigger and bigger looms and I am still learning my craft every day. I soon decided that I needed to be able to learn to spin too, so that I could create the colours and the textures that I needed to weave. Spinning like weaving is a skill that has no boundaries. Each time you spin you get better and more adventurous and the same goes for weaving too. For young and old alike it feels like painting with fibre and yarn. Always using some new combinations to make something fun and very personal to you.
Now I have been given the opportunity for a personal life change, I feel a need to pass on my skills. I believe that in a school day we are packed tight with tasks and targets to complete.
There is less time for things such as traditional crafts and therapeutic activities because of our busy schedule we know as the curriculum. I want to give those children the same opportunities that I had, to ‘add-to’ the excellent work that is being done in our schools, maybe just opening up another dimension and broadening visions slightly? Nothing would give me more pleasure than helping students studying for an examination access the opportunity to make and design their own fabric to use at school or college.
A wealth of young weavers!