Kings Arms Knitting Club – Guest Blog
Thursday, September 25th, 2008 at 5:09 pm
Posted by Jenny Hudson
I caught up with Rachael Elwell of the Kings Arms Knitting Club to ask her some questions about the group, buying handmade and knitting in general. Here’s what she had to say.
The Knitting ‘Renaissance’
At the time when I was younger, in the 80s and 90s, knitting wasn’t as popular as in previous decades and unless you had a relative who knitted in your company, you weren’t really that aware of the activity. These days you can get access to just about anything via the internet.
I think the resurgence of knitting has a lot to do with internet forums, blogging and the availability of free patterns, online tutorials and being able to buy just about any yarn and yarn related accessory on the market via online shops. You can very easily get inspired by projects that people are making right across the globe and even contact the makers directly right from your home.
I also think that today we are in a time when nostalgia and vintage style is very popular and to make connections with an activity that your grandmother most probably did throughout her life is really appealing. People like to reinvent and bring things back into fashion and I think knitting and crochet are just a progression of this.
The very idea that you can make something beautiful and functional from a ball of string and two sticks is just amazing
Knitting is a wonderful way to relax whilst also being productive and creative. The very idea that you can make something beautiful and functional from a ball of string and two sticks is just amazing.
I enjoy the whole process of knitting right from the start: going to the yarn shop and choosing from the hundreds of different colours, textures and fibres, through to finishing a project, which is more often than not a gift for someone else. Presenting a knitted gift to a friend or family member is so lovely and meaningful.
I also enjoy knitting as a fine art medium. I have recently introduced knitting and crochet into my visual arts practice and it’s opened so many doors for me from community-based workshops to working with fellow artists on collaborative projects.
The best way to learn any creative skill is to learn from others first hand
Starting the knitting club was a personal way for me to advance my skills in knitting and crochet. When the knitting club first started my knitting skills were basic and I believe that the best way to learn any creative skill is to learn from others first hand.
I felt confident from the beginning that I could teach people wanting to learn basics of knitting but I also wanted to reach out to people with more advanced knitting skills to come and share their expertise and knowledge with one and other, making it a real community effort to bring people with similar interests and passions for knitting and crochet together.
We invite interested passers by into the community to get involved
The idea behind the Kings Arms Knitting Club is to primarily bring people of all creative abilities, backgrounds and sexes into a public meeting space to practice their skills in knitting and crochet.
We also engage in group activity to allow people to learn from one and other, be inspired and make projects in which they may not normally have the opportunities or access to such creative processes.
Bringing the club to a public social space and one not normally associated with crafting activity clubs, also allows visitors to the pub to see creative works in progress and to engage with an activity they may have heard of but not seen in the making. The result is often one of amazement and intrigue. We invite interested passers by into the community to get involved if they so wish or just to pop by, say hello and ask questions about the activities taking place.
We also take this opportunity to raise money for charities with great success.
You know that what you are buying has the personality of the maker in it
The uniqueness of handmade goods is very appealing and you know that what you are buying has the personality of the maker in it, unlike mass-produced goods. There are thousands of crafters making clothing, jewellery, ornamental objects etc, but each maker will have their own special way of making.
When you are buying a handmade object you re also getting a piece of the maker’s soul – this makes you eager to know more about the designer and the skills and passions that have gone into making it and therefore you become very connected to an item.
I believe that handmade goods are not planned with the idea of becoming obsolete, the creations are more often than not usually meant to last a lifetime.
The Kings Arms Knitting Club meets every Monday from 7pm until 9pm in the Snug at the Kings Arms, Salford. Everyone is welcome!