The Jazz Emporium

Let's get our Vintage on!

Guest Post by Anneleen: Crafty Business

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Over the last couple of years I have succumbed to the ‘crafting revolution’ that is sweeping the UK, leaving a trail of ‘Make Do and Mend’ mugs in its wake.

The increasing number of people interested in reviving old crafts (once deemed only for the ‘old’), possibly has something to do with the recession (Hobbycraft, for example, has seen a steep rise in sales since the Credit Crunch hit), with people seeking to save money through making things themselves. It may also be attributed to the growing public awareness of recycling as a lifestyle adaptation. It is very in vogue – not to mention eco-friendly – to revive old clothes, scraps of fabric and pieces of furniture with a bit of imagination and a lick of paint.

Whatever the reasons, crafting has been steadily gaining kudos with the cool kids over the last few years, resulting in knitting circles no longer being restricted to the Women’s Institute and nursing homes… Something of a ‘scene’ has built up around the craft revival, with hipsters such as the Shoreditch Sisters WI Group, led by Jazz Domino Holly (Joe Strummer’s daughter, with a highly appropriate name for this blog) getting a fair bit of media coverage – and book deals – for their forays into sewing, knitting and quilting.

The media itself has latched on to the trend, with Channel 4 airing ‘Kirstie’s Homemade Home’; a series where Kirstie Allsopp bustles into people’s houses and helps them to learn a variety of crafts, enabling them to upgrade their interiors on a budget whilst engaging with their inner crafter. The programme is considered a bit too mainstream by some of my crafting comrades, but I have to admit that I love it. The possibilities for transforming a room, just by learning a few new skills and getting a bit creative, is inspiring.   Kirstie also meets master-crafters with specialised skills, including makers of stained-glass, crochet and cross-stitch queens, blacksmiths and a wood-turner.
Both series of the show can be watched on 4OD, where there are also craft project tutorials worth checking out.

Such inspirations have not rendered me unaffected by this crafty revolution myself, and a year ago, I clubbed together with two friends to launch Granny Greens Big Night Out; an Edinburgh-based, weekly craft gathering. The vibe is informal and friendly – new faces are welcomed on a regular basis – with a drop-in set-up which means that people can pop in and out throughout the evening.

It’s been great getting to know other Edinburgh crafters over the last year and sharing skills with each other as we go. I have been cross-stitching for years, but have also been keen to learn how to knit, quilt and make cushions and clothes, and Granny Greens is a great place to mine other local crafters’ knowledge. I’ve been taught the basics of knitting and shared my own knowledge of cross-stitching with whomever so desired. We’ve had book-making and cupcake decorating workshops, crochet lessons, film discussion groups and a LOT of coffee and cake.

Rhian Meara's rag rug

We are about to launch our new term’s programme of events. The details will be up on our blog very soon, but I can reveal that it will include our regular craft drop-ins, more focused skill-sharing workshops, formal workshops (with exciting day-trips!) and a new, improved book group!

Granny Greens Big Night Out meets every Monday at Fredericks Coffee House on Frederick Street, between 6pm and 8pm. You can follow us on twitter @greensnightout or ‘like’ ‘Granny Green’s Big Night Out’ on Facebook.

….And so, my time as Guest Blogger for The Jazz Emporium has come to an end. It has been a blast – and an honour to have my musings published on this mighty website.
You can read more of my meditations on vintage fashion, craftiness, photography and life in general on my blog, snapandstitch.


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