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Meet our teachers: Rachel Rogers, crochet

Rachel Rogers is a Hackney-based designer and maker of crochet homeware and accessories. She uses chunky recycled cotton yarn in an array of vibrant colours to add a modern aesthetic to her products, and each of her pieces is made unique as a result of the processes used to create them. Rachel teaches our Crochet Basket classes at our West Hampstead shop which are super fun and popular!

Rachel Rogers

Question: Where did the idea for your crochet business first come from?

Answer: There was no light bulb idea moment really it grew organically from friends showing an interest in my makes. It really came about when at a friends house during one of our regular craft nights. I had just discovered T Shirt yarns and was half way through making a basket which I completed there, my friend loved it and placed an order for two there and then! I had always dreamn’t of having my own business and at the time was freelancing and struggling with paying for childcare and the unpredictability of it all, so as the orders came in the decision to focus solely on setting up my business and see where it could take me felt like the right path and one that I had been in search of for a long time. It was important that I could work around my kids doing something I loved – crochet definitely hits the spot!

Rachel Rogers Crochet Basket

Q:Your Etsy shop looks amazing! How did you find the process of setting up your shop?

Thank you! It was not an easy task setting up shop, there are so many elements that have to be brought together before you can even think about pressing OPEN SHOP! It was quite nerve racking and opening it made it all feel very real. I literally thought I couldn’t open the shop without having every last detail in place, thinking that I would be inundated with orders! This wasn’t the reality and it turns out you have to put a huge amount of work into making Etsy work – firstly getting your head around the SEO of it, mean’t reading forum after forum and hours of tweaking. It still needs work and new products to be added but it works for now as my shop front, I’m in the process of working on my own website which is really exciting.
Crochet baskets by Rachel Rogers

Q:We are super excited about your crochet classes at our West Hampstead shop, what can students expect?

You and me both!! There is nothing better than sharing my passion for crochet with new students. So far there isn’t one workshop that I have taught where someone hasn’t grasped it .. many have gone on and caught the crochet bug. Students can expect to learn the basics so that they could take this knowledge and apply it to many different future crochet projects. Its not only about learning to crochet its about the amazing t shirt yarns we will use to create the basket, they are all offcuts from textile factories which helps the environment enormously, there is something really special about creating a new practical product out of materials that would otherwise be waste.

Rachel Rogers Crochet Baskets

Q:What is the most unusual / interesting commission you have been set?

My first commission was probably the most interesting which was to crochet lampshades. They were to go in a newly designed meeting room at a friends Architects practice. We would talk crochet and design at the school gates – I was hugely excited! They loved the t shirt yarns and told me they wanted big and bold so I just went for it!

Crochet Lampshade by Rachel Rogers

Q:Do you still find time to crochet for yourself or do you have any other crafty hobbies?

I do crochet for myself still as I actually use all my products – no better way to test them! It is not unknown for me to be whipping up a crochet clutch bag last minute for a wedding, a new shopper bag just because or a basket to try to bring more order into my home! I generally fall in love with every product I make and find it impossible to not hold a few products back for myself. Not surprising when friends come over and mention there is a lot of crochet going on in my house!!! I recently did a wall weaving workshop which I really loved and would love to have more time to take this further, instead I will continue to be inspired by all those incredible weavers out there.

Rachel Rogers

Q: What is your favourite material to work with and why?

A: I am 100% in love with t-shirt yarns. Each and every cone you buy is different in thickness, stretch and texture making everything you make unique. I never know exactly what the yarn will be like until it gets delivered so there is always an element of surprise. Even when the order arrives and you fall head over heals for a particular yarn there is very little chance you will ever be able to buy that same yarn again, this really is the unique selling point of each product. T Shirt yarns are all recycled (as I mentioned before), I just love that I am creating practical and useful products out of something that would otherwise end up on a waste site – I am a firm believer that we should be upcycling as much as possible not only for today but for future generations to come.

T shirt Yarn

Thanks Rachel! You can find Rachel’s Etsy shop here and follow her on Instagram at @rachelrogersmakes. You can also check out our full range of t-shirt yarns here.

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Two Truths and a Lie with Bonnie Christine – the big reveal!

On Friday we posted three statements about Bonnie Christine and asked you to guess which one is a lie. Here they are again, with the answers!

1. I studied art and design in school.

FALSE. I discovered fabric design right after I graduated from Business School, so about 8 years ago, I set out to teach myself design. It took me an entire year to figure out how to make a repeating pattern and I learned most of Illustrator by watching a couple of dudes design tessellating lizards. Haha! I think this is why I’m so passionate about teaching others!

2. I used to work at my Mom’s quilt shop.

TRUE. My mom has owned a quilt shop called A Stitch in Time most of my life. It’s why I fell in love with fabric and sewing and I worked for her right after I got married for about a year. It was so fun!

3. My favourite colour is pink.

TRUE. Not girly pink though, more of a delicious-blush-almost-cream-pink.

Here is our randomiser:

Randomizer

Out of 71 entries we had 35 correct guesses! The 30th correct guess doesn’t live in the UK, so our winner is number 35 and that is Emma! Congratulations, Emma, you’ve won this Wonderful Things Bundle!

Wonderful Things by Bonnie Christine and Kona Cotton Solids

Thank you to everyone who played! Who would you like to play with next time?

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Two Truths and a Lie with Bonnie Christine

It’s time for another game of Two Truths and a Lie! This time we’re playing with the lovely Bonnie Christine. Bonnie grew up in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, where her love for patterns started. She is inspired by the great outdoors, from the largest of trees to the tiniest of leaves and says that creating patterns with summery sweet hues is her happy place. Her goal has always been to create patterns that are organic and natural, joyful and lovely. We are so happy to have recently taken stock of her stunning Wonderful Things collection from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Bonnie Christine

So here is how you can play… Bonnie will tell us three things about herself. Two are true and one is a lie. If you want to participate, tell us in the comments which statement you think is a lie. Enter by Midnight on Sunday and on Monday we’ll put all the correct answers in randomizer and choose a winner.

The winner will win this super cute fat quarter bundle of Wonderful Things and coordinating Kona Cotton Solids!

Wonderful Things by Bonnie Christine and Kona Cotton Solids

Ready, Steady, Go!…

1. I studied art and design in school.

2. I used to work at my Mom’s quilt shop.

3. My favourite colour is pink.

Which is the lie? Tell us in the comments! Remember, the deadline to be entered in the prize draw is midnight on Sunday 7 May. Anyone can play, but only entries in UK/Europe are eligible for this prize.

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Meet our Teachers: Susana Cunha, macrame

Susana Cunha is the founder of bohemian-inspired brand Tent Living. She uses traditional macrame and weaving techniques with a modern, contemporary and romantic spin to create unique wall-hangings that incorporate natural materials. Susana teaches Macrame classes at our West Hampstead shop. She also shared a macrame plant hanger tutorial on The Daily Stitch earlier this year.

Susana Cunha Macrame and Weaving

Q. Where does your brand name Tent Living originate from?

A. I wanted a name that was evocative of a certain bohemian spirit, exotic travels, fun but also a little bit romantic and Tent Living just ticked all the boxes.

Susana Cunha Macrame and Weaving

Q. How did you first discover Macrame?

A. I first discovered macrame through Instagram and inspired by all the beautiful images I decided to go on a macrame workshop. There I learnt the basic macrame knots and then just researched and practiced a lot!

Susana Cunha Macrame and Weaving

Q. What are your favourite textiles to work with and why?

A. I love working with different textures, cotton rope and cotton fabric is one of my favourite combinations – the roughness of the rope and the delicacy of the fabric work so well together and make a piece that little bit more interesting.

Susana Cunha Macrame and Weaving

Q. What five words best describe your style?

A. Bohemian, fun, romantic, colourful, unique.

Susana Cunha Macrame and Weaving

Q. Are there any crafts other than Macrame that you enjoy?

A. Yes! I’ve recently started weaving and am completely in love with the process. Everything, from choosing a color palette to warping the loom is a pleasure.

Susana Cunha Macrame and Weaving

Want more? You can follow Susana on Instagram, visit her shop and find her upcoming classes here.

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Meet our teachers: Emma Block, brush lettering

Emma Block is a London-based illustrator whose work can be found in children’s books, packaging, magazines, greetings cards and books for adults. She has worked for clients including Stylist Magazine, Random House Canada, Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, UNIQLO, Orla Kiely, Anthropologie, Mollie Makes and Time Out. She teaches brush lettering workshops at our West Hampstead shop.

Emma Block

Q. We are really looking forward to welcoming you for your upcoming brush lettering workshops. For those who do not know, what is brush lettering?

A: Brush lettering is the art of creating beautiful lettering using a brush and ink. It’s a bit like calligraphy but more organic and expressive. I find practising brush lettering to be really relaxing and mediative, and of course the results are beautiful.

Brush Lettering with Emma Block

Q. How did you first discover your arty talents?

A: I’ve always been creative and knew that I wanted a career in the arts. After doing my GCSEs I studied a national diploma in art and design instead of A-levels and then studied illustration at University. After graduating I started working as a freelance illustrator full time.

Emma Block Brush Lettering Workshop at The Village Haberdashery

Q. What was the first image you ever painted?

A: I’m not sure. When I was at nursery school used to paint horses that were just rectangles with legs!

Emma Block

Q. On your website it says that you provide live illustrations at corporate event and parties. This sounds like lots of fun! What sort of things do you do for this?

A: Live illustration is really fun but really intense. I paint portraits of people live as they stand in front of me using watercolours. Each portrait takes about eight minutes to complete, and live illustration is always very popular, so If I’m working at a party or event I’m always very busy. Doing live illustration teaches you to work very quickly and become very decisive and confident in your painting. It also helps develop your observational skills.

Emma Block Brush Lettering Workshop at The Village Haberdashery

Q. What would your dream commission be?
A: I would love to do range of packaging for a company like Marks & Spencer’s or Fortnum & Mason’s. It would be so lovely to design biscuit tins and boxes of tea.

Emma Block Brush Lettering Workshop at The Village Haberdashery

Follow Emma on Instagram at @emmablockillustration and check out her website to find out more!

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Meet Our Teachers: Renée Callahan, knitting

We have lots of knitting classes coming up at our West Hampsted Shop for all levels of knitter with the lovely Renée Callahan! Renée will also be joining us once a month for our Thursday Knit Night to offer a free workshop and knitting clinic and you can find out more about those evenings here.

Renée loves textiles and the technical challenge of knitting whilst producing something both useful and beautiful. She studied fashion design with knitwear at Central Saint Martins college and now creates new patterns with combinations of texture and colour as well as guiding knitters taking to the needles with a range knitting classes.

Renee Callahan Knitting

Who first taught you to knit?

Strangely enough, I didn’t start knitting until I began my degree in fashion design with knitwear. We learned on machines and I came to hand knitting on my own, with loads of help from youtube and a sympathetic tutor.

At college, I found a DVD of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s hidden in a back corner of the library and because craft was really not the cool thing in fashion college, I really believed I had discovered this super obscure video no one had ever seen. Little did I know…

Renee Callahan knitting

Where do you look for inspiration for your projects and patterns?

It is a cliché, but I find inspiration literally everywhere. I am constantly inspired by the natural world, which is all around even though I live in the extremely urban environment of East London. There are wonderful parks and gardens just minutes away. I also love people watching, and I live in a neighbourhood rich with weird and wonderful fashion; from the most colourful African batik to the achingly cool hipster hotspots. Inspiration abounds!
Renee Callahan

What is your most favourite yarn to work with and why?

I have so many! How to choose just one?!

I love natural fibres and am very excited about the proliferation of small batch, independently made yarns going on right now. But old favourites remain: who can resist a bit of Malabrigo??

Renée Callahan

You will be teaching hand knitting at our shop but you also have a machine knitting class on Craftsy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two techniques?

Machine knitting and hand knitting are a bit like apples and oranges; you can make a sweater with a machine and a sweater by hand, but both the process and end result will be very different. They are both great but for different reasons. I would argue that even the fastest hand-knitter would take many hours to make a sweater, and so the process itself must be enjoyable and enjoyed, whereas a machine knit sweater can be a speedy project, for example.

What is the one knitting gadget could you not live without?

My blocking set: blocking wires and foam mats make all the difference for a lacy shawl! I also love interchangeable circular needles… and ravelry.com! If a website could be a gadget, Ravelry is the best one of all!

Renee Callahan

Thanks Renée!

You can also find Renée on Instagram, find her website and check out her upcoming classes here!

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Two Truths and a Lie with Stacy Iest Hsu – the big reveal!

On Friday we posted three statements about Stacy Iest Hsu and asked you to guess which one is a lie. Here they are again, with the answers!

1. One of my most favorite jobs around the house is mowing the lawn.

True. I love mowing the lawn and doing yard work. It is how I unwind and relax. It is a job I had growing up on a farm and it has always been my favorite thing to do. I would do yard work over cleaning the house any day.

2. I have 8 bothers and sisters.

Lie. I have two younger brothers and that is all but my mom comes from a family of 9 and my dad comes from a family of 6 so I have a very large extended family. I had 34 cousins so there was always someone to play with and holiday parties were always big.

3. My name is pronounced Stacy East Shoe.

True. As crazy as it may seem, my last name, Iest Hsu is pronounced East as in the direction and Shoe as in the lovely things you wear on your feet. My family is Dutch and my husbands family is Chinese.

Here is our randomiser:
Random list generator

Out of 49 entries we had 22 correct guesses! The 11th correct guess was Beatriz! Congratulations, Beatriz, you’ve won this Just another Walk in the Woods Bundle!

Just Another Walk in the Woods by Stacy Iest Hsu

Thank you all for playing!

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Two Truths and a Lie with Stacy Iest Hsu

This giveaway is now closed! Find the answer here.

Here we are with another game of Two Truths and a Lie! This time we’re playing with the lovely Stacy Iest Hsu. Stacy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. She has been a textile and product designer for over ten years and has designed for some large retailers as well as recently branching out independently to market her own line of original creations. It has been a dream come true for her to work with Moda and we are currently stocking a selection from her adorable Just Another Walk in the Woods collection.

stacy Iest Hsu

So here is how you can play… Stacy will tell us three things about herself. Two are true and one is a lie. If you want to participate, tell us in the comments which statement you think is a lie. Enter by midnight on Sunday and on Monday we’ll put all the correct answers in randomizer and choose a winner.

The winner will win this super cute bundle of 10 fat quarters of Just Another Walk in the Woods and Kona Cotton Solids!

Just Another Walk in the Woods by Stacy Iest Hsu

Ready, Steady, Go!…

1. One of my most favourite jobs around the house is mowing the lawn.

2. I have 8 brothers and sisters.

3. My name is pronounced Stacy East Shoe.

Which is the lie? Tell us in the comments! Remember, the deadline to be entered in the prize draw is midnight on Sunday, 26 March. Anyone can play, but only entries in UK/Europe are eligible for this prize.

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Let’s get to know Saara and Laura Huhta and Named Patterns!

We are super happy to be now stocking the fantastic patterns by Named Clothing and we invited Founders Saara and Laura Huhta to join us for a quick Q&A so you could find out all about them! The sisters have followed their dream of turning a passion for designing clothing patterns into their career and want to encourage fellow fashion lovers to give sewing their own garments a try.

Saara and Laura Huhta and Named Patterns

Tell us about Named!

Named is a Finnish clothing pattern label founded by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta. Named garments are a combination of Scandinavian clean-lined simplicity and interesting details. The aim of the collections is to bring a new perspective to making one’s own clothes and to support ethical and ecological consuming in contrast to a clothing industry focused on fast fashion. Named launches two collections a year, and the patterns have five levels of difficulty, which means that anyone from a beginner to a more experienced sewer can find patterns suited to their skill level.

Describe the style of your garments in three words:

Relaxed, Feminine, Simple.

Tell us about the woman you design for:

A Named woman likes to dress classic with a twist. She likes to experiment with new sewing techniques, interesting cuts and fun fabrics! She mixes casual styles with dressy, and follows her own style rather than trends. A Named woman likes to create her own unique look by making her own wardrobe.

What body shapes work best with your patterns?

We have lots of patterns that work with different body shapes. We have both fitted and lady-like pieces, and loose-fitting, casual styles. Our patterns are drafted for a 172 cm tall, slightly pear-shaped woman, but they can of course be altered according to one’s own measurements. We also have lots of casual styles that don’t require much fitting!

What should home dressmakers know about using your patterns?

Something that distinguishes us from many pattern labels is that we design our collections as ‘mini capsule wardrobes’, so to speak. We try to create collections that are easy to wear, easy to modify and also easy to combine. Our paper patterns are printed on a heavier paper instead of tissue paper, so they can be traced and used multiple times. The instructions include all necessary from measurements to fabric requirements to illustrated instructions, but we also often give additional tips and instructions by e-mail whenever needed.

You can find out more about Named on their website, follow them on Instagram and find Named patterns in our shop here.

 

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Meet our Teachers: Elspeth Jackson, rag rugging

We are so excited to welcome Elspeth Jackson to our West Hampstead shop with her rag rugging classes! Elspeth is an avid crafter and she teaches craft-lovers all across the UK how to make beautiful rag rugs and upcycled pieces for the home. She is a regular in craft magazines at home and abroad.

Her first class with us is on Saturday, 20 May, 10am – 4pm and you can find out more and sign up here!

Rag Rugging with Elspeth Jackson

For those who haven’t heard about rag rugging before could you tell us a little about how it works?

Rag rugging is a very old British craft that involves turning old clothing and fabric offcuts into cosy rugs and other homeware. Absolutely any material can be used which means finding fabric is as easy as rummaging through your wardrobe or fabric hoard (it’s the ultimate thrifty craft!). Crafters who try rag rugging are always astounded by how easy it is to do – it’s done using a latch hook and hessian base and is extremely easy to pick up. Try it and you’ll soon be hooked.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

I believe you have been rag rugging from a young age, how did you first discover this fun craft?

Every year my school used to put on a “Recycled Fashion Show” where thestudents had to make costumes out of recycled materials. My mum had been making beautiful rag rugs out of old clothing for years and I thought it would be a great medium for my outfit. My masterpiece took hours to make, weighed a tonne and was baking hot under the catwalk spotlights but won me a prize. By then I had caught the rag rug bug! Afterwards I began making rag rugs for myself and eventually for other people. My core rag rug pieces are for sale on my website (www.raggedlife.com) but I also undertake commissions for custom-made pieces. My mother is the original rag rug guru. I’ve learned new techniques, tips and tricks over the years but without my mum’s patience when I was learning as a youngster, Ragged Life would not exist today.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

Is it just rugs that you can create with the technique or is it possible to create other items also?

One of the things I love most about rag rugging is how versatile it is. You don’t need to start out by making something large like a rug. Pretty much anything can be rag rugged… bunting, cushions, jam jar covers, pouffes, shopping bags… you name it, I’ve probably rag rugged it. I recommend that beginners start with a smaller project to get their confidence up before jumping into one of the large projects and I’ve got plenty of smaller projects in my new book “Rag Rugs, Pillows & More”.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

Your book ‘Rag Rugs, Pillows & More’ looks great! How did you find the writing process?

I really enjoyed making the rag rug projects for “Rag Rugs, Pillows & More” but the writing process took a little getting used to. Generally when I embark on a new project I make up the steps and design as I go along (I’m self-taught and I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to ever try rag rugging certain items) so it was a bit of a learning curve remembering to write down exactly what I was doing as and when I did it. Once I got into the rhythm I found the writing really flowed. In many ways, it was easy to write the technique and design sections of the book because I knew what questions people would ask from the many workshops I’ve run. I’m already thinking about what projects I would put into my next book!

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

A lot of crafters dream of turning their hobby into a full time job. How did you know the time was right for you to take that step?

Although I’ve always made rag rugs, it wasn’t until 2014 that I took theleap of faith to make my passion, my work. In fact, most people are very surprised when they learn that I did Geography at university, not an art or textile degree. After university, I went straight to work for Unilever in London. I worked in Marketing for three years, working on incredible brands, including Persil, Flora and Lynx. Although I enjoyed what I did, I knew deep down that working for a large company just wasn’t for me. I knew the time was right to launch Ragged Life after noticing how many people wereinterested in learning how to rag rug. There were very few rag rug “experts” out there to teach and lots of crafty people looking to learn. I’d been looking for a creative outlet for a while so it was the perfect opportunity and timing.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

Other than rag rugging what other crafts do you enjoy? Do you find time to craft for yourself as well as work?

Like most crafty people, I just love making things. I flit from one craft to another and have tried everything from modern calligraphy and pottery to cross stitch and lampshade making over the years. Aside from rag rugging, I love to crochet – I’m not the most competent at it but I do love hoarding wool and making snoods. I’m lucky that I still really enjoy rag rugging. I’ve come across some people who have fallen out of love with their craft after making it their career. Fortunately that’s no the case with me and there’s nothing I’d rather do on a lazy sunday afternoon.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

We are so excited for your classes in our new shop…what can the students expect?

Most of all students can expect to have lots of fun! We’ll be learning both the main rag rug techniques (loopy and shaggy) before applying them to one of a number of projects (a cushion, rug, shopping bag or wreath, for example). They’ll be plenty of 1-2-1 help and useful sections on designing for rag rug, hemming of hessian and finishing your pieces properly. I can’t wait to teach you!

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Habershashery

Thank you Elspeth!

You can also find Elspeth on on Instagram, find her website and check out her upcoming classes here!

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