Expected to be a sell-out for crochet enthusiasts, the pre-bookable workshop with the 2018 British Craft Awards Crochet Designer of the Year is the show’s first masterclass. “We always hold a series of Woolschool workshops throughout the weekend and we decided, as crochet is so popular now, that it would be a great idea to introduce a Crochet Workshop Masterclass. We are absolutely delighted that Jane has agreed to tutor it,” said organiser Chrissie Menzies.
Jane, recognised as one of the leading designers within her field, is also acknowledged as one of the pioneers of the UK crochet revival. As a designer and maker, author and tutor, she specialises in contemporary and innovative crochet designs for the home, drawing much of her inspiration from her love of art, textiles and travel. “I am really looking forward to the show,” she said. “Wonderwool Wales is one of my favourites – and it is a real privilege to have been asked to tutor a crochet workshop masterclass. I really enjoy workshop situations and love interacting with other crocheters and the synergy that this creates. I have chosen to do the masterclass on beaded crochet – a fabulous technique, which is so much easier to achieve than it looks and is really fun to do.”
The two-and-a-half-hour crochet workshop aims to give participants the confidence to play with their crochet techniques and work in a more freeform way. They will make a small crochet piece without the aid of a pattern, which they could use as a key charm, bag decoration or brooch. Various other techniques will be shown including bullion stitch, frills and loops.
A go-to diary date for fibre fans, craft-lovers and makers from the UK and abroad, the vibrant, annual wool and natural fibres showcase Wonderwool Wales 2019 returns to the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells on April 27 and 28 2019. For visitors, the irresistible opportunity to stock up on wool and natural fibre products from more than 200 high quality stalls is coupled with the chance to book on to hands-on workshops and learn or perfect their skills with help from an expert.
Pre-bookable Woolschools are always very popular and organisers work hard to offer topics that appeal to a wide range of interests and levels of ability. Needle felt makers can join Somerset-based Lydia Needle to craft a cute bunny; Fi Harris will show how to wet felt merino wool to make a beautiful embellished bowl; there’s the chance to weave a beautiful wall hanging with willow weaver Mel Bastier; Tina Francis, working hard to ‘bring bargello back’ in 2019, will teach her groups three different bargello stitch patterns; Sue Blacker will show how to choose fleeces for hand spinning and yarn design; Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth will lead a workshop on spinning with a spindle and Bee Weir will lead a beginners’ braiding workshop. There’s also a workshop on block printing with Pat Johnson and, thinking ahead, Louise Zlotnicki will inspire participants to create an up-cycled, standing wool Christmas Tree.
All these chances to get creative with wool and natural fibres are presented alongside a wealth of special exhibitions, daily demonstrations and have-a-go sessions and the ever-entertaining Sheepwalk (a woolly take on the catwalk). There is also the chance to see work by BA Textiles graduate Helen Evans of Helen Margaret Textiles who has been given the chance to exhibit as part of a Wonderwool Wales bursary scheme. Inspired by the pretty, pastel-coloured houses which give the harbour in her childhood home of Aberaeron its distinctive charm, Helen has produced a range of beautiful woven cushions, whose stunning designs are influenced by the town harbour’s palette of colours and Regency architecture. Helen also received a cheque of £1000 as part of the award scheme, set up for students graduating from the BA Textiles: knit, weave and mixed media course at Carmarthen School of Art, part of Coleg Sir Gậr in Carmarthen.
Visitors to the 2019 show are also advised to look out for a flock of weird and wonderful woolly seagulls – the colourful, themed crocheted and knitted birds are the result of a community arts project led by Vicky Harrison of Bristol’s Crafting the City, who brought a giant woolly crocodile to the 2018 show.
There will also be a display of some of the thousands of poppies from Wonderwool Wales’ commemorative Curtain of Poppies which took centre stage at the 2018 show and to which knitters, crochet enthusiasts and craftspeople from all over the UK and abroad sent their handmade contributions. The exhibition will include information about the venues the curtain has visited since its launch last year. During November, to mark the 100-years anniversary of the Armistice that saw the end of World War I, parts of the curtain were displayed at venues including churches in South East Wales, the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and the United Kingdom Defence Academy, Shrivenham.
Find out more about the 2019 show at www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk.
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