Knitting: Tea and Crafting Event

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By Annette Kellow

An old-fashioned past time now making a huge comeback! Known for its endless variations, styles and textures, knitting has always been a great source of British pride. In our throwaway fashion generation combined with a busy modern life, one of the most appealing sentiments in knitting is that it’s creative, stress-relieving and can easily be shared with others. 

Indeed it was often renowned as an activity to do with friends, family and siblings who used to knit together in the olden days, and now this social hobby is once again taking centre stage. 

Meet up groups all over the U.K have sprung up and you will find that crotchet cafes and knitting parties are widespread as people relish this vintage craft. Being a vintage lover (and complete hoarder too!) I was delighted to discover Tea and Crafting, a place where knitting and cake come together under one roof. They have workshops, lessons and hen parties and combine craftsmanship with a modern twist. Would I be any good though? I had not had a go since around age nine so wasn’t feeling a little low in the confident stakes. I was assured by owner, Jane Gois, who started the company to share her love of all things crafty, that it is easier to learn than you think. 

A centuries-old hobby, the idea was to start at the very beginning and learn the beginner stitches; cast-on, knit, purl, garter and casting off. As I’d been out of the loop for so long (literally) I found these incredibly hard and my dreams of making a baby’s hat went straight out the window when I started creating small holes in my scarf- oops! But help was at hand at how to correct these and along with the pretty pots of tea and tiers of cupcakes being handed around, I began to feel more and more relaxed.

According to the type of wool, needles and stitches used, the garments style and durability can dramatically be affected. The manual skills used by the knitter not only create something special but are a great form of stress reducing and helping to keep anxiety at bay. The therapeutic and creative outlet was actually tested at Harvard Medical School where it was seen as helping with the onset of Alzheimers, as well as contributing to lower blood pressure, stabilising the heart rate and boost the immune system. I particularly was in awe of a guy that had turned up, whose girlfriend had given him a Tea and Crafting gift voucher as a Christmas present.

‘Are you here so you can go back and teach your girlfriend how to knit?’ A friendly Australian girl asked him.  ‘No she just knew I would love to learn,’ he smiled which we all thought was utterly endearing! After learning all the stitches and then practicing them, we also discussed a range of knitting tips as we helped ourselves to our second round of cakes that definitely helped satisfy our sugar cravings!  With each workshop being taught by an expert in their craft, there are beginners events, regular workshops, home videos and drop in classes, catering for every type of crafty soul. A relaxing and useful pastime that is also becoming an opportunity to meet new people: and it was also a real giggle!

Visit www.teaandcrafting.co.uk for further information and to book classes and workshops.