In my last blog post I posed a little teaser, asking what connection the ‘mystery photograph’ had to the National Farmers Union (NFU)
Lord David Prosser guessed that the picture was of a bull tether, and Debra at Breathelighter thought it might be some kind of leash. They are both on the right track, though the ‘bull’ in question might be of the terrier, rather than the bovine variety:
As I can now reveal, they are beautifully crafted collars for dogs.
Fashioned from paracord by CB member Katrina, they are strong and practical and come in a range of attractive colours to flatter any self~respecting pooch. But what’s the link to the farmers?
Katrina’s husband is the County Secretary of the NFU on the island and serves on the executive committee of the Isle of Wight County Show. Knowing about her involvement with Crafty Bees, the committee asked if we’d like to publicise the group in the craft tent at this year’s show.
There were several other events taking place on the Island on that day, so Katrina and I were the only Crafty Bees available to take advantage of this kind offer. As the theme was ‘Craft in the Community’, I took along piles of my crochet, scrumbling, papier~mâché, hand~made paper, a couple of small collages and some Kumihimo templates, just in case anyone fancied having a go. I also displayed an art journal and several books, from which I draw inspiration and (sometimes) instruction. (Although I generally change the weight of the yarn, use a different size hook and ‘forget’ to check my tension.)
Katrina printed off a couple of small posters with the details of Crafty Bees and some hand~outs on Kumihimo, along with colour charts for her collars and photographs of proud dogs modelling them!
Her display of snazzy canine neckwear attracted a great deal of interest ~ and not only from dog~owners, who were impressed by the bespoke nature of the collars and the variety of colours available. A mother and her four~year~old daughter commissioned a pair to wear as matching bracelets, which Katrina whipped up while they waited. When my husband, who’d turned up to support us, heard about this he ordered one in black and Harley Davidson orange for himself.
It was a lovely sunny day and the atmosphere at the show was relaxed and friendly, which was a huge relief. I must confess that I’d panicked the night before, when I realised that I only had ornaments and pictures from my home and unfinished projects to display, having given all my completed work away. I asked myself why on earth I’d volunteered……
But, as it happens, this haphazard approach seemed to tap into common experience ~ almost everyone who stopped by said that they also had stashes of fascinating materials, which they planned to use ‘one day, when they had more free time.’ Or piles of made up crochet and knitted squares. Or that they used to do loads of craftwork but they’d kinda got out of the habit for some reason, they didn’t really know why.
Children ran their hands over the textured patches in my throws and handled my paper~mâché, surprised to be told that it was constructed from paper and glue. Women shared their own tips and tricks: from how to thread beads on Kumihimo braid or join knitted seams without stitching, (sewing~up squares or strips seems to be a common bugbear,) to which items are desperately needed by charities ~ such as blankets for newborns in Africa, who might otherwise be wrapped in newspaper and tiny clothes for premature babies here on the Island.
All day long Katrina and I promoted the benefits of belonging to a group, stressing how easy~going and friendly we are and mentioning the availability of home~made cake! I brought up my Crafty Bees blogs on iPad, showing photographs of everyone doing their ‘thing’, which generated a lot of discussion about forging new friendships and being part of a crafting community. We didn’t have printed cards so when anyone asked for contact details, we encouraged them to take a shot of the poster on their smartphones. People offered to publicise the group on Church notice boards and at W.I. meetings and to spread the word among their friends.
So, despite my earlier concerns this was a positive experience ~ one which I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s another meeting this evening and it will be interesting to find out if any of the people we spoke to decides to drop in or called the contact number for more information on Crafty Bees.
It would be lovely to welcome new members ~ but I’m looking forward to another great evening anyway!