||Keighley, West Yorkshire, UK||Index||Back|
| My name is Helen. I am 48. I was brought up in Dudley in the West Midlands and moved to West Yorkshire to train as a teacher, but went off eleven-year olds in bulk! Having worked in a variety of roles within BT, I took one of the redundancy packages in 2002 and started to look for an easier way to keep adding to the yarn stash. I’ve done some admin for a housing and benefits advice organisation, taught I.T. skills to job seekers and moved back into admin in the voluntary sector. Currently I am in conflict with my employer and am looking for another opportunity.
I forgot to mention that although I liked the Midlands, I love the close proximity of the countryside in the Aire Valley and I’ve stayed. I’m coming up to thirty years here, so I nearly qualify for the first stamp in my passport. They don’t take to ‘off-cum’d-‘uns’ too quickly in these parts!
I have been previously married but hey, we can all make mistakes when we are young! I am now married to Mike, who is about fourteen years older than me. By his own admission and he put a sign on his workshop door to confirm it he is a boring old fart! Mike is interested in all things to do with transport running a small scale passenger carrying steam locomotive and restoring an authentic replica of an Austin 1800 works rally car form the 1968 London-Sydney marathon. At least he keeps out of the way when I get out my crochet stuff!
We have no kiddies, but do care for three young adult cats called Cassie (white female), Oscar (tabby male who has lost his tale after a run-in with feral cats before he came to live with us) and Simba (Tonkinese cream/ginger male with startling blue eyes who survived a nasty road accident before joining our family) and a positively ancient springer spaniel/border collie crossbreed dog called Ollie who used to look after an elderly friend of ours.. Our home is a sort-of-bungalow-gone-wrong on a hillside overlooking the meeting point of two river valleys. We have a garden that is too big for us too really manage well and it takes up too much crocheting time!
Better get back to the crochet… My cousin Jan taught me how to do a granny square the summer before I went to college. I made a floor cushion from one giant granny square and sixteen squares from a pattern that was in one of my mom’s magazines. Studying put paid to any more craft work and it was five years after leaving college before I spotted a copy of Anna magazine on the shelf in WHSmith’s in Bradford. I bought it, made the cover jacket and gradually got back into crochet over the next few years.
The next big step forward was meeting Pauline Turner at one of the craft shows, which led to me going to a few of her one day workshops and signing up for part 1 of the Diploma in Crochet. At one of the workshops Pauline Fitzpatrick encouraged me to re-join the Knitting & Crochet Guild and I’m still a member!
I probably do more plain boring shapes and do, hopefully, interesting things with them. Virginia Avery’s OOP book ‘Wonderful Wearables’ is highly recommended for simple garment shapes.
Height of success was in the 1997 International Crochet Awards, when my ‘seascape’ was runner up in the art to wear category. I sponsored a 3-D class at the last awards. I know Pauline Turner is hoping to resurrect the Awards as part of the Event she is working for May 2006. I will be helping her, as soon as there are things that I can pitch in and help with at fifty plus miles apart, there’s a lot to be said for electronic communication.
Exciting trip of a lifetime has to be visiting the scrumbler’s mini forum, associated with the Australian Forum for Textile Arts spring forum in 2003. It was brilliant to meet Jenny Dowde, Prudence Mapstone, Margaret Hubert and the rest of the gang. The Ozzies really do know how to enjoy their crafting and they are not precious about their knowledge either, they shared skills and techniques very freely! They also don’t have any qualms about cross-crafting, unlike some UK guilds that I have encountered.
It is as a result of that Oz trip that I joined the international freeform crochet chat group. That has spawned the UK group thanks to Ruth Marler’s kind offices and now, along with Pauline Fitzpatrick, I have been made a moderator of the UK group. All I ask is that you are patient as I learn my way round cyberspace. This internet caper is quite new to me!
Craft fairs I’ve done a few, small ones in the Yorkshire/Lancashire border town on Bentham, as I have quite a few friends over that way. Financially, they have not been riotously successful, but I’ve enjoyed making the stuff and had fun on the days themselves the other stallholders are great!
Still enjoying my crochet, still learning, intend to carry on that way. - All the best - Helen
I was inspired by the enormity of the undertaking to work with so many other enthusiastic crochet workers from around the world and perhaps a bit intimidated too. By doing a bit now and again, I eventually found that the piece was coming together and think that the final square is quite good.