Guest blogger series | Crafting with friends – Start a craftalong

by contributor on October 7, 2011

in Community + Creativity, Guest blog series2 2011

Carina is a 30-something Dane living in England. She is passionate about colour and pattern. Her grandmother (a crafty rockstar) taught her to cross stitch when she was very young and she likes to think that she would be happy to see her continuing the crafty tradition. Carina writes a blog, Carina’s Craftblog, about her crafty adventures in embroidery, crochet, sewing and more. Under the name Polka & Bloom, she designs colourful, free-form embroidery designs inspired by folk art and design of her native Denmark.

Image credits: MadameRenard & The Pickled Herring.

Crafting can sometimes be a bit solitary – we sit in our studios, livingrooms or bedrooms with a crafty project and a lot of the time we’re the only ones working on it or interested in it. If we’re lucky, our families don’t think we’re completely mad or boring because we want to make stuff.

I don’t mind the solitude of crafting, but sometimes it’s nice to share what you’re making and work on something with other people. It can be a bit difficult if you don’t have anyone around you who shares your passion for making – but that’s where (craft) blogging comes in handy!

Regardless of where we are in the world, in the big city or way out in the country-side where your mailbox is an hour drive from your home – if we’ve got internet we can find kindred spirits who enjoy making things too. I am sure you already know this; maybe you’ve experienced this and have become friends with some of the crafters and makers whose blogs you read. It’s quite amazing!

Image credits: Carina’s Craftblog & dreamfollow

These friends can really inspire you and your crafting projects. And you can do things together, even if you are on opposite sides of the globe. Recently, I co-hosted a craftalong with a bunch of lovely crafty ladies that was so much fun. As is the case with a lot of fun things, it came to be ‘by accident’ when an innocent email conversation turned into “let’s do a craftalong and get lots of other people to join in too!”

Which we did – and I can only recommend it. There’s a lot of fun to be had when you share a project with someone else. Different points of view which will inspire you and move your own crafting along.

I have always thought it would be so fun to give a group of crafters and artists a theme or a photograph and ask each of them to interpret it in their own way. I think the craftalong works exactly in that way. And I really do, as you know, get a huge kick out of seeing how others approach a project and add bits and pieces from their own muses.

[Source: Pam]

Our craftalong was all about making things inspired by the Dala Horse, and we called it a ‘craftalong’ because it was open to any type of crafting. Some collaborative crafting revolves around just one craft, so you may have heard terms such as stitchalong or crochetalong, but they are all basically the same thing: a group of people who work on a common project or theme and then share their progress, either on their blogs or Flickr or other places on the internet.

Image credits: Gingerbread Snowflakes & Golden Lilly Crafts

One of the best parts of being in a craftalong was the exposure to the constant enthusiasm of the other organizers, and then the joiners.

[Source: Hanna]

I really recommend organising, or just participating in, a craftalong of some sort, it’s really inspiring. You will discover new people who are making similar things to you – or maybe completely different things and that might actually be the most inspiring thing of all: seeing the different ways people interprete a particular theme.

It’s also just so much fun to be a part of an online community where people take the time out of their busy schedules to participate in something like this – such a great way to meet new, creative and fun people!

[Source: Kathryn]

Maybe you’re still physically working on the crafting alone, but being part of a craftalong like this will make you feel like you are part of a bigger picture; that what you’re making is important to others. It may also make you feel less likely to give up on your crafting endeavours, because you’re accountable to more than just yourself. You will be spurred on to keep at it! And you might just pick up a few new crafty friends as well…!

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa October 7, 2011 at 10:08 am

Oh my! I LOVE dala horses…I would have loved to go to this!

I have a winter “crafternoon” group that gets together one Saturday a month… women of all ages, working on their own projects (knitting, sewing, beading, etc.). We don’t have a theme since folks usually have projects they’re trying to complete, but that’s a fun idea too.

2 M October 11, 2011 at 5:41 am

Hi!

Dala horses and her design is NOT Danish! It’s Swedish! The Dala horse comes from Dalarna in Sweden.

3 Carina October 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Lisa – You’re very welcome to add any Dala horse crafts you make to the Flickr group.

M – I’m sorry if you got the impression that I’m saying the Dala horse is Danish. I know full well that it’s Swedish. I simply love the Dala horse to bits – just like the other people who joined in the craftalong. The craftalong is a tribute to the Dala horse.

4 Pam October 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

This is such a lovely post, Carina, and you did s great job of sharing what a rewarding experience it is to connect with other like minded bloggers and crafters in the blogiverse and in the process work together toward a common goal or on related projects.

Once the four of us had agreed to play together making Dala Horses, your idea to open it up into a craftalong was a brilliant one because it generated so much MORE creative energy than the four of us could have come up with! Chris at Golden Lilly Crafts had never even heard of a Dala Horse before the craftalong! But the minute she saw her first Dala, she was smitten and made four big soft toy Dalas and then four baby soft toy Dalas!

You are a tireless promoter of craftalongs and shared craft experiences and we are all the richer for your efforts and generosity.

Previous post:

Next post: