Since turning into The Secret Crocheter (!) I’ve met sooooo many people, each with their own story to tell about crafting and crocheting, as well as all the other stuff that goes on with daily life.  In my 1-2-1 crochet lessons, in workshops, at markets and fairs, I love talking to people and finding out all about them – which was a huge surprise to me as I always thought I was anti social! (my husband says I’m just nosey). It got me thinking (actually at 2am one morning when I couldn’t sleep) that introducing you to these people and sharing their stories with you could be a great idea for a blog.  I’ve toyed with the idea of doing my own podcast but I don’t think I’m quite ready to record my own (yet!) so this is my compromise……THE BLOGCAST!

Here’s the first one; an interview with the ever so awesome Laura.

So, first up, can you explain how we know each other….

Nicola and I have known each other since primary school believe it or not. She’s my oldest friend! She rocked up to Aloeric and things were never the same again! We grew up together really and I have lots of memories of us at school. We were particularly close in 6th form and enjoyed lots of milestones together, including going abroad without our parents, cruising (!) around McDonald’s car park when she passed her driving test and going to our first nightclub. Revising for exams, going on adventures, boy trouble – you name it, we did it. These days we are thick as thieves, even more than ever. We like nothing more than a good catch up over lunch, crocheting and spending time with our husbands, as luckily they’re friends too. We even spend Christmas Day together! We’re as happy chatting away as we are sat quietly, which I guess is a sign of true friendship. 

And, spill the beans about what you do for a living and a bit about yourself….

I’m a secondary school English teacher and have been at the same school for 17 years! Luckily I still absolutely love teaching even though I must say it’s a very challenging job at times. I still feel like it’s the biggest privilege in the world helping young people learn about the world around them, never mind the exams. But seeing their faces when they finally get something, make progress on something they’ve struggled with or learn something new thorough literature, it makes me so happy! I’m married to Dan and we live in Bristol. I absolutely love reading, swimming, walking, holidays and am fascinated by learning about nature, particularly birds and the moon and its cycles. I’ve recently enjoyed getting into gin (I know, bit obvious) and have joined a lovely new gym. This means I have been getting into badminton and even dipping my toe into the water of weights! And I also like a bit of the old crochet 🙂 

It must have been about 18 months ago now, I taught you to crochet.  How was that for you?!

Well there’s a question! I absolutely loved learning to crochet with you Nic. And I’m not just saying this because you’re my best friend, but you really are an awesome teacher. I’ve tried to do it many times before with my mum and grandma, and they both say I was impossible to teach because I just didn’t seem to grasp it. In fact, some people (hello mum) accused me of having no patience. So I was very nervous about learning and told Nic I was unteachable. She quickly proved me wrong and soon had me learning with her trademark colourful beginners’ wool! 

Did you pick it up really quickly or did you find anything tricky about the process?

I must say it took me a while because it didn’t feel intuitive to me. That’s what was so great about Nic’s method of teaching, because I had something to repeat in my head when I got lost. It took a while to come naturally and I guess that’s what has to happen – you slowly build muscle memory. For ages I just made little practice swatches, just going over the stitches until the tension felt right and I got used to counting and all the little things. Eventually I was ready to move on and Nic taught me to make a granny square. I made my own blanket to start with and have since made blankets for my mother-in-law and two close friends! The feeling of achievement was amazing and it was so lovely to give someone something they knew so much time and love had gone into. I don’t think anyone has shown such appreciation for a present before and that’s a really lovely feeling. I’m currently finishing a blanket and then I think I’ll be ready to learn something new. I’ve become very comfy in my comfort zone and I think it’s time for Nic to help me get out of it and try something different – maybe a scarf! 

How does crocheting make you feel?

Apart from the very addictive feeling of giving presents to people that make them look at you like you’re a genius wool witch, it gives me lots of fab feelings. I’ve suffered from a bit of anxiety over the last few years and crochet is an absolute go-to activity for me if I’m feeling wobbly. It’s very mindful. In fact, I’ve tried mindfulness mediation several times and have never managed it for long. But crochet keeps you focused and calm in a way that is very soothing, so I do that instead now. As well as feeling calming, it’s very satisfying. I love doing it front of the tv sometimes, feeling like I’m immersed in a story while I’m making something. It suits my efficiency streak! The main thing though, although it makes me sound a bit basic, is it just makes me really happy. 

Finally, as you’ve known me a very long time, you can share a fact about me that you don’t think anyone will know (nothing about our Club 18-30 holiday to Ibiza please!)

Finally, I want to share some secret Crocheter secrets. Nothing rude – let’ keep this PG! I bet you didn’t know: our Nicola has an encyclopaedic knowledge of spring and neap tides. Just ask her: she’ll gladly fill you in (and it’s genuinely very interesting). She’s also on close personal terms with a one-eyed pigeon called Nelson (he lives in her garden so many of you may have met him before). She loves Agatha Christie books – don’t try and pull the wool over her eyes, there’s nothing she can’t work out. She also loves Only Fools and Horses. And more than anything: Mary Poppins. Oh and one last thing – though lots of you may also have the good fortune to have worked this out – you couldn’t find a more loyal friend if you tried. 

Thank you so much to my lovely Laura for agreeing to be my first BLOGCAST interviewee!  Laura mentions in her answers about not having much success at learning to crochet first time around; I meet a lot of ladies who say the same thing to me, and often describe themselves as ‘cack-handed’ but I must reassure everyone, including Laura, that you are NOT ‘cack handed!’  Some people pick up learning to crochet really easily, and for some it takes a little longer.  But Laura is absolutely correct, it’s all about building up that muscle memory, which only happens with lots of practise.

Until the next time, over and out xx