Indoctrinating the Masses

Cassandra and I have an evil plan. Well, it might not actually be evil but we kind of like the idea of being slightly dark and mysterious.

We want to teach everyone to craft something. 

Frankly, it doesn't matter what a person's interest is, we just want them to join the club and become a maker of things. Making stuff is great for the soul and the mind. It gets you out of your routine and gives you something to focus on that will provide a finished project at the end. For those of you who are readers, you know that sad feeling you get at the end of a good book? Well, making something is the exact opposite of that. Even if your finished project doesn't come out exactly as planned, you've CREATED something - which is an awesome feeling.

To this end, we've been doing our part to bring crafting to the masses. And, while the term "masses" may be overstating it a bit, we believe that every little bit counts. In recent months, we've taught a Beginning Knitting class and, yesterday, I taught a Beginning Embroidery class.

Me, teaching. Note my new hairdo!
We're lucky to have this cool community space in Madison called DreamBank where they'll pay for all the materials and advertise the class. All you have to do is teach it. The students get to go home with a new skill AND all the materials. So, yesterday, seven people tried their hand at our Bear embroidery pattern*. They received the pattern printed on linen/cotton fabric, a 6" hoop, a #5 embroidery needle, a skein of floss, and handouts on how to do the stitches needed for this pattern. Plus, of course, they got two hours of instruction from yours truly.  ;)

Interestingly, teaching embroidery was MUCH easier than teaching beginning knitting. All my students were women (two of them teenagers) and they seemed to intrinsically understand the stitch work. My star pupil was one of the teenagers who just plowed through her pattern with abandon and did a great job. Her mom struggled a bit but I was able to find the right words (and process) to help her understand what she was doing and she eventually caught on and was successful.

The best part was watching people "branch out" and try things that were not strictly on the curriculum. I encourage this behavior because I think it makes more fearless crafters.

Anyway, a good time was had by all and I'm pretty sure that a few of these folks will actually finish their project. Hopefully they'll continue on and make more wonderful stuff.

- Alex

*Click that link for free downloads of Bear, Hare, Fox, and Owl embroidery patterns!


  1. I've never heard of DreamBank - what an awesome concept!

    1. Stitchlilly - get yourself down to the Square! Seriously, check out the classes - everything from business advice to crafting. It's an amazing space. And, quarterly, they change the "exhibit" which is basically like a children's museum for grown-ups. It's all interactive stuff to get you to think about your dreams and to inspire you. It's an amazing space.

  2. Sounds like you all have got something good going on there in Madison, with DreamBank. Great that you've got several generations learning how to stitch.

    ( I am shocked, shocked, to learn how many young adults do not have a clue how to sew on a button, much less handle any more demanding sewing. There is another broad side to the current crafting/vintage resurgence.


    1. Frances - the DreamBank is awesome. And, once people know about it, they always return for more. :) One of the ladies in my class had only ever come for the business classes they provide (for free!) and this was her first "fun" class.

      I agree with you about the lack of hand-work skills in kids. Unfortunately, when you can buy a wool, cabled sweater at Walmart for $15, it's hard to convince a young person that there's value in spending $100 on yarn and hours of their time to make a similar sweater. :( Fortunately, my son's girlfriend is a maker - she sews (loves re-purposing second-hand clothes), knits, and cooks. I keep telling him she's a keeper. :)