Meet the Blogger
Name: Jennifer Cockcroft
Where did your love for crafting start? Where did you learn your skills?
I think I’ve always enjoyed crafting since I was little – although my Mum would probably call it making a mess! I used to like doing drawing and collages at school, and did a term of textiles in secondary school, but more than that was just making things at home or with my grandparents. I’ve tried all sorts of different crafts over the years, and love baking and cooking when I get time too. Now, I tend to pick things up myself by reading magazines, blogs and watching online videos for tips.
What is your favourite craft activity and why?
I’d probably say knitting at the moment, although dressmaking is a close second! I could never get the hang of knitting when I was younger, I’m left handed and Mum would despair at trying to show me things ‘the wrong way round’, so I never got further than the good old garter stitch scarf. But about three years ago I saw a knitted cable owl motif in a magazine and really wanted to make it – so I did! I think with a different mind-set and practising things on my own I’ve got to grips much better than with someone teaching me. Now I knit cables, lace, intarsia, socks, but mainly jumpers and cardigans for myself, with the odd baby gift thrown in.
What is your favourite craft item to make?
I’m enjoying sewing my own clothes a lot at the moment as I can choose fabrics and styles that I love and that suit me. I’m still working on getting the fit of some things perfect and I am learning about different types of adjustments.
How do you choose the materials that you work with?
For knitting I like good quality yarns in natural fibres, and similar for sewing I suppose – good quality cotton has been my friend so far though I’ve got some gorgeous Italian silk that I’m saving for something special.
Describe your crafting space.
My sewing space is my bedroom – I’ve got a little side table that my sewing machine sits on and I tend to sit on the side of my bed with all my fabric and tools spread out around me. I’ve got two big bookcases in my room, on top of which is stored my stash of fabric and yarn. Knitting generally happens on the sofa whilst watching TV.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Lots of magazines, books, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, sewing shows on Create & Craft TV, seeing other people when I’m out and about...the possibilities are endless!
Which items can you not live without when crafting?
A good pair of dressmaking scissors, lots of pins, tape measure, and the iron for sewing. For knitting, my ‘clicky’ row counter.
Out of all of your projects you have made which one are you most proud of and why?
I made the ‘Walkaway’ dress earlier this year (after seeing it on The Great British Sewing Bee) from some vintage M&S curtains liberated during a clear-out of my Nan’s house. It’s the biggest thing I’ve made in terms of fabric (5 metres!) and I’m chuffed to bits with how it turned out.
Do you have any top tips that you would like to share?
Use your iron lots when sewing or dressmaking – it makes such a difference during construction and to the final finish.
Do you have any favourite designers or brands that inspire you?
I love Liberty fabrics, and try to go and have a wander round the haberdashery department in the store whenever I’m in London – if they’ve got a sale on I might be in there a while! Rowan yarns are the loveliest to knit with, and their patterns are always beautiful – I have to be a bit careful with my budget though as a jumper can end up costing a huge amount if you don’t look for bargains!
What are your crafty plans for the future?
I’ve just bought the yarn to knit a ‘Santorini’ from Rowan Magazine 53 with this gorgeous intarsia rose design on the front, so I think that will keep me occupied for a little while. I’m going to be making some Christmas decorations this year, and would like to do some more patchwork, possibly English paper piecing. Working through some of the fabric in my stash would probably be a good idea too as I’m running out of space to keep things!