We've been offering a Fix Your Stitch service for a few years now with the lovely and multi-talented Jackie Millichap. We are so pleased to offer this service as a way to help people achieve their crafting goals, whatever they may be! We've invited Jackie to tell us a little more about what she does here in the shop, and if you would like to book some time with our Woolly Agony Aunt, you can do so on our website here.
I am a crafter of 50+ years standing and started to learn most of my skills through my two Grandmas and my Mum. I am still learning! I learnt by watching, doing and patient correction of any mistakes. We now have a huge library of resources to learn, almost too many, as when do we know when someone on YouTube, for example, is giving a useful tip or not? This is where your local yarn shop comes in; as well as wonderful floofy stuff anyone involved in the shop wants to help. Enter me! I had a chat to Debbie one day and asked what I could do to help in the shop as a volunteer; Fix Your Stitch was born and I delivered my first session In February 2020 just in time for the first Covid lockdown.
Fix Your Stitch is held every other Monday afternoon 1-4 with 30-minute bookable slots. Initially we asked for a £5 donation to go to Knit for Peace (raising £450 in 2022), this year the donation goes to the Exeter food bank. You can bring in a knitting or crochet project and I will do my best to help ‘fix’ it.
I have deciphered patterns, taught new techniques, written patterns (re-written a pattern lost half way through a project using the knitting already done to guide me), corrected mistakes, unpicked / picked up stitches, advised on a project and the yarn required. I have taught basic crochet and corrected more advanced crochet. I have seen jumpers, cardis, hats, gloves, shawls, toys, socks (one of which kept getting thrown across the room so needed untangling every time I saw it!) and scarves.
I have introduced people to the wonders of tension squares (hands up who often misses this stage….me for one…..), stitch markers, a crochet hook to pick up dropped knitted stitches, blocking a finished project and seeing it bloom beautifully. I have chatted about different yarns, the construction of them, how they behave with different tensions and patterns, substituting yarns and mixing yarns.
I have met wonderful people that have shown me that whatever your skills and knowledge you can always learn more and that, sometimes, patterns are wrong!
I have noticed that the days of a simple Sirdar pattern (front, back, 2 sleeves, sew up) are long gone; designers now vie with each other to use newer techniques to improve the fit and design of a garment. Short rows, kitchener grafting and (in some cases) bonkers construction test all of us.
To have a service that can guide you through the process seems to be a perfect asset to Wool on The Exe. I won’t ‘do’ the knitting or crochet for a client; I will demonstrate, support and guide. Any instruction needs to be adapted for that person; some learn better with verbal cues others with seeing and doing. Clients have had (self-disclosed) mental and physical health problems as well as neuro-diversity; everyone can learn and achieve a result giving satisfaction and reward. Tears are wiped, tea is made and calmness ensues. All have left with progress made in their project and a smile on their face; to later see the final project modelled with pride at the shop is a fantastic result.