Rachel Plachcinski writes: The answer to the first question is simple – I firmly believe that the different strands of NCT don’t get together often enough in order to appreciate and celebrate what we all do to support parents and one another.
We haven’t had Babble Live this year, and that’s the main occasion for volunteers, practitioners and staff to get together. I’m one of the team who support Yvonne, our Events Manager, to put on this conference and, to be honest, when we first found out that it wasn’t running in 2017 I heaved a sigh of relief as it was one thing I could cross off my To Do list. But then, when it came round to the AGM in November, I was all “oh yes, of course I’m coming, I want to see everyone!”
I was in the Euston office the following week when there was a quick staff debrief on events at the AGM, and I found myself saying “we need more opportunities for the different strands of NCT to come together.” This was duly noted by Nick Wilkie, our CEO, and I wandered back to my desk to have another go at reducing my To Do list to manageable proportions. But my brain wasn’t letting go of ‘strands’, which it then transformed into ‘strands of yarn’, added in Bronwen’s comment at the AGM about green and purple being suffragette colours, and then shouted TA DAAAH! Time for an NCT knit and crochet project!
Was I being a bit bonkers? It’s not entirely unknown for my bright ideas to wither in the harsh light of day, so I emailed a few colleagues and practitioners for their thoughts. They all said YES!!! and started to knock my basic idea into shape. Fleur Parker added in the notion of craftivism and Karen Hall came up with the title – Knitting NCT Together. Val Willcox and Anne Kent-Taylor bravely volunteered to learn to crochet (and be filmed doing so). Knitting NCT Together is still very much a work in progress, with us all adding bits as we go along, so do keep checking this blog for more news.
Lovely idea – but I don’t know how to knit or crochet…
Believe me, I am not a crafty person. I’ve no particular skill when it comes to drawing and painting, or any of the other hands on activities we were introduced to at school.
I come from a family of knitters, with my Nanna and two aunties clacking away on their needles throughout my childhood, and knitting was also taught in school. But despite loving knitted items I never felt that love for the actual craft – too fiddly, what with two needles, the faff of dropped stitches and the exasperations of tension.
My mother preferred sewing to knitting and laboured over her machine creating outfits for myself and my sister, until we rebelled and insisted on shop bought items as we moved into our teens. I do possess a sewing machine and a fabric stash, due to a few gloriously tactile years spent working at the fabulous Fabworks Mill Shop. However, actually getting round to bringing machine and fabric together rarely happens due to the need to clear space in my cluttered home. Plus, I have to admit, there’s still an element of rebelling against things Mum wanted me to be interested in!
Basically, for most of my life I’d rather be outside (preferably with a horse) or inside reading a book.
However, in the year of my 40th birthday I went on a short holiday to the US to meet a group of online friends who love reading (and writing). It turned out that many of them also loved knitting and crochet and would work away with yarn as we sat around chatting. I was intrigued enough that one of them gave me a crochet hook and a ball of yarn and talked me through the basics.
I came home with a rather lumpy scarf (above) and a newfound appreciation for hands-on hobbies, particularly those where there’s just one hook, a ball of yarn and no worries about dropped stitches. I then came across a book called The Happy Hooker which gives brilliantly clear explanations and patterns, and I was well and truly hooked (pun intended). My yarn stash has been growing steadily ever since, along with my collection of scarves (a much more accomplished example is below) and the baby blankets I’ve made for a few friends.
Bearing my experience in mind, we’re hoping to get together a network of more experienced crocheters and knitters who will run face-to-face demos, either at existing events or through organising #NCTyarns get togethers. That way, those of you who are new starters or not very confident can get instant answers to your queries. Plus, we’re making 10cm squares and they really don’t take very long.
If you’d like to be one of those organisers simply let us know at email@example.com. It shouldn’t involve any major outlay on your part – many squares can be made from just one ball of yarn, and the dk acrylics we’re using usually cost around £2 per ball. Encourage people coming along to buy or borrow crochet hooks or knitting needles. Metal hooks and needles are quite cheap from yarn shops, and you can sometimes find them at charity shops (ask staff, they are often kept by the counter).
We plan to publish the dates and times of any #NCTyarns events and gatherings on this blog.