An exciting place I went last year was Morecambe, for Pauline Turner's 30 year celebration of her International Diploma in Crochet. I had wanted to go to visit the beautiful Midland hotel for a long time, so the chance of mixing business with pleasure was too good to miss.
Lunch at the Midland Hotel
Neither the Midland, nor Pauline and her students disappointed. The weekend I spent in Morecambe was fabulous, even down to the wonderfully changeable and dramatic weather and views across the bay - we got double rainbows, bright sunshine and dark, foreboding rain clouds, all of which were spectacular when looking out across the sea.
Pauline herself turned out to be the most wonderful, intriguing, interesting woman, who's life and career have spanned a multitude of different paths, leading eventually to developing the crochet diploma, which has students across the world. I hope that after 30 years or more in the business, I am as knowledgable about crochet as Pauline, what she doesn't know about it would fit on a pin head - and she has even aided in the creation of new crochet disciplines in the past - scrumbling or freeform crochet being one of them. Pauline wore a few of her more spectacular crochet and knit creations throughout the weekend and displayed even more, including her own wedding dress. This woman is prolific, and her talents as a teacher and crocheter shine through her students work. I had the honour of helping Pauline and Helen Jordan of Thread of Life judge the final entries to the competitions that Pauline had set up for the celebrations. The students work was absolutely amazing, from fine thread christening gowns to gorgeous chunky cables and freeform, the variety and skill was amazing to see.
There was students work representing many diverse parts of the world, including as far afield as South Africa and New Zealand. There was a student who had used bent roofing nails to hook their samples as their part of the world does not have the access to hooks and yarns that we take for granted. It really was an education through craft for me and a fabulous celebration of how crochet can bring diverse communities together.
There was one student, called Unagh Macullough, who had completed the whole diploma and was graduating at the event. Her work was so varied and beautiful. She is obviously a very methodical crafter, who makes the most beautiful beaded jewellery as well as fine crochet lacework, but her final projects were gorgeous freeform pieces, which seemed to demonstrate how the diploma explores and introduces techniques and that are new and exciting and often bringing out an unexpected side to the work.
If you are looking to improve your crochet skills, or want to learn how to begin designing your own work or exploring new techniques, definitely go check out Pauline's course - it is a unique and exciting challenge for any crocheter, and I have even considered taking the higher levels myself to make sure I am up to scratch!
Samples of Unagh Macullough's work.
Sample of the range of threads available from The Thread of Life.
A tiny part of Pauline's vast crochet library.