15 years and counting for Newbury Crafters
Despite Storm Eunice's best efforts otherwise, on Saturday, Newbury Crafters marked their 15th birthday in the way they have for some time - with the mayor and his attendant welcomed at the meeting to share in the celebration.
Members exchanged crafted gifts and celebrated with tea and the traditional birthday cake. Crafter Sue Davies said: "We didn't have a workshop but used the afternoon to socialise and carry on with our own crafts and works in progress. There were a variety of crafts going on, including quilting, knitting, painting bird boxes, embroidery and bargello work (a type of tapestry work on canvas).
"We had a birthday cake with candles, a cream tea, cheese scones, all made by our members, and put out a display of work for the mayor to look at.
"We also gave each other handmade gifts; the mayor Billy Drummond received a hand-painted bird box, and Mr Campbell (his attendant) received a scarf made by Chris Freemantle, who is in her 90s and a highly accomplished knitter, as well as excelling at other crafts.
Newbury Crafters was set up in February 2007 by Linda and Albert Moss. Linda, who is still a member of the group is Austrian by birth and Albert a Londoner. Albert was stationed in Austria, in the area that Linda is from, when he did his national service. However, they met in Newbury after Linda came to England at 18, and it was this connection of Albert being stationed in Linda’s town that first brought them together. Albert used to cycle from Newbury to Great Shefford to see Linda, during their courtship, and daughter Christine came along a year after they married.
Linda’s mother and grandmother made good use of everything they had as resources were scarce after the war. They knitted garments and Linda recalls getting knitted slippers from her grandmother at Christmas. Her mother also spun fleece.
Linda followed in their footsteps and started knitting at a young age. She has always been motivated to try new crafts and has inspired many others to try them.
Linda has run many courses, including courses teaching people to spin. Albert and Linda kept their own sheep and she spun their fleece. She also kept angora rabbits - she can spin any type of fibre, including camel, alpaca, dog and cat fur, silk, cotton and many others. She has also used plant materials for natural dyeing, including onion skins, rhubarb and nettles.
The Mosses regularly attended the meetings of the Kennet Valley Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, which meets on the first Saturday of every month, for many years Linda demonstrating at various local shows, including the Newbury show and at the Racecourse as part of the KVGWSD as well as Newbury Crafters.
In February 2007 Linda and Albert formed a smaller group for craft enthusiasts, which meets every third Saturday of the month at Speen Hall. Sometimes the meetings are just social, providing an opportunity to chat, eat cake, drink tea/coffee and pursue individual craft projects. However on other occasions, Linda would run a workshop to show us a new skill/craft such as encaustic art (using wax and a domestic iron to create picture images), servietten technique (using serviettes to decorate objects such as candles, mugs, vases etc), felting (wet felting and needle felting), crochet, knitting, using a sewing machine to make a reversible bag, dyeing silk scarves in the microwave, and many more. Linda and Albert provided all the materials for the workshop, charging only a small amount to cover the cost of materials.
During the meetings Albert would always make tea/coffee; he worked for Tetley’s tea for some time and made a very good brew. He also enjoyed taking photographs of the members enjoying their crafts.
Sadly, Albert died a few years ago and is greatly missed. Linda continues to attend the meetings; her daughter Christine also comes along. Linda is now in her 80s and has handed over the reins to other members who try to ensure that Newbury Crafters continues in the same way, and people are able to continue to enjoy the social aspect and pleasure of sharing crafting with like-minded individuals.
Every February the group celebrate the birthday of Newbury Crafters. Unfortunately Linda and her daughter were unable to attend the party as they had to deal with storm damage at Linda's home.
Newbury Crafters continue to meet at Speen Hall at 2pm on the third Saturday of every month. Anyone interested in going along should email Sue.Davies@gmx.co.uk for further information. Alternatively just go on the day (subject to compliance with any COVID restrictions including vaccination and negative lateral flow tests).