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What's the big deal with these old sewing machines anyway?

You may have noticed I have a slight obsession with vintage sewing machines. The old metal ones. You know, the one your nan/mum/great auntie used to have. Funnily enough, although I hear that from pretty much everyone I talk to about my machines I never hear “my grandfather used to have one of those.” That's because sewing machines have traditionally been seen as a woman’s thing and therefore they aren't valued in society as much as a classic car is, for example. I firmly believe that sewing machines are a part of the story of women in recent history and are therefore important. Sewing machines changed the world. The invention of domestic sewing machines meant women, who were expected to...

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Are we losing traditional skills?

Do you know how to sew? How to fix a fuse? The basic chemistry involved in cooking?  Odds are the answer is no. So few of us do anymore. Basic life skills that were once considered the cornerstone of education are no longer part of curriculum, and with so much else to worry about these days, few of us have the opportunity to learn these traditional skills on our own time. In fact, recent reports suggest that a scary number of traditional skills are rapidly dying out. Unsurprisingly, most have been replaced by technology. Some are just seen as irrelevant in the modern age.  Sadly, the fact that skills such as textiles, cooking, and woodwork have been gradually phased out of...

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Creativity and mental health

Most people take up crafting as a simple hobby, something to occupy their free time. A few will take up a craft because it's relaxing. Everyone has their own reasons for taking up a new hobby. But few of us begin crafting with the intention of addressing mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, and yet, as you may have discovered already, that’s one of the biggest benefits of giving yourself the opportunity to be creative. The research world is catching on, and now there’s plenty of evidence showing the amazing outcomes people have experienced as a result of crafting. Recent studies have looked at a whole range of issues and the positive impact that hobbies such as knitting,...

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How creativity has boomed in lockdown

To say it’s been a weird year would be a bit of understatement. So many of us have experienced more than our share of anxiety since the world went into lockdown in March. And we’ve all been grappling with the reality of the ‘new normal’ ever since (sorry, we hate that phrase, but there’s not really a much better substitute!) Uncertainty about jobs and health, and restricted access to friends and family has understandably been tough on a lot of people. Plus around 9 million people have found themselves unable to work at some point during all this, quite possibly for the first time in their careers.It’s no wonder, then, that so many people have been dipping their toes into...

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