Shakespeare Diva: Sew and Sew

PUBLISHED: 15:31 17 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:19 20 February 2013

Shakespeare Diva: Sew and Sew

Shakespeare Diva: Sew and Sew

Alycia Smith-Howard blames the feminist movement for stifling her crafting tendancies.

Catching all passions in her craft... Shakespeare, A Lovers Complaint



Without a doubt, inspiration often comes from the most unusual sources. In preparation for a late autumn getaway, my Darling English Boy and I visited Broad Lane Leisure, near Coughton Court, for bit of cabling to connect our awning to our camper van railing. The cabling unit we needed was unavailable, but Broad Lane had all the materials needed to create one.


Possessing the heart of a would-be-crafter, and hoping to save the day, I offered to stitch the strips together by hand. Upon returning home, reality struck: it would take me ages to complete this task by hand. The DEB suggested I contact one my WI chums, and make use of their sewing prowess - and a sewing machine.


A great suggestion, but one that left me troubled. I could be a Sewing Goddess too, if I had the right kit. Then, I thought to myself, why dont I have the right kit? I blame the feminist movement of the late 1980s. In those days, one kept ones crafting tendencies quietly to oneself.


Even before my university days, I recall being teased for attending a girls prep school where classes on Home Economics and Home Management were compulsory, and taken as seriously as Latin or Physics. And now, it seems the whole world is hooked on Bake, Make and Re-make! Everyones clambering to be crafty - including me.


My quest led me to the Leamington Spa Sewing Centre. There, inside a jolly, princess-pink storefront, I met Sue Smith, who introducing me to wonders of the modern sewing machine. Youll be amazed, she said, at how liberated you will be using a machine. I felt like a cave dweller, knuckles firmly dragging the ground, being encouraged to come forth into the light.


Equipped with my new JANOME 2200 XT an utterly gorgeous girl-gadget the awning cable was ridiculously easy to do, and only took the better part of 10 minutes. With this magical machine before me, I felt like Hermione Granger with her infinite bag of tricks, what could I not achieve with this machine?


Following this success, I felt I could truly count myself amongst the ranks of artisans in my very crafty village. Two of Barfords crafting queens are hosting a Christmas Crafts Fair at Barford Memorial Hall on 10 December (10am-4pm). The show will feature crafts from all over Warwickshire (jewelry, artwork, clothing, accessories, &etc), including one of my favourite purveyors: Solmate Socks.


The colourful, multi-patterned and delightfully mismatched Solmate Socks are hand-knitted in Vermont of yarns made from recycled cotton, and they are simply adorable! Barford-based Sally Hallowell-Carew is the principal representative and vendor of Solmate Socks in the UK. Who knows, now that I have the proper tools, I may very well contribute to next years craft fair myself. Ill just need the right inspiration.



For more information, visit Leamington Spa Sewing Machines, Leamington Sewing Centre, 21 Oxford Street, Leamington Spa. Tel: 01926-427572


Opening Hours: Mon to Sat 10:00am-5:00pm

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