I believe that I can genuinely claim to be an 'expert' crafter because, as you will read below, crafting has been a hobby, a job and a passion for most of my life.
My earliest crafting memory is of my mum teaching me to knit when I was just 5 years old - I was hooked!
My first love is sewing - the first thing I remember making was a lime green cotton skirt when I was 11 years old. Unfortunately I wasn't told to secure the seam ends and so when it was washed for the first time, it started to come a apart. Nobody ever became an 'expert' without making a few mistakes along the way!!
My parents had a handicraft shop and my natural crafting talents were put to good use making caneware (trays, plant pot holders etc), mosaic tables, lamp bases (from empty wine bottles) and raffia lampshades. It always amazed me that customers were willing to pay for my efforts!
At 16 years old I studied soft furnishings and upholstery at night school. At 18 years old I went to college to study fashion and learned dressmaking, tailoring, millinery, pattern cutting, designing ... and lots of patience!!
When my children came along I became an avid knitter - I particularly remember being very proud of a jumper I had knitted with a very intricate willow pattern on the front.
I took up card making in the late 1990s when the craft was in it's infancy and there was nothing much more than peel-offs and coloured paper. Since then I have developed quite a reputation as an expert card maker and have given many demonstrations in stores across the country.
In 1995 I went back to college and obtained a Degree in Education. I have subsequently taught Adult Education in dressmaking, soft furnishings, embroidery, card making and jewellery making.
Since 2001 I have been a consultant for Habico, a leading wholesaler of crafting products. I help them with product evaluation, sales staff training and demonstrations at trade shows and exhibitions.
My first TV appearance was on QVC in 2002 when I demonstrated embroidery & tapestry. More recently I have appeared on Create & Craft TV and Hochanda demonstrating knitting, needle felting, haberdashery and tapestry.
In 2012 I became UK Ambassador for Prym, a leading global supplier of creative sewing products, needlework and fashion accessories. On Prym's behalf I have demonstrated their products in the John Lewis Oxford Street store, on TV Craft Channels such as Create & Craft and Hochanda and at several trade shows and exhibitions.
I love sharing my passion for crafting with other people and giving help and advice for resolving crafting related problems. Please don't hesitate to contact me should you require any help, assistance or guidance.
About Cottontail Crafts - the 'Real' Shop (since 1956!)
You can have confidence when you make a purchase from Cottontail Crafts that you are buying from a long established 'real' shop in a 'real' town centre, in a 'real' market town. We are definitely not a newcomer operating from an anonymous warehouse on a bleak industrial estate.
Cottontail Crafts is located in Settle, a lovely market town in the glorious Yorkshire Dales where I have lived all my life. The shop has been owned by my family for over 60 years. In the early days my parents sold wallpaper and paint in support of their decorating business. Over the years they diversified into gifts and then into haberdashery & wool. I took over the shop in 1982. The shop was known as 'Settle Sewing Centre' until I changed it's name to 'Cottontail Crafts' in 2010.
Over the years, I have continually added new product ranges to reflect the ever changing trends in crafting. In addition to the range of haberdashery products and knitting wool the shop now sells a wide range of leading brand products for sewing, needle felting, needlecrafts and much more – it is truly " a paradise for crafters ".
About Cottontail Crafts - the 'Internet' Shop (since 2010!)
Our Internet shop was opened for business in 2010. My husband, Steve, designed the site and continues to update and maintain it - a full time job! I have always loved serving customers face-to-face and was determined to try and re-create that special intimacy with our online shop. That's why I am always happy for customers to contact me, either by 'phone or email. It make my day if I can help resolve a crafting problem or source an unusual product for a customer.
Owner of Cottontail Crafts