How to Create a Modern Crafting Bee

by Lisa on August 26, 2013

beading bracelets

I haven’t read the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie books in decades, but a happy memory that lives on is the image of women crafting, their hands busy with making things both beautiful and useful. The women are seated around a table, enjoying a break from regular routines as they engage in easy conversation and sip tea from pretty cups. Now, I have no idea if this is an actual scene in one of Wilder’s books (probably not!), but a desire to experience that sense of togetherness and purpose amongst makers has inspired me to host the occasional crafting bee in my home.

My “Party on a Wrist” bracelet has been such a conversation starter, and so many have expressed an interest in making their own, that I decided to host a how-to gathering, visions of a modern-day Little House on the Prairie in my mind.

1. Email invites were sent out with a caution to RSVP quickly, as seating would be limited. Final number of crafters reflected 20% last-minute cancellations.

Lisa Allen Lambert Spiny Knotted Bracelet demo2. It’s been four years (eek!) since I made my first Spiny Knotted Bracelet, so a little practice of Stephanie Sersich‘s technique was in order. Her book‘s step-by-step illustrations are user-friendly and before I knew it, I was stringing and knotting with ease.

3. Set out the tea cups and light snacks and let the fun begin.

spiny knotted bracelet how-toLynn measures for her button closure placement.

web_jaine nears finish signed DSCN0625.jpg

An infusion of chocolate was necessary mid-afternoon.

web_bonita finishes up signed DSCN0627.jpg

Bonita knots her way to the finish.web_kathleen nears finish signed DSCN0623.jpg

A symphony of metallics with black.

web_Johannas bracelet DSCN0629.jpgMy sister was the first to finish, her wrist rejoicing in chunky aqua tones.

circle of finished Party on a Wrist bracelets

Woo-hoo! Everyone completed their Party on a Wrist bracelet! Aren’t they beautiful?!

The crafting bee was everything I hoped for. We laughed, we shared stories, we admired each other’s beads and bracelets. Some confronted a desire for perfection, whatever that might look like, and found a new way to think about pattern, balance and visual texture. There was no calico in sight — we’re a modern bunch — but I like to imagine that the extra tea cup was for Laura Ingalls Wilder, our spectral crafter.

p.s. If you’re teaching a new technique to your crafting friends, don’t count on finishing your own project. That will have to wait until later.

{ 6 comments }

marylou August 27, 2013 at 9:49 am

This looks like a great idea. I have a bracelet a friend made me years ago that is on elastic and the elastic is shot. I need to figure out how to fix it, and maybe I’ll have a party at the same time!

Lisa August 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

Sounds like a plan, MaryLou! Of course, I love any excuse for a gathering!

Fran Mues August 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

Wonderful guidelines and photos, Lisa! I’ll have to do a crafting bee this fall. I don’t have the pretty teacups, though. My crafters will have to do with plain cups and mugs. Hmmmm, what to craft, what to craft …

Lisa August 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

Thank you, Fran! I’m sure you’ll come up with something fun for a crafting bee!

Lynne August 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

You were the perfect Hostess, Lisa, as always. What a pleasure to create together, and yet still be autonomous. I’ve been reading Brene` Brown’s Daring Greatly, and focusing on the power of connection and “showing up” in my own life. Busyness, acclaim, and success don’t approximate connection. Nothing does. Thanks for creating the space for that, as well.

Lisa August 27, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thank you, Lynne. And your watermelon, chevre and basil salad was a terrific success! Thank you, thank you! Hope you’re wearing your bracelet and feelin’ fancy!

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