By Anneleen Lindsay
Over the past few years, crafting has come out of the closet and become a lot more sociable. The resurgence and popularity of craft fairs and artisan shops demonstrates people’s desire to buy hand-made goods, but it has also inspired many people to have a go at traditional crafts themselves – often putting their own spin on projects to design something a bit more 21st century. Crafters are yarn-bombing monuments, cross-stitching campaign banners and making subversive and humourous statements through their creations. But for many, the quieter revolution forming around craft is the chance to be creative in a community.
Many have spent years getting on with their projects in their own time, in their own homes, but craft has a history of communal collaboration.
Granny Green’s Big Night Out is an Edinburgh-based open craft community that has been meeting every Monday since late summer 2010. Every week, numerous crafters of different persuasions (cross-stitchers, knitters, crochet queens (and kings) and jewellery-makers amongst others) gather for chat, mutual learning and an opportunity to craft in the company of like-minded people who are similarly up for broadening their creative horizons.
Over the last 18 months, the group has met in a few different cafes and eateries around the capital, but has now found a new home at the Red Squirrel pub on Lothian Road. Anyone is very welcome to come along, and there tends to be a different mix of people each week. There are regulars who have been coming along from the beginning, but there also tend to be new faces most weeks. Some people are total beginners to the world of craft; others are professionals who sell their work. Most people are interested in trying out new crafts that they have never tried (or quite mastered!), before and there are always friendly folks there with skills and advice to share.
Every week there is a drop-in vibe, with people bringing in whatever project they are currently working on, but a couple of times a month the programme is more focussed, with introductory, led but informal workshops on different crafty disciplines. This year there have already been workshops in crochet, cross-stitch and patchwork. There is also a bi-monthly book group that meets as part of Granny Greens, with books lent by the Edinburgh Libraries book group scheme.
Occasionally there is a small fee to take part in workshops, but there is no charge to come along to Granny Greens – though you may want to bring some cash to sample the Red Squirrel’s delicious food menu (and extensive ale selection!).
You can get in touch with the Granny Green’s organisers as follows:-
See grannygreens.co.uk for weekly updates and information on workshops and the termly programme.
Granny Green’s Big Night Out meets every Monday at the Red Squirrel between 6pm and 8pm. Free.