Off The Beaten Track in Aotearoa

Craft Group

Waipawa Crafties meet erratically. Some of us produce consistently. Others (okay, me) not so much. In the two years I’ve gone along I have completed one garment –  a woollen jersey (sweater). I have also started a knitted quilt, worked on a small Christmas themed cross stitch, persevered with a needlepoint cushion cover that’s been at least ten years in the making and counting, thought about an embroidery sampler begun a long time ago and that I would like to finish – one day. And I’ve knitted the back and a sleeve of a jersey for John.

My goals may be lofty and my output limited but I have identified the key criteria for a successful and enduring craft group.

They are:



The sweeter the better. One of our group occasionally worries about the lack of balance in our Afternoon Teas.  On those days  she brings along fresh pineapple. It’s delicious.



This is an essential criterion for membership. The louder the laugh the better. But a quiet chortle has its place and is acceptable.



One of our members can be relied on to bring home baking. Her chocolate chip cookies are to die for.



The healthy kind, the sort that gets your project finished. One of our members (that would be my sister) announced that she has twelve incomplete projects and those are the ones she’s prepared to own up to.  She and I have a challenge on, (her idea). She has to finish all twelve and I have to finish my knitted quilt by the end of next year. I don’t like the odds – the quilt requires 350 hexagons. I’ve completed 42. The green sheep, you can check them out in the slide show below, count as one of her projects. I’m not entirely sure that’s fair.



One of our members knows a very good sweet shop. Their liquorice allsorts and chocolate covered  raspberry jubes are essential fuel for the hard at work crafty type. The best thing about those chocolate covered jubes is that not only are they delicious but any calorie cost is halved due to the effort required when chewing. (I have the photos – I’ll take bribes.)



All groups need an expert. Ours has eighty years of crafting experience. She’s a dab hand at the little tricks of the trade that make all the difference when it comes to finishing. What she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.


Did I mention the food? It’s really very important. One of our members knows a boutique bakery that produces custard squares matched only by the one I ate in Paris in 2004. True! (See the top photo.)

Stories to tell


“If you’re having purl problems I feel bad for your Mom. I have 99 problems but drop stitch ain’t one!”

We do not gossip. Oh, no, no, no – that is not what we are about! We share stories and information and generally keep each other up to date about the happenings in the big wide world of Hawkes Bay.  And it’s okay to talk about amalgamation and the dam. (Two proposed and controversial developments.) We don’t all agree – which is perfectly fine.

Inclusive membership


Yes, those are the booties!

Men are invited. But they only get afternoon tea if they bring their knitting needles and actually knit. One of them, a soon to be a grandfather, has produced two pairs of booties. I didn’t see him in action (I was out of town that weekend). Last Saturday he abandoned his needles for his bike.

And that’s it. The Jill’s Scene guidelines for a laugh-a-minute craft group: Food, Humour, Food, Competition, Food, Expertise, Food, Story telling, and last, but not least, Inclusive Membership.

Look at what the others have produced. (If I want to win that challenge I have to stay focussed on hexagons.)

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What are your criteria for a successful craft group?

26 replies »

  1. well huge smile as I soaked up this crafty experience – and okay, a quiet chortle too – Ha! and oh my goodness – the booties are so cute – and your hexagon project sounds crazy challenging – but invigorating too – so I am looking forward to seeing how you do in the coming year. 🙂

    I sew, but do not knit or crochet – but would like to learn one day eventually – but my step-daughter knits and I just sent her some of the coolest fuzzy yarn (big sale) that I know she will love –
    anyhow, one quick question – what was in the bowl that said competition above it? They look like hacky sacks or mini bean bags?


    • Those, ‘Y’ are my forty-two completed hexagons. I think everyone in our small group would agree with you that crazy challenging is right about my knitting project. I hope I can make the challenge – I tell myself it’s only one a day …
      My brother-in-law knitted the booties. They’re awesome, aren’t they.


  2. Thanks Jill.
    These are great images, its a nice way of story telling that shows what it is all about. I’m not into this kind of activities but liked the sequence of it and it give a complete story. Colors are great too. :).


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