I have to admit that I have always had to fight to do what I wanted to do. With 7 ‘O’ levels and 3 ‘A’ levels, the last thing my father wanted me to do was to go to PE College; he doubted that it was a good career choice. (‘What happens after a handful of years when you get too old to run about!) If I was honest, I probably saw it as the easiest and most enjoyable option. So when I announced to my parents that I was going to apply to join the British Volunteer Programme, they were very much against it. My father reasoned that if I was patient for a couple of years, I would gain experience and then I could travel AND get paid for teaching. But this girl wasn’t for turning and, after a rigorous weekend of interviews, I was accepted for VSO and I awaited my posting on finishing college.
MY QUILTING JOURNEY
At this point in my quilting journey, it’s worth reflecting on how I came to quilting in the first place. Whilst in Dorset I enjoyed being at home and looking after our young family. I was no career woman and there were certainly no thoughts of being brain dead or unfulfilled. Come the day though when I had to check with my husband whether there was enough money in our joint account to buy him his birthday present! In other words he was buying his own present and I had nothing to contribute. I needed to earn some pin money but how?
I decided to pick up my crochet hooks again and started to make fashionable shawls that were popular at that time. I used all types of yarns, and colours and made different shapes and sold them, with little profit it has to be said, amongst friends and at local craft shops. At one craft shop, the owner constantly and laboriously knotted her way through the process of making macramé lampshades. She complained that they took too long and, as an aside, challenged me to crochet them! I took up the challenge, experimented with materials, and in the flash of a crochet hook ‘Shades of Dorset’ was born!
Initially I bound each metal frame with tape, a time-consuming process that slowed production, but once I discovered plastic coated frames, I was into mass production! I started to experiment with yarns and eventually stumbled onto dishcloth cotton. This gave a chunky effect if I worked 2 balls at a time, and, oh joy, it was washable! (Having never considered the problem myself, I was amazed at how many potential customers fretted about whether the lampshades would get dusty!) A variety of patterns soon followed and I was ready to go out and sell and that was the worst part of the process for me.
Hi I'm Dilys Fronks!