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Plan a party with us!

parties Loughborough

Joy To Make creates fun and creative parties for all ages and abilities.

If you are planning a special event, why not consider Joy To Make to add that certain special something to the mix!

Joy To Make offers a full party service which includes activities from sewing, crochet, knitting to painting and textile art.

If you would like help finding a venue or organising food and refreshments, we can also organise this for you. We know of a number of venues and catering companies throughout the East Midlands area. We can organise something as little as an afternoon tea with some Prosecco or a full hot or cold buffet.

Past parties we have been involved in are: Hen parties, baby showers, and birthdays for both children and adults in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

If you are interested in booking Joy To Make for your party then you can email us through our contact page



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A fun workshop weekend!

Sock fair crochet workshop Joy To Make

What a busy weekend we had with crochet workshops and private sewing tuition.

On Saturday we were teaching how to make a Roman Blind, Sunday we were running a crochet workshop for children at The Sock Gallery in Loughborough, and Monday we were making curtains.


Our Roman Blind workshop was to make one large window measuring  and one small window  . We started off by working out the maths, Roman Blinds are tricky to make, but once you have got all your measurements worked out, it’s really just a case of piecing it together and sewing them up. The maths at the start is the hardest part.


The following day we embarked on our children’s crochet workshop for The Sock Gallery Fair in Loughborough. We managed to teach nearly 100 children aged 4-16 how to finger knit and crochet. For the younger children we taught them how to do basic chain stitches on their fingers and they created some creepy crawlies out of really bright colours of Hooked yarn by DMC. They then were set loose decorating their bugs with pipe cleaners and beads.

Because of the time restriction on how long people would stay, we thought this would be a great idea to quickly show how you can make a basic chain stitch and turn it into something unusual! The kids really enjoyed themselves and were very pleased with what they accomplished!

We also showed the older children how to make their own friendship bracelets using myboshi wool and crochet hooks. These were made using a simple chain stitch, we taught each one how to hold the hook in one hand and thread the yarn through their fingers to create tension in their other hand. It’s amazing how many boys took to crochet and really enjoy making their own bracelets!

We also got to chat to lots of people about learning to crochet themselves so they could teach their children. We were really pleased with the level of interest and we hope to see you all at one of our workshops in the future.

We would like to thank the Sock Fair for the opportunity, we really enjoyed being able to pass on some skills to such a happy bunch of children!

Finally we ordered some branded clothing to wear at our workshops and events. T-shirts and hoodies! Take a look!

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A fun crochet workshop!

myboshi wool

We met once again to make myboshi beanie hats in our crochet workshop.

The group was a mixture of beginners and some who have had a go at crochet before.

It’s a pleasure being able to pass on such an enjoyable skill like crochet, and by the end of the workshop, beanie hats had started to take shape!

The main stitch that is used to make a myboshi beanie is the ‘half treble’, so we mainly focused on showing how to do the stitch, as well as the basic chain stitch which you use to start of the boshi.

One of the most important things we show during the crochet workshop is how to change colours of your beanie which is done at the ‘slip stitch’ stage, more information on this can be found on this link. Myboshi has lots of variety of different colours, it’s an important technique to learn how to do as it can be tricky and leave holes in your beanie if not done right.

Once you have mastered the skill of crochet it is possible to make a beanie in an evening or two, as long as you don’t have distractions!

We hope all that came to the workshop enjoyed themselves as much as we did, and do come back to visit us soon!



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Changing colour on a myboshi beanie hat

changing colour crochet

Changing colour on a myboshi beanie hat

What is also important in making a myboshi beanie is changing colours of the hat, which you do once you come to the end of your ’round’. You introduce the new colour at the ‘slip stitch’ stage, where you insert your hook into the stitch and loop the new yarn onto your hook and back through the stitch,  and the pulling the yarn tight to close up the seam.

changing colour crochet
Slip stitch stage
slip stitch changing colour
Pull new yarn back through the stitch
myboshi colour change
Pull the yarn tight and start new round with the new colour
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Sock Gallery Workshop

sock gallery Loughborough

We are going to be running a crochet workshop at the Sock Fair at Loughborough Town Hall on Sunday 22nd March 2015.

Come along and bring your 4-16 year olds to participate in some creative crochet sessions! Make funky coloured bugs and creatures or fashionable headbands and bracelets. It’s free to join in, so we hope to see you all there! the workshop will fron from 10am – 4pm.

It’ll also be a great opportunity to take a look at all the fantastic arts and crafts on offer from our local artists!


sock gallery Loughborough Town Hall


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Let’s Crochet!

When you have mastered crochet you will find that this versatile pastime is very satisfying.

There are so many things you will be able to create with different yarns and hook sizes from fine lacy shawls to baby layettes and chunky scarves and hats, or cotton tops for the spring.

The great thing about crochet is that it grows so quickly!


Most yarns can be crocheted, some are very fine and lightweight, like the mercerised cottons and silk and wool blends. Any double knit and chunky/aran weights can be used for garments or household accessories.

The colour ranges of yarns are fantastic, really bright and lively to muted and classy looking colours you will always love.


Crochet is enjoying a revival in interest, years ago there were lots of patterns around if you wanted to crochet a table set, but as these aren’t so popular now we need to find more up to date patterns to work on. There are plenty of books out there and online content with some great ideas.

patterns do vary in different countries. US stitches are different to UK ones.


The basic stitches you need to know in crochet are:


Chain Stitch   (Ch)     This is the foundation of crochet work.  Make a loop with the wool and hold it in one hand with the hook in the other hand.  Pass the hook through the stitch and then loop the yarn round the hook then pull it back through the loop, this makes a chain.  Keep doing this until the desired length is required.

Slip Stitch       (ss)       Insert the hook into the stitch to the left of the hook, loop the wool round the hook and draw back through the stitch and the loop on the hook.

Double Crochet  (dc) Insert the hook into the stitch to the left of the hook, catch the wool with the hook and draw through the stitch (2 loops on the hook), put the wool over the hook again and draw it through the 2 loops on the hook leaving 1 loop remaining.

Half Treble Crochet (Htr)      Loop the wool over the hook then insert the hook into the stitch, loop the wool again and pull through the stitch (3 loops on hook), loop the wool again and pull through all 3 loops leaving 1 loop remaining.

Treble Crochet (Htr)  Loop the wool over the hook then insert the hook into the stitch, loop the wool again and pull through the stitch (3 loops on hook), loop the wool again and pull through 2 loops on the hook, loop the wool over again and through other 2 loops leaving 1 loop remaining.

Double Treble (dbl. Tr.)  Loop the wool over the hook twice, insert the hook into the stitch to the left of the hook, loop over the hook and pull through (4 loops on hook), loop the wool again and pull through 2 of the loops on the hook, then loop the wool again and pull through the remaining 2 loops on the hook leaving 1 remaining.

Closed circle   When starting a round item like a beanie hat this is an ideal way to start. Loop the wool around in a circle, insert the hook through the back of the circle and pull a loop through, holding the loop tight Insert double crochets into the ring (as many as needed for the pattern) and the pull the circle tight.  You now have the start of your work.

There are many other stitches but if you start with these you will be able to do most things, please look at the pattern though as I have found variations on the abbreviations and types of stitches, so if you have got to grips with these and you find that on your pattern it is slightly different you will be able to adapt to what they are asking for to make the pattern work.

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Myboshi Crochet Workshop

crochet beanie hat

This week we have been making crochet myboshi beanies

Well we are getting to that stage of waking up again its nearly Spring!  We’ve lots to create in the next few weeks to brighten ourselves and our homes after the long freezing winter.

Everyone that came had either no idea or just limited knowledge of crocheting, so we started with a step by step guide, with the aid of our trusty camera projecting onto a screen showing the process as I demonstrated.  This approach seemed to work really well, and taking our time they learned a few basic stitches to get them started with crocheting.  A bit of practice later and it was time to start the real thing.  Tea and cake came out then, we needed it!


In the MyBoshi books there is a great guide to help you with the stitches, but most of the ladies were fearful as they had no understanding of a crochet pattern, so we showed them how to read the abbreviations as we began to make the beanies, it all becomes clear when you have a hands on approach and follow it logically.

Some picked it up more quickly than others, we used the stitches learnt, and with patience guided them through the process.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it and they all made a good start on their beanies.  We were delighted to get a picture of a finished beanie a couple of days later, well done to all the ladies we hope they enjoyed it, we did.  So come back soon! Next workshop on 2nd March! Click here for booking.

So what’s happening over the next few weeks.. 

March is pretty busy with Easter craft workshops, both at Bridge Street and at Lubcloud Farm, these will be great fun so book soon.  There is also stuff for the kids at a drop in workshop we are doing for Loughborough Sock Gallery, ‘Lets make bugs’ for the younger ones and ‘funky crochet’ for the teens.  There is also the Cozy Crochet club, alternate Mondays, and Sewing BEE on alternate Thursdays.  Dressmaking is the thing for Spring.

We also help people with their own special projects, like making curtains, or dressmaking.

So there is lots to do and we would love to hear from you if you need any help or would like to join in any of our groups and workshops.

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Tips for using your sewing machine

Here I will explain some of the key features common to most types of machine.

If you are thinking of buying a sewing machine, or you have been given one, it can be a little daunting if you haven’t used one before, or not used it very much.


  • Threading the sewing machine is relatively easy, and most sewing machines are similar. There are usually marks on the machine that will help you to thread it up successfully. Winding the shuttle up is also fairly simple if you follow the ‘guides’.  The shuttle is located either underneath the footplate or just in front of it.  If it is at the front it will have a fixed shuttle case and the shuttle will slide easily into it.  If the shuttle case is located underneath, you will be able to pull out the whole shuttle case, pop in the shuttle, wind the cotton around and pop it back in again.


  • One of the main problems when the sewing machine will not ‘go’ properly, is that the stitch might be too loose, rattles, or stops totally, it is usually because the machine threading has jumped out of place, so trace it back and check that its all ok. Then check that the thread on the bobbin is not trapped, and if so free this off. The other problem may be the shuttle: undo the casing and check that this is free as well and if it is snarled up, take the shuttle out, check there is cotton in there, and reinsert it- this should solve the problem.  If it doesn’t then just check the housing of the shuttle in case it is dusty and may just need cleaning out.  Also check the tension, sometimes this is a bit out and may need adjusting


  • With more modern sewing machines there should be a range of ‘feet’ with the sewing machine. These are designed to help you with some more trickier tasks, like button holes, zips or edges. Look at your instruction manual, it should tell you how to use the feet, so practice these as they will help you to get a more professional look to your work.

sewing machine feet


  • There should be a ‘reverse’ lever: use this to finish off ends of seams so that they won’t come undone easily.

sewing machine reverse lever


  • At the back or side of the needle housing, there should be a lever that lifts the ‘foot’ up and down. By lifting the foot you will get the fabric underneath and in the correct position to sew. You will also use the lever to change the feet.

Sewing a gingerbread man


  • When beginning to sew start slowly, there is no rush, use the hand wheel to help you place the needle and practice on a spare piece of cloth. If you are doing corners you may need to snip the fabric a couple of times to allow it to ease a bit.

sewing machine hand lever


  • Use the guides on the plate underneath the ‘foot’. There are measurements which are useful, like 5/8” is the usual seam allowance on most patterns, this is indicated so you can follow the edge as you sew. These guides are handy to help you sew in a straight line.

sewing machine guide feet


  • Some machines have a little needle threader, these are quick to use and great if your eye sight is poor. Use the hand wheel to bring the needle up as far as it can go. Bring down the needle threader as far as possible then locate it close to the back of  the needle.  Hold the cotton and hook it around the left hand side of the threader then across under the little locator hook (which should be through the eye of the needle), then release the threader which should pull a loop through the eye.


  • There should also be a knob that enables you to change the ‘stitch’ and a guide as to the letter to use to create that stitch. If you lift the ‘foot’ up (using the lever located at the back or side or the foot housing and make sure your needle is in the ‘up’ position then you should be able to turn the knob and change the stitch easily.


  • Some models of machine also have knobs that will enable you to change the width and length of the stitch, this allows more creativity and only playing with it, or checking with your book for trickier tasks, like button holes will you begin to understand how to use it.

sewing machine stitch size settings


  • If you are sewing stretchy fabrics use a small zigzag stitch, this allows a little ‘give’ in the seams.


  • When inserting zips use the zipper foot, this will give you a seam which is closer to the zip.


  • Choice of needle is important as well, use a finer needle for finer cloth and a bigger needle for a heavier weight.


  • Take care of your sewing machine, keep it clean, and give it a drop of oil now and again, it will work a lot better if you do 🙂



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Happy New Year!

 Happy New YEAR!!!


My resolution is to do more of the things I like doing and feel relaxed about and less of the irritating and time consuming things that are too stressful.  So sewing, knitting, crochet it is.

Christmas at our house is hectic, all the family turn up and we end up being a bit frazzled, but happy to see everyone.  Just prior to this I saw my little 8 year old niece, I taught her to crochet a couple of months previously, she was happy making friendship bracelets and hair braids.  A lady told her that her mum taught her to crochet but she didn’t carry on with it, so my niece was very proud  to tell me that she had managed to teach the lady to crochet as well… well done Tabby! We will make beanie hats for Barbie next!

Over the Christmas break I have had time to finish off a load of stuff that has been building up which is amazing for me,  so I have knitted two ‘Tigers’ (rugby) beanies, finished off a cosy little cardigan for our two year old , made a ‘Frozen’ dress and started a ‘Peppa’ jumper for the 18 month old.  All I have to do now is finish off designing a new range of children’s play things….its all in my head so I have to write it down quickly…. And another couple of crocheted beanies that have been requested along the way, oh… and recover a vintage child’s cot.  Then I can turn my attention back to planning and preparing more creative stuff for the new year!

For the beanies, I downloaded some patterns before Xmas, and have used the best of two designs to create my ideal one.  The first one is a bit bigger and my daughter prefers this style as it drops down a bit at the back, the second is a more classic fit.  I used three colours DK  dark green, white and red  to create the stripy effect.  I have two more that I will crochet for the surfers in the family I have found a wicked pattern with waves they will love it.


tigers beanie hat
‘Tigers’ Beanie hat

The cardi, was knitted using Sirdar Crofter baby Fair Isle effect DK,   a lovely yarn it gives a pretty effect, the knitting pattern is from Sirdar’s The Essential Baby Book, design C.  I like this book, the patterns seem to work well so I have done most of them at some time or another. The cardi  is finished off with a lazy daisy stitch and lots of red buttons (all different) … very cute.

toddler knitted cardigan
toddler knitted cardigan

Now the ‘Frozen’ dress, this is the fourth I have made, all have been differing styles, but this one I wanted it to ‘grow’ with the child, so it has drop sleeves, and ribbons on the shoulders which as she grows can be retied to fit, and I have left the length to the ankle as well for more growing room.  It looks very princessy …. Lovely.

frozen dress

Frozen Princess Dress

Working on the cot next, I had to buy a new staple gun before Xmas, I have mislaid my old one.. where I do not know probably left it somewhere… anyway, I have this lovely pink satin to replace what was originally pink silk with a 60’s black and white plastic, sounds weird, but so 60’s and stylish. I have carefully taken off the silk but I am going to retain the plastic because it is vintage and recover the base and the buttoned headboard in the satin.  The bottom has proper webbing and is tacked on, so I will just make sure this is ok and then it will be perfect for a little dolly to sleep in eventually.

OK so now working on the children’s range of toys.. I cut out templates last night and started sewing them together, but I am not really happy with the fabric I am supposed to be using, it will be ok for a sample but not sturdy enough for the ‘real’ thing, so I need to look for alternatives.  More to come on this so I will let you know about progress.

So a great start to the New Year, I wonder what the rest of the year will hold, I am bursting with ideas, so try and keep up!






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Christmas Sewing Workshops

Sewing Christmas decorations

Our Christmas Sewing Workshops have now finished, we had so much fun making new friends and fun decorations, we’re definitely looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

Here’s a glimpse of what got made over the three workshops:


Bunting seemed to be the most popular so we have decided to run a bunting workshop in the new year!

Our Ginger Bread Christmas decorations were well received also, these were made out of scraps of old orange coloured material.

Once again we were all pleased with everybody’s enthusiasm and different styles of creativity. Our workshops are all about exploring your own abilities and styles, not just us telling you what to make!

We would like to thank all those that came and we hope to see you again some time in the future or at another workshop!