Meet our teachers: Elisalex de Castro Peake, dressmaking and crochet
I’m so proud of the quality of instructors we have lined up to teach our classes at The Village Haberdashery! Many of them are a little bit famous in certain circles, but since they may be new to you I thought I’d make introductions in a little series called Meet our teachers.
Many readers of this blog will know Elisalex de Castro Peake as co-founder and head of design for the fabulous local indie pattern company By Hand London. But youmight not know her crafty talents extend to crochet too! Elisalex, who learned to crochet at age seven and is also an avid knitter, swears by the meditative quality of handcrafts to wind down after a long day. She teaches our monthly Crochet Workshops and her next class, Introduction to Crochet, takes place this Thursday from 6:30 – 9:30pm.
The Village Haberdashery: Tell us about your company, By Hand London!
Elisalex de Castro Peake: By Hand London is an independent sewing pattern label for women who love to dress up, stand out and customise their own wardrobe. The designs themselves are an up-to-date take on classic silhouettes and so act as a canvas for your unique look. Creating patterns inspired by and named after the stylish ladies we know and admire, By Hand London is all about championing individual style and celebrating strong femininity.
TVH: A large part of your job is making, yet you believe in unwinding after a long day by…making! Do you find that you enjoy knitting and crochet in a different way than sewing?
ECP: I definitely feel like since I properly got into making almost 10 years ago – whether it be sewing, crochet, knitting, even household diy – I have had a hard time doing nothing! I just can’t quite flop on the sofa with a movie and that’s it, my hands need to be occupied too. Since we launched By Hand London, and sewing officially became my day job, my spare evenings are usually spent with needles and yarn (or sewing up something entirely extracurricular). At the end of a full on days work, I really appreciate the gently rhythmical quality of knitting or crochet, and that combined with a good movie, a roaring fire and hot chocolate (with a sneaky splash of whisky of course) is my idea of heaven.
TVH: Your mum taught you to crochet at age seven and you haven’t stopped since! What are your favourite things to crochet and what are you working on now?
ECP: When it comes to crochet, my favourite things to make are usually household items. Blankets and cushion covers, shopping totes and baskets, little decorative accents, that sorta thing. I find that the denser stitches that crochet produces lend themselves better to ‘things’ as opposed to garments, which I usually prefer to knit. Right now I’m working on what will be a gigantic double bed granny square spread (with 432 granny squares in total!), a pair of slippers for the next crochet workshop and various Christmassy decorations, as well as planning a lace swing vest for next Summer…
ECP: In the Introduction to Crochet students will learn all the basics: foundation stitches, working rows as well as in the round, changing colours, and finishing up by crocheting up a few granny squares. During the workshops we’ll be building on your skills, and each week going through a new, quick and easy project. The workshops are the perfect time to come by and get some help or advice on whatever you’re working on, get some renewed inspiration or start something entirely new.