I started crafting early on. I remember my mom (who was an expert sewer) showing me and my two sisters how to sew the whipstitch to make felt animal toys when I was seven or eight. She passed away when I was ten so I really didn’t get the chance to learn much more from her. When I was fifteen I was straightening my mom’s sewing room and came across an old Bernat How to Knit booklet. The next day I found a shoebox that had a pair of green plastic knitting needles. I thought I’ll give it a go and see if I can learn to knit. I pored over the book for a long time and thought I was making some slow progress. Looking back on it now, I realize that the tools and materials I chose to practice with really held me back. Namely, the plastic needles and the thick acrylic yarn that was way too large for the size 4 or 5 needles I was using. I wonder what I would have done if Youtube was around then! In the end, I made a 4″ swatch of stockinette stitch and I held it up with my very sore hands to my family members. They thought it was awesome. Easily impressed or very
supportive? Probably the latter.
I started browsing the internet for some knitting tutorials and came across a Yahoo! group (remember those?) specifically for those who crochet. Crochet? What’s that? Is that the hook thing in the box of knitting needles? Maybe I should try it out! I gave crochet a go and with the help from the ladies on the group I learned crochet twice as fast as knitting and was moving on to complicated patterns in no time. It is funny to look back on that time now because the only projects I was doing were doilies. So I was using fine crochet thread and small tiny hooks. Not the best choice for a beginner but I was just so fascinated by the doilies the other members were making and sharing.
I was homeschooled when growing up and one year my stepmom gave us kids a choice for an elective class. I chose sewing. This was my chance to finally figure out how to use my mom’s sewing machine that was sitting idly for years! So that school year, sewing text books in hand, I swept through the sewing machine instructions and sailed off into making numerous useful things. I was smitten with sewing. Especially garment sewing. I am over six feet tall so the idea of making clothes for myself that would reach my wrists, hip, and ankles sounded very, very tempting. I started sewing baby clothes for practice and I began to sell what I made in the little craftroom/gift shop that is attached to my family’s farm market. I also began making baby clothes for friends. This was around 2009.
Sewing clothes for myself and sisters came next, and so did a crafting blog. I love to blog and talk about what I made or am working on. I named the blog St. Gemma’s Art and Needlework (after a saint who was noted as an expert embroiderer) which I later renamed Art and Needlework by Rebekah a few years later. I also bought a serger (also known as an overlock machine which cleanly cuts and finishes off edges of fabric), around this time which led me to begin selling my handmade goods in my Etsy shop. I received a warm welcome from the Etsy community and sold a good portion of what I put up there, even having customers coming back and requesting more when I had no listings up. In 2012-2013 I tested the craft show world by selling my merchandise at local craft fairs and bazaars. It was a delight to meet the other vendors during this time but I would have to say that the baked goods that I was also selling fared much better than my watercolor art and handmades! I still believe that my location and clientele are the reasons behind the low craft sales. I will try other cities and shows until I find the right mix of people.
Around this time I also became a YouTube Partner and started making crafting videos on my channel. I still upload new ones so make sure to subscribe!
In 2014 I stopped crafting because of my stepmom’s passing and focused on entering culinary school. Cooking and baking is another facet of what I like to do, hence the cooking blog, Sabbath Supper. I spent part of the winter and spring of 2015 going to school and enjoying it very much. But my school time was cut short because of my dad’s health. I withdrew from my classes in early summer and changed my plans to include more crafting and making. I thought this was a good time for me to take my hobby and pastime and turn it into a job and a source for income. See my online store: ArtandNeedlework. It is still in its early stages and I don’t know where it will go but I am very excited to get things underway and try out this new, full-scale version of crafting!