I have always had this dream of owning my own shop. Until the invention of the Kindle my dream ran along the lines of a niche book shop with cosy cafe. So that was stored along with my other crazy dreams and I got on with real life. Time passed. Jobs, family, home, all came along and my dream drifted further and further away.

I got my first real taste of selling direct to the public when my friend Margaret and I decided to enter the world of craft fairs. We had both learnt to crochet, despite my being left handed, I had developed a serious addiction problem. We did ok with our handmade items, still take part in the Hartlepool Maritime Market when we can, but after one particularly wet, cold, miserable day my thoughts turned again to a ‘proper shop’, and so…

Have you ever flicked through Facebook and Instagram at all the people who make amazing things? And then looked closer at how many live locally? I did. There are many people making glorious handmade goods in their own homes. Buying online is a great invention and something I love doing. But what about if you want to look at something for real before buying it?

Kraft Work is a place that brings local crafters together and provides a physical space from where to showcase their wares. I wanted to show people in and around Hartlepool what a range of artisans live amongst them and celebrate their creativity. That was the beginning.

But, as with all babies, Kraft Work has grown and changed. Today, along with an area dedicated to local crafters I now stock wool. Mmmmm lovely, squishy, colourful wool. It’s like having my own, super sized stash!!! I am the only local stockist of both Stylecraft and Ricorumi. Stylecraft has always been my go-to yarn, especially their Special DK, so many glorious colours to choose from, so versatile. And if you haven’t tried the Naturals range, a mix of cotton and bamboo then you really must. It glides off my hook and is so soft. Ricorumi is the go to range for many, many toy makers (me included). The choice of colours is mind blowing. As well as two large ranges I have a small section dedicated to hand dyed wool, something I’d like to expand as another way of supporting small, independent crafters.

Stitch Crafters Assemble is my dedicated wool crafters group and we meet weekly to knit, crochet and, just as importantly, eat cake. To sit, watch and listen to this lovely group natter and laugh together, share their skills and knowledge fills me with such warmth. Everyone is welcome. In addition my hope is to expand to include classes run by other crafters, and I’m always happy to sit down with absolute crochet beginners. I keep a supply of hooks and wool which means you don’t have to buy before you try.