THE idea of setting up a craft club in Gainsborough came to Ann Betts in a dream.
It was not long after her husband died suddenly that she had a vivid dream about a room full of people busy with various crafts.
She said: “I was still in shock over losing my husband Peter. In my dream I saw people doing all sorts of crafts and playing games like Scrabble and doing jigsaws.”
“It was just like a vision.”
Ann is a member of Gainsborough Salvation Army and when she got up she emailed the minister about her idea to start a group at the hall on Beaumont Street.
“I had an email back saying somebody had been to the Salvation Army that very morning and asked if they had a craft club. I was so pleased I had followed my dream.”
And what a success it is proving to be.
Ann, 69, from Lincoln, launched the club at the end of January, intending it to be monthly.
But demand was so great that it has become weekly, with as many as 40 people meeting every Thursday afternoon from 1.30-3.30pm.
Crafts vary from crocheting and knitting, quilting and patchwork, to painting with watercolours and acrylics.
Members can take along their own craft work to do or can learn a new skill from other people there.
Betty Purves, 86, of Sturton-by-Stow, teaches Tunisian crochet, which she says is a cross between ordinary crochet and knitting.
She said: “Instead of working on one stitch like you normally do with crochet, you work on a row of stitches.”
“It’s quite simple to do, I taught myself how to do it from a craft magazine. I have always enjoyed crafts and when I’ve learnt one thing I like to go on to something else.”
Helen Sanderson, 63, of Woodhill Avenue, said the popularity of handmade crafts had probably been helped by glamorous celebrity TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp making a range of things on screen.
Helen said: “I think she’s brilliant and has encouraged people to have a go.”
“I do quilting and patchwork at the club. I’m no expert but it’s something I enjoy and I’m showing a couple of other people how to do it.”
“I do a lot of knitting as well and at the club we are knitting sweaters for babies with Aids in Africa.”
Vera Beasley, of Owmby by Spital, had never done crafts before going to the club.
She said: “I’ve learnt all sorts of new things like crocheting, painting, making fabric hearts and gift boxes. It’s exciting and it’s a lovely atmosphere, everybody is so friendly and you get a cup of tea.”
Ann said other crafts on offer were pergamano, which is making cards with parchment designs, cross stitch and rug making.
But she said the club also provided a social outing and anyone not interested in doing a craft could do something different like playing backgammon or dominoes.
“This club was meant to happen. It’s kept me so busy and I have met so many friends,” she said.
*Anyone is welcome to turn up at the club, which costs £1, or for information call 01522 695383.