Go behind the scenes at The Handmade Festival and meet the makers bringing their passion and skills to you in September.

The Crafty Gent Mike Aspinall will be hosting our Paper Piecing Workshop inthe Janome Sewing Studio.

  • Mike Aspinall

Mike is an award-winning crafter from Nottingham. His blog, The Crafty Gentleman, is one of the UK’s most popular DIY sites. It has been featured across the BBC, Channel 4 and NBC. In addition, Mike regularly talks at national and international craft events, teaches workshops and even presents on the craft television channel, Hochanda. He shares weekly tutorials on his blog, ranging from sewing to woodwork - and everything in between!


What are you most looking forward to at the festival

I’m so excited about teaching my sewing classes! I love meeting fellow crafters in real life and sharing tips with them. But if I’m honest, the entire weekend is packed with things I’m looking forward to – the market stalls, the people, the food… just the general vibe of the festival. It’s always a great weekend!


What has been your best ever project or make?

How could I possibly choose?! I’ve made well over 200 projects for my blog alone, plus countless others on the side… But at a push, I’d probably choose my almost-lifesize Santa advent calendar from 2017. He took weeks to make, but it was so worth it!

I also love my tweed patchwork cushion – it was one of the first projects I ever shared on my blog, but I still have it on display every autumn/winter.


Do you have a favourite material to work with?

I love working with natural, tactile materials like tweed, leather, wood and good quality paper. I really believe in investing in your materials – a finished project can often be ruined by skimping on the materials!


What is the biggest disaster you have had?

I once knitted a large blanket from different colours of chunky yarn… it was made up of around 20-25 different sections, which I then stitched together. But I soon realised that the yarn I used was far too chunky for this, so it ended up all bulky and uneven. Weeks of knitting, wasted! I chalked it up to experience...


What’s your go to snack when you need a break?

I have a pretty big appetite! I snack throughout the day on fruit and nuts… but chocolate is definitely my weakness. Especially dark, fruity chocolate – yum! 


Are there any skills you would like to try?

I’d really love to try spoon carving. I love working with wood, but I’ve not yet tried wood whittling… I’d also like to have another go at pottery. I first tried it a year ago and really enjoyed it (even though my “bowl” ended up more like a wonky plate!).


What would feature in your motivational playlist?

Hmm, tough question! I like so many different types of music. (I just looked at my top played songs from 2018… it features everything from Laura Marling to Nicki Minaj!). But I’d probably choose The Carters album – who better for motivational tunes than Beyonce and Jay-Z?!


Find out more about Mike on his website and follow him on social media:

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