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Ruth Archer

Ruth Archer was born in Queensburgh, raised in Estcourt, studied in Pietermaritzburg, and returned to Queensburgh when she got married.

A school teacher by profession, she trained as a specialist in pre-primary teaching but has taught almost all grades.

She was involved in the retail industry for 15 years, selling gifts, teaching arts and crafts and manufacturing picture frames.

Ruth was ill when she was young and needed to be occupied when she couldn’t attend school. Her grandmother told her that she was too young to crochet, so she taught herself by watching her grandmother. All forms of arts and crafts followed. Ruth’s great love is fabric, quilting and sewing.

A few years ago, Ruth and Dana Biddle chatted about old forgotten crafts, and Ruth decided to look into hairpin crochet again. She had made herself a hairpin shawl when she was a (poor!) student at college. Four years ago, Ruth injured her back and sewing was halted for several years. As a result, she spent her time reinventing hairpin lace and its joins. She started out with a blanket or two, progressing on to chunky bathmats, infinity scarves and, recently, very bright cardigans! She has found it relaxing during a very stressful past few years. A few weeks before lockdown, Ruth taught a very successful class at The Yarn Tree in Johannesburg.

The 2015 quilt festival was a great success, and she played her part as the fundraiser and the organiser of all the festival classes. In real life, Ruth has a wonderful husband, Robin, her superhero at the quilt festival helping her to organize the classes and sweet-talking all the teachers. Kristin and Jono are her children, both married and she has three wonderful grandchildren that keep both Robin and Ruth very busy.

Hairpin Crochet with Ruth (KIT SUPPLIED)

Taking the Old and Making it New! A new look at hairpin crochet, which is fun and very unusual.Students will need to be able to crochet competently.

During the course we will explore some of the techniques used in hairpin crochet to make a sampler cushion. Many of the joins used to join the strips are unique and have taken much experimentation. We will be using the hairpin loom provided in the kit. This will give you a basis to create your own patterns and articles. Other examples of completed articles will be available for you to look at and the joins will be explained. Notes will be provided. Strips of lace will be joined in various ways to create different effects. The use of different size lace strips will also be explored.

The basic technique takes a little time to master but it soon becomes very therapeutic and can be done whilst chatting away to friends. The cushion will be approximately 42cm x 42cm when complete. Alternatively, the article can be turned into a lined bag.


*3.75mm or 3.5mm crochet hook

*A variety of bigger and smaller crochet hooks, no particular sizes for joining


*Wool needle

The compulsory kit will contain four balls of pure Colourspun cotton, the hairpin loom and notes. There is a choice of yarns, either natural or rainbow colours.