Derry’s Margaret ‘keeps her knit’ at Ulster Hall

Margaret Crabtree, from Derry, pictured with her work at the Ulster Hall.
Margaret Crabtree, from Derry, pictured with her work at the Ulster Hall.

A Derry craft expert has seen her work exhibited in Belfast’s Ulster Hall as part of August craft month.

The exhibition featuring some of the best pieces from Craftbomb 2014 from Voluntary Arts Week was launched this wee.

Among the pieces on display is a quilt called the ‘Trail of Tears meets the Veil of Tears’ based on the story of the forced removal of the Choctaw nation from their home in Mississippi to what is now southern Oklahoma in 1831-1833.They were the first native Americans to be forced from their home to Indian territory.

Members of the Choctaw nation have been commemorating this traumatic event with a commemorative walk for the past 20 years.

The quilt was made by Derry woman, Margaret Crabtree, who runs crocheting and knitting classes under the great name ‘Keep Her Knit’. During Voluntary Arts Week it was hung in Derry’s Craft Village along with crocheted dream catchers made from hula hoops and a totem pole piece.

Margaret said: “I decided it as I loved the story. The quilt is based on the colours significant to the Choctaw Nation. The patterns used so far are The Indian Trail, the Road to Oklahoma and the Braid of Friendship. The quilt is incomplete and other patterns will be added to it.”

Margaret worked as a training instructress in textile factories for more than 25 years but has been dress-making since the age of 11. She has been knitting from the age of five and crocheting from eight.

“I have been trading for the past four years as ‘Keep Her Knit’ teaching knitting, crocheting, machine knitting, embroidery and machine sewing to women and children in Counties Derry, Donegal and Tyrone,” said Margaret.

Craftbomb was the main feature of Voluntary Arts Week, a national celebration of creativity across the UK and Ireland, which takes place each May. Last year saw the first ever Craftbomb, with hundreds of individuals covering public spaces across Northern Ireland. See for more.