Do you need a crochet club? Would you enjoy having a group of crocheters (and maybe other handcrafters) to meet with once a month or so to share your love of yarn and crochet? How about having a crochet ‘expert’ at your elbow while you attempt to learn a new stitch or follow a difficult pattern? Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least a couple of people who would oooh and aah over your latest crochet creation – who actually recognize the amount of time and energy that went into the production of a baby afghan or a sweater? I would. I did. And, I did something about it!
I’ve written about how to start a local crochet club before. You can read that article here. But, today, I want to tell you more about the benefit of having this local gathering and perhaps encourage other crocheters to reach out to other crocheters and those who would like to learn to crochet to keep our wonderful art form alive and growing.
So, this is how it goes. Once a month, our local group, the St. Louis Crochet Club, meets at a local yarn shop (Hearthstone Knits) which is warm, welcoming, and very crochet friendly. We meet from 7 to 9 PM the third Wednesday of each month, although we change the week from time to time, depending on holidays and the shop owner’s needs. Since the group began almost 15 years ago, I have missed only a handful of meetings. Since I was the one who put out the call for the first gathering, I am the unofficial chairperson/president/facilitator. I wasn’t elected but I have sent out most of the meeting reminders and that’s about all I am required to do. I used to take notes on all the Show ‘n Tell and ask someone else (usually Ronnie) to take pictures for me. No, you don’t want to see any pictures taken by me!
There are no requirements to join or leave our group. We charge no dues, receive no pressure from the hosting LYS to spend money there (although we do find wonderful yarns and are often offered special sales). To become a member, you just show up. After a couple months, you’re a long-timer and everyone looks forward to seeing you. There were three of us at our first gathering and two of those (DJ and I) remain active with the group. Our membership grows and shrinks, but we typically have 8-10 people at the monthly meetings. We host an annual Christmas in July party – but have abandoned the notion of making and giving gifts to each other as we are all busy in our daily lives and are kept occupied with all the crochet we are asked (or want to) make for others in our lives.
Among our members is no ‘professional’ crocheter, but we do have experts. Ronnie can figure out or correct any pattern. She has such a knack at that! DJ is the queen of crocheting without a pattern, often making skirts, sweaters, and baby things from the patterns she creates in her head. Rita is the queen of kool-aid dyeing and sock knitting. Georgia, the shop owner, is mainly a knitter, and is a published knit designer. But, she is also a masterful crocheter with her cutie-pie granddaughter being the main recipient of her crochet endeavors. Joan is also mainly a knitter, making bundles of socks for everyone in her life, and crocheting the occasional single crochet ripple afghan which would drive me insane! She is also our main thread and yarn de-tangler. Valli is a masterful crocheter and works up custom fitted socks for herself. She is also the queen of the swatch! She has created a number of unique stitches and shares her expertise with all of us in the form of her numerous swatches. That’s Valli in the picture up top here, showing us one of her lovely shawls. But, Cathy is the queen of shawls. While she crochets other things, she always pulls 2 or 3 completed shawls out of her bag for Show ‘n Tell. (And, don’t get me started on her Pecan Brittle or Rita’s Potato Chip Cookies!) Mandy is our resident expert on fibers and other fiber arts. She knits, crochets, weaves, quilts and does I don’t know what all as she works towards her Master’s Degree in Textiles. Her work is always exquisite.
Every other member or visitor to our little crochet circle brings a unique talent. Occasionally around our circle you’ll find Melinda who will be crocheting another Strawberry Shortcake design for her daughters, Marty and her teen daughter Mary who works up oodles of wristlets and other things for her friends. Marty is a true artist in other media also, creating amazing flowers from plastic bags. Susan makes lots of afghans. Jana is always starting something new – in knit or crochet – and brings her special wit to our group. I’m sure I’m forgetting several people. My apologies in advance. May that person feel free to post her name and expertise in the Comments section below.
Other members have left us for one reason or another. No hard feelings. Wednesday is a difficult evening for some. Distance can put a damper on things. I’m sure there are other reasons too. We miss most of those crocheters but their chairs have been filled by other people we are delighted to meet and get to know. When a group is open and welcoming, few people have difficulty fitting in. We value each other individually and appreciate what each person brings, literally, to the table. We ask for advise on yarns, color choices, difficulty levels, etc. We encourage each other over difficult spots in crochet and in life. We rejoice on new family additions because we get to buy more yarn to make goodies for them! There is just no downside to that.
Well. What are you waiting for? Make a few phone calls to find a venue – a church, coffee shop, library, or your front room. Email a few crocheters or crochet-wannabies to join you for tea and crochet one afternoon. You have nothing to lose and you may just gather yourself a room full of new friends. I did!
PS: For further encouragement, check back over my last several years of blog posts to see the pictures of Show ‘n Tell our members have produced. That’s the best part of each meeting.
By jd wolfe