What do you get when you throw a girl who can’t even sew a button in with a room full of crafty knitters? Sounds like the start of a really bad joke. Well it wasn’t in my case. Instead I got an enjoyable afternoon of learning and socializing. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated sitting in with the Yarn Antics club at Indian River library one Friday afternoon, but the group and its facilitator, Audrey, welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like one of the group for that day.
The first thing Audrey asked was “Do you knit?” I, of course, answer with my button one liner and she replies, “Well, we can fix that.”
The group starts out just as any other meeting or gathering. They greet each other and catch up for a few minutes. Trade is a big theme with this group. Material such as yarn, obviously, is exchanged. But they also trade things that aren’t related to the meeting at hand, such as books they are finished reading or old magazines given away at the doctor’s office. They exchange stories and photos. More importantly they trade ideas and praise.
Even though the group only meets once a month, it is like they are old friends who talk to each other every day. I believe sharing a common interest or, shall I say, passion really bonds these women to one another. It is as if no time has passed between meetings and things fall right into place. Each woman takes her seat, and the meeting begins seamlessly.
First on the agenda during a yarn antics meeting is what the group likes to call “show-and-tell.” This is when each member of the group goes around the table and shares finished projects or progress that they’ve made since the last meeting. The first to share during this particular meeting is Kay. She displays a finished afghan made up of scrap yarn. Kay implies that she wasn’t sure how it would turn out when she started it and that she was going to sell or give it away, however recently she might have changed her mind. The rest of the group praises her on the finished blanket, and I had to agree with them.
As soon as she held up the afghan, the first thing that popped into my mind was the ACC. That’s the Atlantic Coast Conference for all you non-sports fans. The color scraps represented most of the teams in the ACC. Royal blue for Duke, sky blue for UNC, orange for Virginia Tech, red for the Wolf Pack, etc. I was completely blown away by this blanket. It is so amazing that this beautiful piece of artwork started from a pile of yarn scraps.
While Kay displays her work, the other members take pictures and measure the blanket for future reference on other projects. They talk about different techniques, needle sizes and share patterns torn out of magazines. Other members share what they are working on and pictures of many other projects they couldn’t bring along with them. Audrey, the somewhat group leader, informs me that they like to call finished works “Accomplishments.”
At this point in the meeting, I am completely lost in the conversation. I just have to ask what the difference between knitting and crocheting is. The group informs me that knitting consists of using two needles. Crocheting uses only one special needle with a little hook on the end. Crocheting leaves an open “lace” type outcome, which reminds me of the little fabric doilies that used to sit on my grandmother’s end tables. Crocheting seems to be the “it” thing right now because everyone in the group crochets, leaving the one knitter in the group.
Each woman brings her own project to the meeting. The majority of the time is spent working on these individual projects. Projects range from your typical throw blanket or baby booties to a designer shrug jacket torn out of a magazine and commissioned to be made. One member, Sherry, tells me that she just learned to knit less than a year ago. She shares with me that the rather large blanket with a difficult chevron pattern that she is working on is going to be a gift for her daughter-in-law. Sherry has been working on this project for quite some time now, and she believes she is at the half way point.
Sometimes member don’t work on a specific project. Yvonne, for example, starts something new today. However she states it’s not anything in particular. She has just learned to crochet and is still getting the hang of it. The piece she starts at this meeting reminds me of a long friendship bracelet; it has no shape or form yet. Also another group member, Cheryl, is learning a new type of stitch under the instruction of Audrey.
While working on their current projects, the ladies discuss several different topics ranging from grandbabies to gas prices. Photos are exchanged. Recent and upcoming trips are gushed about. They offer each other cleaning tips. Did you know vinegar cleans just about anything? I didn’t; but I do now. The group never seems to run out of everyday yet interesting topics to talk about. There are, however, some moments of silence when each person in the room is so engrossed in their work.
New techniques are also introduced at the groups’ meetings. This month’s technique is how to create a pom-pom accent for a babies’ bonnet. You take a couple pieces of cardboard and cut out two “C” shapes. Next, take your yarn and place it in between the two pieces of cardboard. Then you want to start wrapping it tightly yet evenly around the “C” shape. Once you’ve got your yarn all wound up, you want to take a pair of scissors and go in between the two pieces of cardboard and snip all the yarn down the middle. And voila you should have a cute and fluffy pom-pom accent perfect for baby gifts or even to accent the corners of a blanket. Here’s a similar technique.
Towards the end of meeting I ask the ladies what their future goals for the group are. Audrey answers that a current goal would be to make hats and scarves for the homeless and donate them to the Union Mission or some other charity. Another member jokingly answers that she wants to make matching hats for the group to wear to each meeting.
Whether you’re looking for a way to hone your knitting/crocheting skills or looking for a few hours of pleasant socializing you don’t have to look any further than the Yarn Antics group. Please join us every first Friday of the month at the Indian River Library. Find future Yarn Antics meetings on the Library’s online calendar.