There has been a much welcomed return of making around here this week as well as some previously scheduled knowledge sharing* which always ends up inspiring more making, a very good thing.
Tuesday evening found me down at HackCville, participating in Craft Cville‘s “How to use a sewing machine” class. I had been asked if I was interested in helping out by my friend Amber, whose acquaintance I first made last summer when she hung a flyer up at Shenandoah Joe’s advertising a canning group she was trying to assemble. One of my l’etoile coworkers saw it and told me I should get in touch with her. We exchanged a few emails, but nothing ever came of it. At some point this fall, I caught notice of a craft swap being put together by a group called Craft Cville. I emailed for more information and who answered my email but Amber! I quickly made plans for a lunch date with her because someone who canned, was crafty AND liked to organize things was someone that clearly I should get to know.
I took my machine down to HackCville headquarters and spent some time attempting to show a very lovely & patient U.Va student by the name of Sebastian how to use it. I had spent the better part of the afternoon working on my portion of the collaboration with my friend G for World Community Arts Day**, so I knew my machine was running in fine shape. However, something about picking it up and carrying down to Elliewood Ave made it absolutely go berserk. Calling them ‘teachable moments’ I was able to impart to Sebastian how knowing your machine’s quirks are part of sewing, how to pull the whole thing apart, put it back together and how keeping the owner’s manual handy is key to the the last two tasks. We investigated thread breaks from every possible source AND after some errors as well as practice, he sewed a straight seam and the teeniest little buttonhole. Success!
Wednesday afternoon found me giving the Unicorns a long awaited knitting lesson. Back when I first became a Girl Scout leader, I had grand visions of teaching them to knit. I could see us sitting in a little circle with our various knitting projects – wouldn’t that just be darling? Then came the sewing badge in second grade. I realized they needed at least a 2:1 girls to adult ratio of hands on help at all times. It was quite an undertaking and 4 years later, the mere mention of the sewing badges still leaves some of the mothers in our troop looking fearful. The sewing badge was what led to us moms having happy hours together, because really, after the meetings in which we attempted to steer that ship, we all needed a drink. In the years since, I’ve steered clear of ambitious craft projects with them, mostly per their demands, but also because of how well they take direction. Our time together is really just loosely organized chaos that we all treasure.
I’ve brought my knitting with me to many of our meetings this year, to give me something to do while they play in the creek or play cards or sit around gabbing. I have a hard time sitting still, not doing and I find knitting is the perfect answer to that dilemma. At our last meeting, Hannah practically crawled into my lap watching me, asking questions about what I was doing. When I asked her if she’d like to learn how to knit, three of the other girls whipped their heads around to join in responding yes. So I told the girls, our next meeting would be a craft hour. For those interested in learning to knit, bring needles & yarn & I’d teach them. For those not interested, just bring along a craft project to keep themselves busy.
Turns out all but two of the girls were interested in knitting – with one being my own of course. Lauren was more interested in learning to crochet, so her mom came and taught that while I taught the rest to knit. Claire has already had some lessons, so she sat & worked on her project. Clare picked it up almost immediately and is probably halfway done with her first scarf as I type this. Hannah, Rosa & Alayna were on the verge of figuring it out. I tried assuring them it took me a few lessons before I got the hang of it. I was worried about their frustration level, but as they were leaving, they all asked if we could do this again next time.
By the end of our time together, even Edie had abandoned her other projects she’d brought along and had pulled out her knitting, joining in with the other girls. After 6 years, could it be possible that my vision of a sweet little knitting circle with these girls be coming to fruition?
*My friend Mark once referred to teaching as nothing more than sharing knowledge with those interested in learning what I knew on the subject. I really like that way of describing it.
**World Community Arts Day is February 17. I am collaborating with my friend G, who lives on the other side of the country. We’ll be sharing our project in this space then.