Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fellowship of Fiber

Tonight was Knit Night. A group of fellow knitters meet every other Wednesday at the local Panera Bread for dinner, knitting and fellowship. I spent many years in the company of people who rolled their eyes, or whose eyes glassed over, or who quickly changed the subject when I would speak lovingly of knitting, sewing or quilting. When I learned to weave, it was much the same.
When I lived in Detroit, about 8 years ago, Stitch and Bitch was just becoming popular, and along with the dawn of the era of Book Groups, Knitting Groups were sprouting up all over the place. A couple of friends and I put together a knitting group that met on Sundays in the local Starbucks. Here, Starbucks don't have the fat, lounge-y sofas they do in Detroit, and the place just isn't as cozy. Panera has banquettes and sofas and chairs, and folks can get dinner, if they want to. And the staff doesn't seem to mind people just hanging out.
The group here, started by Mom and I, copying Tina's Panera meeting in Oak Ridge, has changed and grown in the just the last two years. People come and go; the group dynamics are never the same from meeting to meeting. What doesn't change is the shared love of fiber, the joy of making something with our own hands. We understand each other's need to take some string and sticks and make a warm thing for someone we love. We learn from each other, share stories of our lives outside the group and talk about the world in general.
Our group at the center has the same core element: people who love to touch fiber, to take that fiber and make something more valuable, to nurture others and ourselves with what we make and what we care about. Do other artists have the same connection? Do painters work in groups to help and inspire each other? Do writers? What about sculptors? Other arts seems more solitary than ours, not conducive to fellowship and friendship. We are lucky indeed!


Bonnie said...

We are indeed lucky to have a craft to share with fiends. Looks and sounds like a good time. Yes, knit on! Wonder if there are any crothet groups? I will have to check.

LA said...

I am a fiend indeed...and I'm also a good friend!!! hahaha Actually, I agree with Bonnie! It's great having a group of like minded people you can toss ideas around with. And, Bonnie, I take my crochet when I go to Tina's group here in Oak Ridge. I don't always go, but I love it when I do.

Tina said...

You can bring any craft you want. 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month. We love to see what everyone is doing.

Theresa said...

Knitting and crochet is so portable it lends itself well to a shared group.
Often times in areas of some scenic beauty you will see a number of painters painting plein aire style and I'm sure some of it might be shared.
Glass blowing co-ops, a series of artists studios in an old renovated building. They are shared in some ways but not as portable. It also may be more competitive where many need to sell works, Just a different culture, which doesn't mean it is no less nurturing or friendly in it's own way.

Bonnie said...

Theresa, that is a very good point.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful place called Panera - as I have been on "sabbatical" from institutional church I have been attending what I call "Church of Panera" - meeting special friends for theological conversations. It looks to me like the knitting groups are doing "Church of Panera" too - just with a different liturgy. Asacred space for sacred work.