Back when I had my studio and gallery on the wharf, I also held a stitch and bitch night once a week. It was a casual gathering where locals came for a cup of tea and a chat on a Tuesday evening. They would bring knitting, sewing, sketching, collage, card making - anything and everything creative. And I loved it! I saw some great community spirit and forged new connections and watched friendships form.
And then I had to close the gallery because the space was no longer available (insert sad face here.)
One of the things I really missed was stitch and bitch night.
I was able to move my studio into our flat, but I couldn't really hold gatherings there. The driveway was tricky and parking non-existent beyond one car. The stairs leading up to it were steep and there really wasn't a good space for a group of chairs, so I just put it out of my mind.
Then we moved off the boat and into an apartment and I moved everything out of my flat studio back into the home. And THEN we moved out of the apartment into this house we are in now.
Man. That's a lot of moving crap round in just a few short years....
Anyway, to cut a long story just a bit shorter, I really wanted to find a way to hold stitch and bitch again, but I couldn't really have it in this house either. I started thinking about alternative venues and I decided to approach my daughter's primary school. It's a small school with a fairly cozy hall and it's not far from where I used to hold stitch and bitch. The school likes being involved in the community, because the community in turn supports them, and so they said yes!
Stitch and bitch started up again on Tuesday nights about three months ago, and it couldn't be going better! The hall is great, it has tea and coffee making facilities, a few tables that I can set up and enough space for people to spread out patterns or quilts on the floor. There is plenty of parking, good heating and it's easy to find. It's neat that quite a few of my old regulars are coming back and great that there are new faces joining in too.
Have you ever thought about starting up a group like this in your community? If you have, I urge you to go and ahead and give it a go. People are really keen to make connections with others and if it's a low key, no expectations gathering, you'll even net the shy ones.
I use Facebook and IRL notice boards to advertise and I put out a weekly reminder on Facebook. Sometimes I have two people turn up and sometimes I have six or seven - I don't give myself any expectations on numbers and am quite prepared to sit by myself for a quiet evening of sewing, but it's never happened yet. Last night we had a fun crafty 'destash' night where we brought along our excess craft supplies cluttering our cupboards and had a buy/sell/swap night!
I always come home with a 'feel-good' feeling. I enjoy chatting with nice people, I like working on projects with other people around to give feedback/support but I also like knowing that I'm the one making this little community happen. Maybe not very altruistic of me, but it's a good feeling nonetheless.