Crocheting. Knitting. Quilting. While these handiworks go back for generations, they are as popular – or more popular – today. This isn’t grandma’s afghans or table doilies we’re talking about. Don’t believe me? Take a look at that bag Hollywood actress Julia Roberts is carrying in this photo. Chances are she knitted it herself, as it has become well known that Ms. Roberts passes the time between takes on movie sets by knitting.
My neighbor and friend, Lisa, is a proactive person when it comes to connecting. She’s the person who first looped me into our neighborhood Bunco club and she has done her share of volunteer work at her sons’ schools and on our neighborhood home owners board.
She is also quite the crochet maven. “Crocheting is very therapeutic for me,” Lisa shared. “I can actually relax enough to ‘think’ while I’m doing it.” I’ve seen Lisa’s work first hand and it is amazing. Crochet is Lisa’s ING – that seemingly solitary activity that she has decided to turn into a BING – a tool to get connected. This summer she decided to launch crochet workshops in her home as a springboard for reaching out and building more connection within her community.
And do you want to know her big secret about how she’s doing that?
She’s carrying her crochet with her.
“I take my crochet with me almost everywhere I go and it invariably leads to a conversation with someone else who crochets or someone who says they’ve always wanted to learn how to do it.” As an example, Lisa recently took her current crochet project with her to her son’s orthodontist appointment. Waiting in the reception area, she took it out and began looping away. Almost immediately, someone who was also waiting in the office asked her about her project. An affinity conversation was born.
For anyone who is a crafter, or does any kind of handiwork for that matter, and wants to increase their circle of connection, this is one of the easiest conversation starters. Just carry your projects with you. What you do is amazing. What you do is a skill that others may want to learn or share. If handiwork is your ING, carrying it with you is a natural conduit for conversation and connection.
Lisa also connects with other crafters and finds countless ideas on Pinterest.
“I do a lot of searching on Pinterest for crochet and other craft ideas,” Lisa says. “I found a really fun blog on Pinterest called Attic 24 by a woman who lives in Yorkshire, England. She started doing crochet and craft workshops out of her home and eventually it grew into a business.”
“I also follow Nikki Trench, another blogger who’s written crafting books and works out of her home. I would love to be able to open my own crafting store but startup and real estate costs in the area are so expensive,” she said. “But as I’ve followed these women who started out by just doing workshops out of their homes for fun, I thought ‘why couldn’t I just do that?’ So I just decided to get started.”
The first gathering
“I saw this Fourth of July bunting project and I thought it would be so fun to do. I clicked on it and it turned out to be from a crochet blogger PetalstoPicots.com,” Lisa said.
For her first workshop Lisa started with her existing network of friends and those who had already expressed an interest having noticed her work she carried in tow. “I did a workshop for a women’s retreat at my church,” Lisa said, “and I kept being asked by women if I would do that again. So, I reached out via email asking who might be interested in coming over to my house to crochet the Fourth of July project together on a specified date, and I included all the project details and cost,” she said. “Four ladies came over and we had an awesome time.”
Lisa made a day of it serving a light lunch of Pioneer Woman scones and Barefoot Contessa chicken curry salad. Lisa and I share a love of these two food mavens and their recipes. More on that this Friday.
“I’d like to do a workshop every couple of weeks,” Lisa said. “Some on weekdays for stay-at-home parents, and some on Saturdays for those that work. I love that I’m teaching something that has been passed down and taught for generations and people still want to learn how to do it.” Lisa is preparing to coordinate a beginner workshop as well as continue to organize and host more advanced projects. “I think as word of mouth gets going it could be a snowball kind of effect.”
Anyone living in the greater Eastside area who is interested in participating in one of Lisa’s crochet workshops can contact her to get on her email distribution list at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the fourth post I’ve done about converting our ING things into BING things. From runnING to cyclING, from singING to crochetING we all have a hobby or passion that we already love to do. What do you love to do? How could that seemingly individualistic hobby be shared with a neighbor or someone in your community as a means to open up your friendship circle?