We just wrapped a big week of events and activities – National Spinning and Weaving Week plus Spinzilla. I watched the gatherings and demonstrations and classes and it got me thinking about community, how we come together around our fiber passions and how different it is for the various forms of fiber fun.
The act of weaving is generally a solitary endeavor, mostly due to the size of the looms themselves. They are not always portable and take up a lot of space, so fitting a bunch of them into a room is a bit of a challenge and it means that the weavers themselves are spread apart from each other. And there is always the concentration factor that makes conversation easier said that done. So weavers tend to gather at guilds and conferences, sharing their finished projects, inspiration and camaraderie.
Knitters, crocheters and spinners, on the other hand, gather while working on the craft, sharing works in progress as well as finished objects. It’s a different kind of sociability and community that can sometimes (but not always) be quite loud and boisterous, as we discovered last week. The tools are smaller so it’s easier to sit closer together and, if you choose your project with forethought, it is possible to continue creating while discussing inspiration, fiber sources, daily life, raising teenagers, movies and more.
And then there’s the crafting in public side of things. We always have demos as part of Spinning and Weaving week and I love to witness the interactions and questions, especially with the weavers who are not often seen throwing shuttles in public. As above, knitters/crocheters/spinners do this on a regular basis, just because they love to work on their projects and pull them out while waiting, bus riding, etc. This public side is great because it draws in people who are curious – those who’ve never seen it or wanted to try, those who remember a relative making beautiful things. It’s wonderful to share that these crafts are alive and thriving and they, too, can join in.
And this weekend is the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, one of the bigger gatherings of fiber aficionados of all sorts. The passion for creating cannot be contained and it will spill over in vibrant colors, enthusiastic conversations and the joy of communing with others as passionate as ourselves.