About an hour from the time that this post goes live I’ll be enjoying my first experiencing moderating an online crochet group over in the iYarny chat room. (Join me!) You can learn more about iYarny here but basically this scheduled time serves as a virtual version of the crochet / knitting meetup.
This whole thing has me thinking about crochet groups and why they’re so great. Most LYS (at least the ones I’ve been to here and in AZ) offer some type of weekly or monthly scheduled group. There are also lots of local groups that people start up (for example, here in San Francisco we have Crafting in Public). They’re popular because there are so many great benefits to them. What are those benefits you ask?
Here are the top ten benefits of joining a crochet group:
1. Camaraderie. The number one benefit (in my opinion) that a crochet group offers is the chance to make friends with a new group of people. They already enjoy at least one thing that you do so you instantly have something to talk about making it a great social option even if you have social anxiety.
2. Skill Building. Someone in your group will always know something that you don’t know. This is a great opportunity for you to learn from them whether you are seeking to get help with something specific (like a tough crochet stitch) or just wanting to build your knowledge in general.
3. Crochet News. Crochet blogs are great for crochet news but sometimes things come up in conversation that you just wouldn’t learn from only reading a blog. I often find that the folks in my craft groups let me know about things I wouldn’t have known otherwise like crochet events, best yarn stores in areas I’m traveling to, etc.
4. Time to Focus on Your Craft. Yes, you often end up talking as much as crocheting but I still think it’s great to have a specific dedicated time each week that you take to practice and celebrate the craft. In my opinion this is one more way that we can honor crochet.
5. Challenges You To Crochet More and to Advance in the Craft. Not only does a crochet group encourage me to take that actual hour to develop my crochet work but it also challenges me to go further with my work. That’s because part of me wants to be able to show something off when I go to my group. It’s silly, yes, but it’s a form of motivation that I think is terrific. And I find that crochet groups tend to be wildly supportive of any small step I’ve taken in my work.
6. You’ll Make More Stuff For Yourself. Well, I do anyway, because I kind of like showing up at my crochet group wearing something I’ve made myself. And yes, I think this is a good thing. It’s wonderful that crocheters are so generous with their work but I think more of us should be making things just for us!
7. Inspiration! Regularly seeing what other people are crocheting will give you new ideas of what you want to crochet and where you want to go with your work. I love the feeling of being inspired. It’s right up there with being in love. So I think this aspect of craft groups is awesome.
8. It’s a free / cheap activity. Crochet groups are free to join and free to be a part of. If they meet in a public space then you may end up buying some food or something like that but the cost is minimal. You get to have a great time and a fun outlet without spending a lot of money. What about yarn costs, you ask? You’d spend that anyway!
9. Lovely Escape from “Real Life”. I have definitely been in groups that talked about personal things and in groups that were there for each other during tough times in life. In general, though, most craft groups I’ve been in tend to focus conversation on the craft and this can provide a lovely retreat from the real life activities that you’ve got going on the rest of the week.
10. Bonds That Go Beyond the Group. I mentioned the camaraderie of the group already but this is an extra benefit … you often will develop true friendships with one or two of the people in your group and that’s always really special.
In my opinion, these benefits can be derived whether you access your group in person or online. So come be a part of the group at iYarny. If you can’t join me on Tuesdays at 2 PM EST then join Cris on Thursdays at 9 PM EST!