Do you make things alone in a corner of your home usually? Do you feel so happy and energized when you get to make with friends at a fun place where you all meet-up to chat, make things, share stories and techniques, and just connect without spouses and kids around (or if you are a kid, without parents around)?
I thoroughly enjoy my quiet time for knitting, sewing, and really focusing on projects. However, there is something so wonderful about making in a group sometimes. I joined a knitting group this spring and it has been so much fun to know I will see the same group of women each week and bond over knitting and wine. We all knit our own projects, discuss yarn, life, love, books, travel, and wonder woman. I look forward to each knitting night and leave fulfilled and happy from the chance to focus on being a friend instead of a mom, wife, or business person.
As I meet people each week, I hear so many interesting perspectives, thoughts, and ideas once people learn that I teach sewing, knitting, leather and other DIY skills at a dedicated studio school space. I’m finding other people crave the connection of creating, crafting, knitting and more with a group of friends. Some have a group, but no meeting space. Some have inspiration to create, but not enough friends that are interested. And others would love to sew, knit, and create art with friends, but they doubt their creative skills or aren’t sure how to plan such a creative gathering with friends.
So, some information to help you if you fall into one of these categories.
The Keep It Simple on the Cheap Option
To have a crafting party with friends, you can start very simple, or go all out. If you all have the same craft background or interest (you all love to hand sew quilt blocks or you all love knitting or crocheting or drawing) you can easily meet at coffee shop or wine shop and sew, knit, crochet, and draw while you sip. Or you can get together at a friend’s house and rotate dates so no one bears the burden of preparing a house for guests every time. No need to get fancy - it’s the being together regularly and taking time for yourselves.
For Makers Who Like to Host Serious Maker Parties and Events
Want to step it up? Or maybe your craft is more involved or you have a large group. When you outgrow kitchen tables and coffee shops, look for venues in your community that you can use. Some libraries and community centers let you use a room for free or affordable rates. If the weather is nice, maybe a park? If you want a quiet, attractive spot, Studio How-To even has a space you can rent and use for your own crafting party needs (you don’t need to take a class with us to rent the space). Depending on your group, you may want to plan a particular craft (or selection of crafts) in detail, provide all the materials, and guide friends through the process. Or have each guest bring a certain aspect of the craft to share with the group. The possibilities are endless when you're dealing with creative planning. If your group is timid about creating, keep it simple, have an example made to demonstrate, and give a tutorial to help relax your guests. Don't forget simple food and drinks - nothing too messy or complicated so you can focus on making things and having fun.
Start with a blank slate and make your space comfy when you craft with friends. Good lighting, space to spread out, planned crafts, decorations, and food & drinks make it special and easy for friends to relax and focus on creating. Take turns with friends for planning and organizing. Meet at different places to keep it interesting.
Have Someone Else Handle the Details
Want to really go all out? Get a group together and take a class. If you want it to be more than just a group class, talk to the instructor or business and see if you can turn it into an event with food, decorations, special scheduling, whatever fits your needs and desires. There are so many cool businesses offering creative workshops to give students a new kind of entertainment. It’s highly engaging, gives you a great sense of accomplishment, and lets you try something very different from your usual activities. If you’re in Cleveland, you have a ton of supercool people teaching supercool things. There are classes in blacksmithing, glass blowing, woodworking, painting, drawing, sewing, knitting, printing, flower arranging, papercrafts, and on. Most of these classes are taught by people who love their craft and run small local businesses. Seek them out, try them out. You’ll be inspired and you’ll support a very dedicated local economy. If you need help finding a place with these classes, contact me. I am so inspired by all the creative people around Cleveland and have my own long wish list of amazing classes I’m going to take with them all.