Every Friday evening, a group of textile lovers and yarn enthusiasts gather to celebrate or commiserate over their latest projects. Fiber Arts and Chat is hosted by the Seeley G. Mudd Library staff members, who have held the event on and off for years, depending on the amount of student interest at the time. In the past, the gathering was done in-person, but, in more recent times, it has been held over Zoom. This past Friday, Jan. 30, the group was a small one, hosted by librarians Gretchen Revie, Jenni Helen, Lina Rosenberg Foley ‘15, Trudi van Beuningen-Hamilton and junior Grace Stahl. They played around with Zoom backgrounds as they joined the call but then got busy creating. Each person was working on a different project, from triangle scarves to hats to socks to all of the knitted and crocheted things in between.
Though turnout was low this week, Helen assured that some weeks there are more participants that cycle in and out to visit with others and make some progress on whatever it is they are working on. Revie even commented that, in some ways, having this meeting over Zoom can be more convenient because then if you were interested in joining, you wouldn’t need to transport any supplies across campus to the library, where it was traditionally held.
As people got in the zone, the topic of textile arts turned to period clothing, which turned to costuming, which morphed to gushing over Regency-era dresses. This eventually led to a lively discussion about the pitfalls and merits of different Jane Austen book adaptations, both the movie and TV show versions. Stahl finds the Regency era, and Austen’s novels in particular, to be very dear to her heart, and Foley enjoys the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) adaptations from the 1990s best.
Among other things, there was also banter on the superstition that if you knit your boyfriend a sweater, he will break up with you soon after, and talk about how fun it is to give knitted projects to friends and make them wear the garments, even if just for a picture. It was also agreed upon that it is great motivation to work on your object if someone else is expecting you to give it to them soon, otherwise you may put off finishing a pair of socks for yourself for several years before they’re finally done.
Despite the fact that everyone who joined this particular meeting happened to be experienced in knitting, crocheting or some intersection of these, they made it very clear that the chat is open to anyone that wants to join. The low-pressure environment even yields itself to working on other projects and would be great for anyone who is interested in chit-chatting as they go about their Friday evening tasks.
For those looking to join the fiber arts specifically but are finding themselves without either yarn or needles, that shouldn’t be an inhibitor. There are materials in the Makerspace that anyone in the library would be able to lead you to. Once you have that, there’s a whole group of people happy to help you learn from there.
The information and Zoom link for the recurring Fiber Arts and Chat event can be found on the Library page of Lawrence’s website.