After a few weeks of rainy, cold fall weather, many people feel the call of their wool hats, socks and sweaters and find themselves reaching into closets and drawers to shake out these seasonal items. Other folks feel the call on a more basic level, brandishing knitting needles and crochet hooks to make their own warm garments. As the snow accumulates in the mountains, and the rain soaks the valleys, these crafters find reasons to come together in the warmth of community to share their talents, their patterns and their yarn.
The Delta County Libraries provide convenient, comfortable venues for such gatherings, and several of the libraries hold regular knitting and crocheting sessions, inviting anyone from the public who would like to perfect skills or simply enjoy the company of others. These gatherings are not exactly classes, as most do not feature a regular instructor, but the group members gladly help each other to complete projects at any level.
Jane Kelso leads a monthly knitting group at the Paonia Library which usually takes place on the third Saturday of each month. She emphasizes that everyone is welcome, regardless of age or skill level. "Although this group is mostly grown-ups, we have some families attend. Knitting is a great skill to learn at any age, and we would be happy to teach anyone interested in learning." She adds, "My mother taught me at age 14, and then I taught my daughter."
Participants of all ages also attend the weekly group at the Hotchkiss Library on Wednesday afternoons, where babies cuddle in colorful knit sweaters, teenagers learn basic techniques, and adults begin complicated projects with beautiful yarns. Sarah Pope started the program three years ago and has been pleased to watch it develop. She explains, "The group has grown to include knitting, crochet, felting, doll making and more. We've had all levels and types of fiber artists join us. We started out meeting once a month, but now meet once a week. It's a great place to meet and enjoy the local community during the cold winter months."
Fiber arts and crafting programs in various forms take place at all the Delta County Libraries. In addition to regular group sessions, Kelso says, "Paonia also hosts a yarn swap and yarn craft book sale each month. In January we are planning our fiber arts day with knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and carding and spinning fleece." Delta Library holds a weekly knit and crochet group on Monday evenings called "Talk and Tangle," a title which likely describes what really goes on at these gatherings. A crafts group meets at the Cedaredge Library on Tuesday mornings where all projects and ideas are welcome, including those involving yarn. The Crawford Library offers monthly craft days, often focusing on scrapbooking and card making.
Crafting with a community group is an excellent way to combat the tedium brought on by cold weather and short days. The Delta County Libraries strive to provide such venues for patrons hoping to pass the time, learn a new skill, fulfill a goal, or make some new friends this fall and winter.