Out and About: Twist O' Wool Guild

<p> <span style="line-height: 20.8px;">In November, I announced in this blog space that I would be making more of an effort to go to at least a few of the many interesting events I come across as the community calendar editor at the </span><em style="line-height: 20.8px;">Addison Independent.</em><span style="line-height: 20.8px;"> I hoped to attend one event every 1-3 weeks.</span></p><p> I was so na&iuml;ve back then.</p><p> What with the holidays and family visits and my basic aversion to leaving the house, I managed to pencil in &mdash; and quickly abandon &mdash; plans for any number of calendar events. Until last Thursday night.</p><p> With trepidation, I went to the Twist O&rsquo; Wool Guild&rsquo;s monthly meeting at the American Legion in Middlebury. I am a longtime knitter and handspinner, and I have been wanting to check this group out for several years. I&rsquo;ve just been so busy this past decade or so.</p><p> OK, I&rsquo;m not all that busy; I just prefer to be at home. But I realize there&rsquo;s something more: I am a tiny bit scared to throw myself into a new group of people. I hate feeling like an outsider. What if they don&rsquo;t want me there?</p><p> Plus, Addison County is small. Odds are, in any new social situation, I&rsquo;m likely to run into a few people I kind of know, but whose names I can&rsquo;t remember. I am terrified of being greeted by someone who clearly knows me but whom I cannot for the life of me place. In my nervous state I tend to ask probing but totally inappropriate questions, such as, &ldquo;Hey, that wasn&rsquo;t you I saw in the court log last week, was it?&rdquo;</p><p> Nerves make me say dumb things.</p><p> Lucky for me, I was an hour late to the meeting (the time in the <em>Addy Indy</em> calendar listing was wrong, and for once it was not the calendar editor&rsquo;s error). Though my tardiness made me feel like even more of an outsider, it turned out to be a bonus because by the time I strolled in, the attendees &mdash; more than 50 &mdash; were so engrossed in a presentation on double knitting that no one looked up to question why I thought I belonged there.</p><p> It also turned out that I had brought the wrong yarn, a small problem but one that almost made me flee in embarrassment. What if people pointed and snickered?</p><p> I didn&rsquo;t arrive in time to get the instructional handouts, which seemed like a problem but wasn&rsquo;t. When you get a group of 50 people all learning a new skill, there are always two or three who can&rsquo;t quite get the hang of it. Thanks to them, the instructor had to keep starting from the beginning. In a few minutes, I was more or less up to speed.</p><p> It turns out that double knitting &mdash; a technique that allows you to knit two sides of a piece of fabric in two different colors at the same time &mdash; is a clever skill, but one that I probably will never feel the need to use. I did, however, come away with some other newfound knowledge, namely:</p><p> 1. I enjoy being surrounded by people wearing handknit garments who are clearly as infatuated with fiber arts as I am.</p><p> 2. There are many more such people around here than I suspected.</p><p> 3. I was worried that people would criticize my technique, even though I have been knitting for almost 30 years. It turns out that I am as skilled as anyone else &mdash; and, more importantly, no one cared or even paid attention.</p><p> 4. My presence was a lot less threatening to the group than I had feared. Rather than scowl at me, people either smiled or didn&rsquo;t notice me at all. The woman next to me admitted she had only ever knitted one item before coming to this meeting, so clearly I was not the only new face in the crowd.</p><p> On my way out, I signed up for a Twist O&rsquo; Wool Guild membership &mdash; a manageable $10 per year. In future meetings, there will be &ldquo;spin-ins,&rdquo; where members bring their spinning wheels and make yarn. At that time, I&rsquo;ll have a new opportunity to feel inferior, mostly about my wheel, my spinning techniques and the resulting yarn. No doubt, I&rsquo;ll discover that I&rsquo;m doing just fine (and that nobody else cares).</p><p> I look forward to it.</p>

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100