Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stitching Bloggers' Question of the Month - July Edition

Stitching is an activity that tends to be solitary.  Sometimes I wonder if we choose stitching because we are more comfortable with pursuits that we do alone, or does our stitching cause us to be loners?  So what do you think? 
And you know that I can never stop with just one question or thing to think about, so here’s something else that’s been on my mind. 
Since we’re stitching alone most of the time, it seems to me that we get great joy from coming together with other stitchers.  It can be such a good feeling when we find a group of people who speak our language and understand our stitching excitement and passion.  But since not all stitchers are perfect, not all groups can be perfect either.  So…if you could create your own perfect stitching group, what characteristics would make it perfect?
For instance, would you all be near the same age, or would you like your group to span a generation or two?  Would you enjoy political or religious discussions while you stitch or would that make you shy away?  Would you like a big group or a small group?  Those are just a couple of variables in groups…tell us what’s important to YOU.

You know as I read this, I thought some of you are going to hate me. Well, I guess hate is a really strong word. But you might be very jealous. And if you are, please remember that it hasn't always been this way for me...

Let's take this one step at a time. Am I more comfortable with solitary pursuits or did my stitching make me this way? Kind of a chicken or the egg type question. First, for those of you who ever took a Myers-Briggs test, I am an INTP. When I first took this test back in 1989, I ranked fairly high on the introvert section. And funnily now, when I tell my friends I'm an introvert, their first reaction is "You? Ha!" But truly I am an introvert. Twenty years of traveling courtesy of the US Army taught me that life is too short to hide in your house unless you want to be miserable all the time. I have learned to go forth and put myself out there. Would I sometimes rather be home reading or stitching? Yup. My answer to this question is that yes, I was more comfortable being alone and stitching alone can be a tremendous pleasure. The aloneness came first for me. 

As to the stitching group question. I don't have to theorize. Or fantasize. 

I belong to two different groups that meet every week for stitching. Some people who belong to those groups read this blog. I love every one of you!

I've been stitching with my Thursday morning group since 2006 if I've got my dates correct. This group started at the Scarlet Thread in Vienna. When I first showed up, it was the store owner and one other person, with an occasional other person stopping by. Within a year, we had grown into a group of regulars with a few occasional drop-ins. The store moved 2008 and we moved with it. And when the store closed in 2009, one of the members offered up a conference room in her condominium building. 

Our oldest member will be 83 this fall. And right now she's in Australia. Sometimes the group gets a bit too loud for her to understand exactly what we're all saying, but I'll look up and see her looking around and smiling, enjoying the energy. That's what happens when you've got ten people all talking at once.

We have some newer members who weren't ST customers. The group has remained fluid. We've had someone move away this year, which we all regret. And we have a couple old time members that we haven't seen in a good long while. But we stay in touch and they say they will stop by sometime. Not everyone makes every Thursday. But we all want to.

As stitchers, we work on everything. There is no end to the variety of things that people are working on. One of the hugest joys is seeing what others are making and then celebrating the finishes. We also talk about everything. I know we don't all have the same politics. Or the same religious viewpoints. But we've managed to hold discussions on issues without being insulting. We do talk about families and husbands. But not all the time. We talk about books and movies and current events. We bitch, because we can, and we know that no one in the room is going to judge us. 

When I have to miss a Thursday, my week is incomplete. I can arrive here in a crabby mood and I know I will feel better by the time I leave. I think we've grown from a casual group of acquaintances to friends who love and support each other. 

Now, not only do I have my fabulous Thursday friends, I have also have a group of Friday friends. We all belong to the same EGA chapter. And we meet after lunch on Fridays. I'm so happy to have joined with these ladies. Earlier this summer we had one of our members move away and again, that is heart wrenching. There is a totally different feel to this group. Not better or worse. Just different. Maybe a little more discussion here about families. But we still can and do talk about everything. And love and support each other.

 And I'm running out of time. Need to run someone to the airport. So here's a quick shout out to the Tuesday night group that I sometimes drop in and visit. I should be able to stitch with them this week! High energy and fun. 

I am tremendously fortunate to have developed all these real life stitching friends. Nothing is more fun than being with other people who share this love of mine.  


Anna van Schurman said...

I'm an INTJ. Know exactly what you mean.

Kathryn said...

Since I am also an introvert, I know exactly what you mean. Being introverted does NOT mean that we are socially inept. It just means that people can exhaust us. We just need more alone time. Extroverts, by definition, are excited to be around people and are antsy when they are alone.

Sara Leigh said...

As a member of the Thursday morning and Tuesday night groups, I enjoy the diversity of both. The Tuesday night group skews younger, but both groups span several decades age-wise. In our Tuesday group we're all excited about the youngest member's new pregnancy. Her child will have so many aunties! And like you, Donna, I love them all! If I can't make it to at least one group every week, it leaves a hole in the week that can't be filled even by stitching at home alone.

C in DC said...

Being an introvert doesn't mean one is shy. One of the strongest I's I ever knew was also an accomplished socializer - he just couldn't do it for extended amounts of time.

When I first took the test, I was smack in the middle and flip-flopped between E & I. Now, many years later, I'm so far on the E side, it's extreme. While I appreciate and enjoy some alone time, if I don't have daily interactions with other adults, I go crazy.

Front Range Stitcher said...

Hi Donna, Love your post and July question.

Perfect stitchy group: positive, talented and energetic people...however, not in over abundance since I'm only half positive, half talented and half energetic myself. I'd rather enjoy a group of close and trusted friends but also see myself being a part of a group strictly for stitching, not so much socializing. With one exception, all the groups I attend consist of the latter rather than the former. I wonder if that is indicative of most people's experience?

All ages work well for me though I admit gravitating to the "baby boomer and above" generations. Like minds politically and/or religiously speaking isn't on the radar screen of importance for me; but it's fun getting to know people better through learning their views on things. Group size: 10 or under. Weekly meetings or semimonthly would be great. This is good for me since my family doesn't live in the area, but most people here seem to have more to do than I do to keep them busy and might not be able to manage meeting this frequently. Also, my perfect group would share the same enthusiasm and commitment for getting together.

I haven't taken the MB instrument yet but think I am an introvert that needs adult interaction but requires a lot of down time for myself. Hmmmm, I think I enjoy my own company, can entertain myself nicely but wouldn't survive long without the love and care of friends and family. My hospice volunteering activities helped me recognize my own need for fulfillment that arises out of helping and nurturing others.

Whew! I got carried away. Hope more people respond to your post; I view this(putting oneself "out there") as an act of bravery.