Local Craft Meetups
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|All it takes is a quick look around to see that Craftster is full of inspiring posts to get your creativity flowing. But a deeper look will reveal that Craftster, like a less sinister Soylent Green, is people. It’s the community that makes Craftster really special, and the members of the community who supply all the amazing inspiration, encouragement and advice that we have all come to love and rely upon.|
As an online community, Craftster gives us an opportunity to share out love of crafting with members who are literally all over the globe. The internet can be a beautiful thing! As someone who spent her teen years writing letters on paper to pen pals around the world, and waiting weeks for a response, having a worldwide community of people who share my love of crafting right at my fingertips, is a dream come true.
One of the outcomes of this amazing community, is that some Craftsters have become interested in meeting other Craftsters in their area, and have found that Craftster is a great way to do this. Our City Guides provide a local forum which can be used in a variety of ways. If you are traveling to an area, they are a great resource for finding out about crafty places to visit, and learning about the area from locals. You can also use your local City Guide as a way to find other local Craftsters, and even organize Craftster meetups.
Some areas have regularly scheduled get-togethers, and others are less structured. Chicago area Craftsters meet semi-weekly, and Huntsville, Alabama Craftsters meet monthly. Portland, Oregon has regular meetups, as well. Not everyone who comes has to be a Craftster member, of course, and these meetups aren’t “official”, but Craftster is a great way to find like-minded people to craft with (and it’s fun to see the wonder in a crafty friend’s eyes when they see Craftster for the first time!). In Michigan, and here in Minneapolis, we are working on organizing a group. So far we have met sporadically, but interest is growing, as is attendance at each meeting. We are very informal so far, but as the group is beginning to take off, we are working on establishing our plans and traditions. I have attended several meetups and find it very rewarding. As a relative newcomer to the area, I have learned a lot about what’s here from other Craftsters, and I have finally been here long enough to introduce other Craftsters to my favorite hidden gems. Minnesota Craftsters are also working on establishing a GLBT & Allies Craftster group, so I have high hopes for future gatherings in my home town.
In addition to strictly local groups, there are also one-off meetups sometimes in various places. The moderators try to get together annually (and occasionally regional mods get together in smaller groups). We try to have at least one event for members in that area to come hang out with us, and we have met some awesome people that way. Previous mod meetups have taken place in Chicago, Portland, and Boston, plus one impromptu meetup in Indianapolis. Even before I was a moderator, I made a post on the city board in Portland before a visit there, and arranged to meet a group of Portland members for dinner. They gave me lots of good tips, and we had a blast meeting and talking crafts!
In addition to US areas, there are international City and Region guides for our overseas members. As with the US guides, some are very active, and some are rather quiet, but they are there as a great resource for you. A few international Craftsters have even met, such as Phizzychick (UK/Spain) and Rackycoo (US).
These are a few of the ways that the City Guides can be a great tool for making new “real life” friends. As always, use caution when meeting people for the first time. Meet in public, bring a friend or at least let someone know where you are going. For younger Craftsters, talk to your parents (or if they craft, bring them along! Our last Minnesota gathering had people ranging from students to Grandmothers, and our craftiness far outweighed our age differences!).
A quick word about shyness: lots of Craftsters and others feel shy about meeting people for the first time. If you are interested in joining a group, please don’t let this hold you back. Remember that many/most of the group worry about this, too. You already have something huge in common: a love of crafting. Bring along something you are working on, if you like. It’ll give you something to talk about, as well as keeping your hands busy. Craftsters are a warm, accepting bunch of folks, and great fun to spend time with!
If you have a Craftster group in your area, or are part of a craft group, knitting group, quilting circle, etc, please tell us about it! We’d love to hear how you got started, what works for your group, and any fun pics or stories you’d like to share. Happy crafting!