The room was awash with hands in motion.
Several dozen women were gathered at Spoonflower on a recent Tuesday night for its Meet Up group, Pins & Needles. The women were quilting, sewing (both by hand and on machines), crocheting, knitting, and all chatting while doing so. The hum of sewing machines set the background beat as some pieces were sewn together and growing, and others were ripped apart to be redone.
The group meets monthly (although it soon will move to a quarterly schedule) at the Durham custom fabric producer’s headquarters. They come to work on crafts in different mediums and for different reasons: stress relief, friendship, inspiration and space to spread out.
Adele Kresica, 63, of Cary, was working on a project for Softies for Mirabel, a yearly handmade toy drive that Spoonflower has participated in for five years. She was crocheting a puppy with the body extended before her, taking shape with each whip of her hook. Her daughter was cross-stiching a separate project a few seats away.
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“I’ve always found it really neat because there are always people here to bounce ideas off of. There’s always things to learn,” said Kresica, as her stitches slowly made progress. “It’s been a really embroadening experience to come. Plus very enjoyable. It’s a nice evening getaway; there’s no judgments here. And I think that’s part of the thing, we all feed off of each other and teach each other and learn things from each other. It’s a really cool thing.”
Angie Proctor, 36, of Chapel Hill, was quilting at the next table. “Sewing for me is a very good release. My job can be very stressful, so to be able to come home or go to Pins & Needles and just create something is like the best counter to stress.” A research associate at the UNC-Chapel Hill, Proctor started coming to the group around two years ago and comes each time it meets.
In the corner, three women from the Professional Art Quilters Alliance-South were busy cutting out thousands of squares for Cary’s Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival. They were making the pieces needed for a kids’ hands-on activity to help the children’s understanding of a quilt, explained Katy Gollahon, 67, of Chapel Hill.
“We needed a place where people could come as a group and not make somebody’s husband crazy,” Gollahon said. Out of the 4,000 five-inch squares of fabric and 2,000 four-inch squares of batting, the trio still had 200 more to make.
Across the room, Kristin Skipper, 57, and her daughter Katie, 23, both of Pittsboro, were working on a version of a Cinderella dress that Kristin noted would ultimately take several hundred hours of work. She’s retired from the U.S. Foreign Service and said she was excited to find out about the group “because it’s so hard when you’re moving to a new place to build a new friend group and these are people who have interests in common with me that I wasn’t finding in my immediate neighborhood. So [it’s] been great.”
Betsy Greer is a Durham-based writer who writes about craft and activism at craftivism.com. Reach her at email@example.com
The next Pins & Needles is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Spoonflower, 2810 Meridian Parkway, Suite 176, Durham.