The woman I’d worked with the week before wasn’t in attendance and my first thought was that the fears that had been dogging me had been confirmed. It's not an easy thing to do... learning to knit or crochet. And I'm discovering it's not an easy skill to teach. I left our first W.O.W. meeting on 11/26 worried that I/we might have scared the women away with this new activity. The woman I’d worked with had told me it was her first time attending W.O.W. and I was really worried the frustration she seemed to be feeling trying to get the stitches from one needle to the other would translate into frustration with the entire W.O.W. support process. When I didn’t see her among the faces sitting around the tables on December 3rd, I was sure I’d scared her off. But Ms. Tilllie was thrilled that we were back. She told us that the women had had a wonderful time and couldn’t stop talking about what they’d learned. I noticed that many of the faces were new to me yet at least four were from the week before. I was sorry to see that Rose wasn’t there. I had sat with her for a short while the week before and we’d talked about knitting and where she was from and what she did enjoy doing. She told me she likes to quilt and was working on a denim/jeans quilt. I asked if she needed material. She said there were always enough jeans in the donation parcels but that she could use some batting. I’d brought some with me to this meeting… and I’ll keep bringing it in case she reappears.
It is difficult for the women to attend W.O.W. meetings regularly and Ms. Tilllie enthused over each and every woman present, greeting each by name and taking coffee orders. The women fill out a form at each meeting. Sections range from the familiar ‘NAME' and ‘DOB’, to the more abstract ‘BARRIERS’. That’s the section that seemed to stump Amanda, my new student who had worked with Meghan the week before. I spent the first few minutes of the meeting approaching women and asking if they’d like to learn to crochet or knit. It was refreshing to realize they had a choice and some didn’t want to learn either and were content to just be at the meeting while others found pleasure in considering the options and choosing from the great selection of yarns Ann had brought. Amanda had forgotten her bag of supplies from the week before and picked out a dark blue yarn and a crochet hook to make a scarf for her boyfriend. She struggled to hold the yarn and the needle and was moved to tears and/or laughter each time she formed a stitch. She’d hold up her sample to show Ms. Tilllie or one of the other women and they’d yell back their support and sometimes come over to see her work. She shared a lot about her life – most of the stories very personal and painful.
There is never enough room to write about all the amazing moments at each of these gatherings at CASS. (Well, there is enough room but it would mean writing pages and pages of text.) I’m grateful for every one of these moments and am looking forward to more people choosing to join us at Ann’s 13Fridays. Come on down!!!