A new Crochet Guild in Tillsonburg is bringing people together for fun, social and informal gatherings, learning the crafting techniques of crochet.
The guild, which started meeting May 16th, will gather every other Tuesday 6-8 p.m., so mark May 30th on the calendar if you want to try crochet, or would like to crochet in a group environment.
St. Gelais, a certified crochet teacher, has partnered with the OCL Tillsonburg Library, who are providing space for the Crochet Guild in their Program Room.
"They're pretty excited to get something going there that can be for everybody," said St. Gelais. "People are looking for stuff to do that is cost effective and free. Just drop in, people don't have to sign up to come.
"There's nothing like it in town," she said. "I think it's a good thing just to get people back to being social, and actually getting out of the house, getting together as a community."
St. Gelais expects the Crochet Guild will appeal to all ages.
"My daughter is teaching anybody from 8-12 how to use a knitting loom, which is really easy. That gives the parents something to bring their kids to as well, if they want to be involved in the other crochet aspect. Then when the kids get older, if they want to learn crochet, we can do that too."
Everyone is welcome, no experience is necessary. If you do have experience and want to help, you may be able to help teach others with less experience.
"Normally people who know how to crochet, they're pretty good at teaching other people how to crochet. So if you know how, please come to share your skills."
It doesn't take long to learn the basic skills, she said.
"Probably by the first week you should have a basic knowledge of how to do a single crochet basic stitch. You can do so much with that first one stitch. And the rest of them are easy because it's basically looping over more than one time. I'd say the skill level is pretty easy, it's something everyone can learn and do."
She said it's an inexpensive hobby once you have your crochet hook.
"I have a ton of donor yarn, so there are supplies for people to borrow, and hooks to use."
According to St. Gelais' research, learning a craft like crocheting can reduce your chance of getting Alzheimer's by 30-70 per cent. It also builds self-esteem in a group environment, greatly reducing depression and anxiety.
"I've found it's good for people who are taking care of someone who is sick. It takes your mind off that, and it's something that puts you in control of what you are doing.
"My goal really is just to get the community out, be a little bit more social, teach younger people that they can learn something that may be though to be kind of an oldschool thing."
St. Gelais makes a lot more than just mittens and scarves - she also makes a variety of fun, stuffed animals.
"I can do clothing, toys, household goods... basically you can crochet anything."
Early response has been good, said St. Gelais, through posting on Facebook. She had about a dozen ready for the May 16th opener.
"People are really on board with it."