I went to Etsy Craft Night for the first time last night.  I had visited the offices in DUMBO, Brooklyn before in a professional capacity (I am starting a nonprofit program to teach sewing, crafts, and business methods in the Arab American community where I live) but to be honest I was just as interested in snooping around the office, seeing all the cool stuff, and talking about crafting.   So I decided to return with needles and crochet hooks in hand to one of the Monday night get-togethers they have, either teaching a specific craft or, like last night, an open crafts night.  I also thought it would be a way to try the old “meet people with common interests” tactic: I tend to be somewhat of an introverted, socially inept hermit who loathes/is incapable of small talk but I could really use some new girlfriends.  Or crafty menfriends.

When I arrived there were 4 tables pretty full of crafters busily creating and nattering away, and one table that was relatively empty.  So I set myself up there.  For company, an older Chinese woman who spoke absolutely no English, and a man who was singing Christmas carols and theme songs to 70s sitcoms (“Come and knock on my door…”) loudly to himself, or asking everyone in the room when their birthday was.  Right.  So this plan is going well.

I engrossed myself in crafting–I started with a sort of felt penny rug design for my mirror’s pendulum, tried to help the Chinese woman with her sewing machine using pantomime to communicate, and started to feel like I was at work, where I fix sewing machines and communicate with body language, pidgin English, and gestures every day.  There was a film crew there from MSNBC (or was it MSN?) doing a piece about Etsy, and they shot us as a group and a few individuals.  Would have been a good opportunity for me to publicize my women’s co-op if it were only a few months later and we had a website/Etsy store to send people to.  Oh, and if I weren’t mortally terrified of being on camera.  Um.  Gotta work on that.

I must say I did find it rather funny, just because I love unintentional sabotage, that my tablemate launched into another medley of holiday tunes at top volume while the woman at the next table was getting interviewed about her plastic bag crochet.  Should make for interesting background noise if that segment makes it into the show.  I suppose in September when it’s supposed to air it’ll be vaguely more seasonally appropriate.

A few newcomers arrived and joined our scraggly group–a young woman working on a knitted blanket of hand-dyed wool, and the younger relatives of the Chinese woman, who admired my melty-edged fabric flowers (tutorial here).  I hit it off with the blanket girl, who turned out to be another nonprofit dreamer interning for StoryCorps (and spoke pretty decent Mandarin!), and we all fell into a rhythm of crafting, chatting about our lives, expressing excitement over each others’ creations, helping each other out, and running around the room scrounging supplies.

At the end of my 2 1/2 hours there, we all gave each other fond farewells and the flower ladies translated for the older woman, who said she wished she could communicate with us more and thanked me for my help.  I had met and gotten along with 2 women around my age, one of whom is going back to college in New England next month and the other who lives in Shanghai.  :-S  And I had finished my penny rug pendulum, which I immediately decided I didn’t like and replaced with the fabric flower:

I think it has potential.  And so does Etsy Craft Night.