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A hand warmer crochet workshop I attended today at my local library was such a lift for me. Four hours filled with an activity that was relaxing yet productive, social yet subdued, and focused yet fun.

In the past, I’ve posted that the library concept seemed outdated because I personally prefer digital books to paper, though I know many disagree. But after attending several free events, I now have a new appreciation for the public library. It struggles to survive, having to fight for its place in the town budget as it desperately seeks funds for upgrading and expansion to continue offering free services to residents like me who have undervalued its worth.

I missed out on the calligraphy class, which was full by the time I registered but am scheduled for the gingerbread house workshop this week, supplies provided. I’ve participated in the monthly cookbook club twice, which is delightful and delicious. Interested residents ask the service desk for the cookbook of the month and then select a recipe of interest. Participants prepare the food according to the recipe, bring a quantity for sharing, and exchange light banter and woes of kitchen faux pas while tasting the culinary offerings laid out in buffet style. The library supplies plates, utensils and beverages. Other events are free movies with popcorn, and last year, I enjoyed an adult coloring session.

As I always do when I discover something that I feel I should have known before, I wondered what took me so long. It doesn’t matter really. What matters is that I have opened myself up to meeting new people and trying new ways to be social and creative. In the past, I viewed creativity as a solitary pursuit, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Sometimes, I need to crawl out of my own head.

It’s cold outside, and it would have been easier to stay home and crochet on my own. But I had already decided that this was the year I would seek out more ways to expand my creative expression and put myself out there as well. So I bundled up; packed my yarn, crochet needle, yarn needle, needle threader and stitch markers; warmed up the car and went. To my delight, the hand warmers I created today alongside a small group of friendly strangers, warmed me stitch by stitch and row by row. As I saw a new pattern emerge in the fabric, I became cognizant of the same happening in me.