I first read about the Urban Craft Center on Craft Critique's blog. I was a bit intrigued by the description of this possible crafter's paradise but the pictures made me say, "I want to go to there."
I visited their very cute website and found out they host a Stitch and Bitch group the first Wednesday of every month that is open to anyone who knits or crochets. Usually I work on Wednesdays and it would be impossible to make it from Fullerton to Santa Monica in thirty minutes during rush hour; however, I had a special day off yesterday so I decided to take the opportunity to check this place out. My friend Susanne, a very skilled crocheter, joined me on this delightful romp into happy craft land.
I will admit I was a little nervous that this place would be too trendy or uppity for my taste but I was pleasantly surprised at how cozy it was once we got there. Thanks to forgiving traffic, we arrived about thirty minutes earlier than planned and spent the extra time just browsing and drooling over all the super fabulous fabric, yarn, and fun crafting tools they sell in the store. When 6:00 rolled around, we asked the nice girl behind the counter about the Stitch and Bitch group and where it usually meets and how it works etc. When she found out we had never been there before she was more than happy to show us around and make us feel welcome.
Normally the knitters and crocheters who show up for the group sit on the comfy orange couches (see picture above) and just hang out and do their thing. Last night though there was an intro to knitting class using that space so we ended up hanging out in a back room that is filled with an impressive library of craft books. Two other knitters showed up and we all spent the next two hours working on the various projects we brought and talking about this and that. I loved that our conversations weren't just about yarn and what we do with it, they were about life in general. We were all given little windows into each other's daily existence. Yarn was what brought us together but it wasn't all we had to talk about.
When it was time to go we all parted ways and said we hoped to see each other again sometime. Susanne and I left feeling good about having accomplished something in the company of interesting people. I loved that I was there just to knit. I don't usually have trouble knitting at home these days but there is always that nagging feeling that I could be doing something "important" like washing dishes or vacuuming or folding laundry (or blogging- hehe). Home is a distracting place sometimes so actually planning to go somewhere else and spend two whole hours just working on a sock was lovely.
Overall, I found my visit to The Urban Craft Center to be an enjoyable experience. If it wasn't all the way out in Santa Monica I would probably be tempted to spend lots of money there. You can purchase various memberships for various levels of access to all of their tools and work space. The most expensive membership even includes a locker for storing projects and supplies. They also offer some very fun sounding classes but most of them are a little pricey for me. I don't necessarily think they are charging too much for the instruction they are giving (and the materials are usually included), I just don't have the means to spend $40 - $100 learning how to make something I could probably figure out on my own with the help of the internet. If you are a crafter looking for a great crafting atmosphere, I recommend stopping by and hanging out for a while- it really was a fun place.
2433 Main Street,
Santa Monica, CA 90405