I wouldn’t normally associate insects and crafting, but I recently made a friend in one of my EEB classes who is also into knitting, sewing and making crafts. We decided, while making hymenoptera collections, to venture out last night to see what U of T’s version of a craft night looks like. So there we were, curled up in armchairs with balls of wool of every colour strewn across a couch in Hart House, sipping hot chocolate and talking about everything from Chinese geography to knitting patterns.
Welcome to the Hart House Craft Night. I had read about the event in a summer edition of The University of Toronto Magazine. Craft Night at Hart House is a free event held on Tuesday nights in the Hart House Reading Room throughout both the fall and winter terms (and as far as I can tell, during the summer, too). For students and non-students alike, it’s a casual night open to all, regardless of whether you knit, sew, crochet, draw, paint miniatures for model railways or craft in any other form. All that’s needed to participate are supplies, which you bring, and you’re set to work.
Accessed through the front doors of Hart House and the first door on the left, the Reading Room is a cozy space filled with colourful couches and massive lounge chairs, tables upon which to sprawl out projects and snacks, and a warm golden light that is neatly balanced between being neither too bright nor too dim. If, like me, you forget to write down where the event is held, you can also ask the staff at the information desk.
While there weren’t many people in attendance (I imagine the end of term is taking its toll on crafters and non-crafters alike), there were a few small groups casually working on projects and enjoying the conversation. My friend and I (obvious newbies, perhaps?) were invited to sit with others and got to work.
One of the crafters, Marrit, worked on needlepoint embroidery; another, Yuko, was making an adorably small scarf in crimson wool for her daughter. Another crafter, who hadn’t knit in a few years, got tips and a brief tutorial from others and then started a brand new project. My friend worked on a merino scarf and I dove back into a thoroughly imperfect sweater that I’ve been working on for close to two years (yikes!).
Throughout the year, these crafters also put together events like Craft Week, which consists of one week of free crafting workshops. Topics include learning to knit or crochet, paper flower making, English paper piecing and button-making. Last year, Hart House also hosted Operation Sock Monkey, Sock-Monk-a-thon, another free event that saw the proceeds made from sock monkeys go towards communities affected by HIV/AIDS.
For further information on the Hart House Craft Night and related events, contact Day Milman, Coordinator of Programme and Outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.