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A Whole Year of Our Zoom Group!

Ella Austin

Our wonderful Zoom group has been running every week for over a year now! The group has been so valuable through difficult lock downs; a way to connect and something to look forward to. We plan to keep it going even when groups can meet in person again, as there are unique benefits to meeting virtually. We know that not everyone is convinced, and it’s fair enough to know if Zoom is not for you! But just in case you’re curious we thought we’d share more about what we do – and heartily invite you to join us!

The Wool on the Exe Zoom group meets every Friday afternoon, from 2pm until 3.30pm. The meeting invitation is sent out by email earlier in the day and you can simply click the link to join in.

Our group varies in size, but there are usually between 10 and 20 of us. Some of us join in every now and then, others quite regularly, and some come every week. There is no pressure to commit, and you’re welcome to join in late, leave early, dropping in and out to suit you, however you wish!

We are a mixture of staff, members of Wool on the Exe, friends of the shop, customers, and sometimes relations of customers. Some of us are local to Exeter, and some are not - everyone is welcome!

The group is hosted by Ella, who works in the shop. She tries to say hello to each person as they enter, although it’s sometimes tricky if we’re mid-flow in the conversation. We don’t put anyone on the spot, allowing everyone to contribute in their own way. In this way we all gradually get to know each other, sharing ideas, inspiration and all sorts of tips. Sometimes these relate to knitting and fibre art such as Jane’s book recommendation, Joyful Mending, or Rena’s tip for a stretchy knitted cast-off. Sometimes they’re completely unrelated! Such as Trudi’s favourite tights, or some beautiful-looking chocolates that were recommended by a few people!

A regular feature of the groups is Laura’s quizzes! Most weeks, at about 3pm, Laura will do a short quiz for us; ten questions on a range of topics. There is no note-taking, no point-scoring, we simply call out the answers if we know them, never having to put our knitting or crochet down. Even those of us who aren’t generally fans of quizzes enjoy them – and we usually end up laughing together through them!

A few times we’ve watched things together, with Ella attempting the ‘share screen’ feature of Zoom while we watch something short on YouTube! We’ve enjoyed seeing Margaret’s choir and Jan’s choir with the videos that their groups put together. We’ve also watched a couple of very short films together as recommended by Lesley, and particularly enjoyed Black Hole

We have even had a cook-a-long bonus meet up where Laura taught us to make taralli and bruschetta to varying degrees of success (the gluten free version didn’t work so well!)

Mostly though, we just chat, showing each other the projects we’re working on or what we’ve just finished making. We love seeing the progress of each other’s work, from the idea to the finished piece, and hearing the story of how it was made, any challenges that were overcome, and who the recipient will be.

We always welcome new members so if you’re interested in being added to the email list please fill out this form and we will send you the Zoom link every Friday.

We’ve invited the Zoom group members to share a little more about what the group means to them - thank you for sharing, Helen and Natasha!

"It’s hard to put into words what Wool on the Exe face book groups means to me. But here goes, to start with I refer to Zoom calls in a slightly weird way I say to my husband “don’t forget I’m going to Exeter at 2pm this afternoon”. I first found Wool on the Exe in January 2018 when I found myself traveling to relatives in Cornwall but with no yarn or needles to sooth my stress. Staying overnight in Exeter I googled yarn shops when I woke on a Saturday morning then after breakfast I asked Mark (my husband) to navigate us there. Well! I found a happy place. So much more than just a yarn purchase. Immediately Mark found himself drawn in and welcome enjoying a bit of banter with Debbie whilst I wandered around gleefully squishing yarn. Since then Wool on the Exe is my go to place for all things connected with my knitting habit. We visited every 6 or seven weeks.

Then the pandemic hit. My shopping became online only. I learned about the Zoom group via Facebook but I didn’t join right away first of all I thought why would a group of women in Devon welcome me an interloper from Surrey?  Also I was working from home so the time clashed with my designated work pattern. But the pandemic rolled on and my work pattern changed and I took the plunge and asked for an invitation. I was made welcome form the start we all just go on line and take our knitting or craft work even just chat. As we moved into 2021 I retired from work. I look forward to this group so much. You can ask any sort of knitting problem and get help. In fact the group are lovely people supportive and wise in so many ways. I’m grateful for the commitment to keep it going beyond lockdown."

- Helen

"Being able to be part of the group chat via Zoom means I am able to participate in something that would be far more challenging otherwise due to my lack of mobility. I like the way we can drop in and enjoy each other's company and share our "under construction" and finished projects. We always have interesting conversations and share ideas and inspiration. I am so pleased that you will be continuing with these."

- Natasha



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