Learning the ropes


From foreground, Mackenzie Tabor, mother Kari Tabor and grandmother Debbie Thompson work on macrame projects at Pendleton Community Public Library on Sunday, Jan. 30.

PENDLETON — Ten 7-foot sections of cord, a 12-inch piece of dowel and a piece of twine.

These are the raw materials set out for students to use during Simple Macramé Wall Hanging, a class offered at Pendleton Community Public Library on Sunday afternoon.

The class was set up for beginners with enough time for them to complete the project, but anyone assuming those in attendance wanted simply to make something to fill a blank spot on a wall would be mistaken.

To put a finer point on it: Afraid not.

The class was part of the library’s Hygge Winter Afternoon series. A poster for the series includes a definition: “Hygge (pronounced Hue-guh) is a Danish word used to acknowledge a special feeling or moment. It can be alone or with friends. Ordinary or extraordinary but is always cosy, charming or special.”

Those who came out had various reasons to explore the craft, from a type of physical therapy, to developing activities to help people with disabilities, to spending time with their children away from the distractions of modern life.

Barbara Barnett of Ingalls was one of the first ones to arrive.

She said she participates in a lot of library programs, and this one — with its tying of knots and crisscrossing of thick rope — seemed like it would be perfect to help with autoimmune issues that affect her hands.

“I just know keeping your hands moving helps, ” she said prior to the start of class.

Barnett said she had done macramé decades ago as a child in 4-H. By the middle of the class — after arranging the cords on the dowel and tying the knots in a pattern as she worked down the ropes — said she made a good choice.

“It’s calming,” she said. “If you just want to sit and do something, it’s very calming to do.”

Melissa Nemeth and her adult daughter Payton Chelmella, like Barnett, are regulars at library programs, Nemeth said.

She said she remembers doing macramé in her Brownie troop.

“We made an owl wall hanging,” she said.

Chelmella, a 2015 Pendleton Heights graduate and recreational therapist at Hillcroft Services in Muncie, said she had a professional interest in checking out the class.

She works with people with disabilities and was considering macramé as an activity for clients.

“I have never done it before,” she said at the start of class.

Midway through the class she said she thinks macramé will be good fit for her clients, because it uses “a lot of fine motor skills, and sequencing, and memory, those kinds of things.”

Erika Finn, who signed up with her daughters Fiona, 10, and Anika, 15, said she was there for quality time.

“It’s just a really nice way to spend time with my daughters in a non-distracted environment, free of phones and technology.”

Debbie Thompson and her daughter Kari Tabor and granddaughter Mackenzie Tabor were simply there for the fun of it.

“We all love crafts, so we thought this was a great idea,” Thompson said.

Near the end of the class, instructor Jen Black, program and outreach specialist at the library, said someone had just told her they found macramé to be therapeutic.

“That is perfect. If you feel like that, that is exactly what we’re going for,” she said.


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