Oxford’s Craft & Social Group meets Tuesday evenings at Oxford Station House Community Center. L-R: Dee Farr, Barbara Balliet, Marie Davis, Linda Changon, Bonnie Session, Beth Derenburger, Maureen Reuter, Eleanor Heidrich, Chris Ade, Christina Roy. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter

OXFORD — Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. when Lois Pike unlocks the doors of the Oxford Station House Community Center she helps unleash a flurry of creative spirit. Women begin to filter in carrying bags and baskets brimming with fabric and fiber arts.

Lois Pike has coordinated Tuesday Crafters at Oxford Hills Station House Community Center for at least 10 years. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter

For the past 10 years or so (no one recalls exactly when it started), residents of Oxford and beyond have brought their fabric and fiber arts projects to the center to work on. They also bring food to share and friendship to spread.

Pike and Beth Derenburger have both been involved since the early days of Oxford’s Recreation Department.

“We wanted to make sure the building was open for the public to use,” said Pike. “There were four of us who oversaw Oxford recreation, and I had the most time available so that’s what I did on Tuesday nights. There was a group of teenage boys who would come in to shoot pool. Beth brought the first crafters in.”

“I taught adult education classes in Lewiston,” said Derenburger. “Quilt-making. And some of the students lived out this way. I invited them to bring their projects to the Center, where we could spread the quilts on large tables to work on them.”

Dee Farr of Oxford’s Christmas stockings for her grandchildren. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter

Others began bringing their own crafting on Tuesdays. Dee Farr of Oxford was one of them. Also a quilter, she had lost her driver’s license due to an eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa. She has two fiber goats and is an avid knitter. Sometimes she brings a spinning wheel and hand spins yarn. Lately she has been knitting Christmas stockings for her grandchildren.

“Not being able to drive, this is a nice way to get out of the house,” Farr said. “I have a friend drive me. I like to come socialize and be part of the community.”

A pair of socks in the works by Chris Ade of Oxford. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter

“I took a class on braiding rugs,” Chris Ade said. “I started coming about three and a half years ago to get help with a rug I started for my living room. But the rug got too big to bring. I have a few more rows to finish and when it’s done it will be 11′ by 12.5′.”

While the rug is no longer a Tuesday regular, Ade is. She works on a variety of fiber and fabric arts. Lately she’s been tackling knitting projects.

Eleanor Heidrich is an avid knitter, but also crochets, hooks rugs and does embroidery. She is knitting a hat for her  6-year-old great grandaughter, who requested that her favorite doll receive an identical one to match.

“I learned to knit from my mother when I was eight,” Heidrich said, noting that her mother only ever made socks. “I make all sorts of things for family, mostly for the girls and women. The guys don’t seem to make out so well.”

Marie Davis of Oxford is an especially important member – every week she bakes for the group. And she brings her Shih-poo Lucky. She and Lucky have been coming on Tuesdays for the last eight years.

Marie Davis and her dog Lucky have been coming to Tuesday Crafters for eight years. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter

“I do quilting and sewing,” Davis said. “But it’s gotten difficult to lug my sewing machine around so I don’t bring it very often anymore. “I just like to come to visit with everyone. And I can help others out, I enjoy teaching.”

“I brought my sewing machine in, and Marie taught me how to maintain and clean it,” Ade added.

Even with Thanksgiving only two days away, more than a dozen women came to Nov. 26. Crafters with projects to work on and food to share. Sharing conversation is more of a requirement than crafting. Some leave their work at home and just come for the friendship and food.

A few of the mittens Beth Derenburger of Oxford fashions from repurposed sweaters and fleeces. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter

Derenburger was working on all cylinders, even bringing along a cousin who was visiting from out of town for the holiday. She makes mittens from sweaters and fleeces that she sells at craft fairs. That night she was focused on rebuilding her depleted stock, having sold more than 70 pair the week before.

“I like to give my opinion on things,” Derenburger said, working away. “I am also the best sampler of food.”

Anyone who wishes brings in goodies to eat. And food being a staple of the group, each month birthdays are marked with a potluck dinner.

“It turns out, we had no birthdays in September, October, or November to celebrate,” said Pike. She expects a good turnout for the next birthday dinner, scheduled for December 6.

“The group runs on cycles. Different projects come and go. At times we’ve had lots of spinners. People hook rugs, they make cards, some do adult coloring. Soon numbers will dwindle because some will spend the winter away. And new people continue to join us.”

A completed and an in-progress pair of crocheted kids’ slippers, the work of Christina Roy of Oxford. Advertiser Democrat photo by Nicole Carter

Christina Roy of Oxford is one of the group’s new members, and also about the youngest (she joked that she had been born at the wrong time). Tuesday was her second night with the group. She had crocheted a sophisticated pair of kids-size booties in black and white, complete with faux fur, and was at work on a second set.

“I tried to scale up the pattern,” she said of the second, larger pair. “I’m not sure I’m happy with how they are coming out.”

Ade, who was knitting up some bright green socks, admired Roy’s work. “I really can’t crochet,” she lamented.

“And I can barely knit,” answered Roy.

Also new is Bonnie Session from West Paris. “I’ve come a couple of times so far. I crochet, but tonight I am just here to visit.”

Barbara Balliet of Oxford, a long-time member, will be leaving soon to spend the winter with family in Pennsylvania. An artist who enjoys knitting, rug hooking and hand-spinning, Balliet has scheduled her departure for Pennsylvania to follow December’s group birthday dinner.

“Sometimes people come just to eat,” laughed Balliet.

“There is friendship here,” said Davis. “It’s as much a social group as crafting.”

“And if someone wants to learn, everyone is always ready to teach and help,” said Ade.

Fabric, fiber, food and fun. Free for the taking at Oxford’s Tuesday Crafting and Social, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Oxford Station House Community Center.



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