Stunned, I stared at the door, it was shut tight. After waiting for weeks, and traveling thousands of miles, I was locked out. Disappointment overwhelmed me, this was not the outcome I had envisioned.
Months earlier I had read an “Atlas Obscura” article about the Crochet Club of Cloughmills in Northern Ireland. The ladies of the club had recreated their entire village out of yarn, and kept it on display in the village hall. Hubby and I had a trip to Ireland planned, and I was determined to see this work of art in person.
The day finally came, having no information other than the name of the town, we set the GPS, destination… Cloughmills. It was a lengthy detour through rain and hail. We found the the hall, only to discover that it was locked.
A note on the door read, “ If you would like to see the knitted village, please call “ and it listed two telephone numbers. I called the first, it went to a message service. I called the second, a sweet sounding woman answered. She apologized profusely, but said that everyone was away on an outing, and there was no one who could let us in. It took a few moments for the news to register, I was not going to see the village.
We drove away, I pouted. Our two hour detour had accomplished nothing. I tried not to let my sullenness ruin the remainder of the day.
That evening we found a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean, and stopped for the night. My dour mood continued, and the slowservice at the hotel did nothing to help. It took several minutes for someone to come to the front desk, the manager apologized saying they were short staffed.
At dinner the service was excruciatingly slow. Our harried server explained that they had a meeting of over 60 people in the back room, and that they were doing the best they could. I just wanted to to go to bed and let this bummer of a day be done.
The next morning Hubby suggested I telephone the “the village people” one more time. If someone was available to let us in, he was willing to make the drive for a second time. I called the nice lady, she said yes, we could see the knitted village that day. We were on our way!
Upon arrival we were greeted warmly by three lovely ladies; May, Mary and Sandra. They laid a proper tea for us, and while we sipped and chatted, they showed us their creation and explained how it came to be.
May had seen where someone had done a few buildings of a town out of crochet and knit. She thought it might be something fun for their weekly crochet group to try. Seven months later the group had recreated the entire main street of their town. Over 30 people worked on the project, with 6 ladies creating the buildings. Working from photographs, they made it to scale and thoroughly detailed, right down to paper towels in the dispenser at the service station island.
They had the community garden in crochet, the church windows in perfect detail, a knitted road runs the whole length of the table. Building after building, done artistically and with great care.
The ladies also had crochet blankets, doilies, layette sets, cardigans and many more items on display. It was inspiring to see such beautiful craftsmanship, and to witness the embodiment of the word community.
We were told that visiting the knitted village has become very popular in Ireland. The Crochet Club regularly hosts other groups, and individuals, who come to marvel at the work.
May, Mary, Sandra, Hubby and I shared stories of travel, families, and of course, yarn. Too soon it was time to go, yet in our short time there we had come to feel like welcome members of their warm, loving family.
Email addresses and hugs were exchanged. They apologized again, for having missed us the day before. When they told us where they had been that day, we couldn’t help but laugh. The Cloughmills Crochet Club was the large group that had been meeting at our hotel!
Everyone laughed, shook our heads and marvelled at the coincidence, and irony, of it all. As another round of goodbyes, thanks and hugs ensued, one of the ladies said to me, “Lass, surely you live a good life”. Aye, indeed I do. Indeed I do.
Remember: If you plan to visit The Cloughmills Crochet Club, call first!