Take back the knit by joining a knitting circle at a coffeehouse, pub or someone’s home. At informal gatherings that convene on a regular basis, experienced knitters work on personal projects, while newbies learn how to get hooked on the needle.
Sobia, a forensic biologist, formed her own group after discovering some of her friends were also closet knitters. Now the group meets every six weeks. “It’s a great opportunity to get to know people better and in a different light,” says Sobia.
“There’s something about it that leads to dishier talk,” says Aurora, an actress and part-time teetotaller. “It’s not like being in a bar where you’re yelling over a bunch of noise. It allows people to really talk and listen to one another—it’s a sanctuary.”
If Dr. Ruth and Tupperware had a lovechild, it would definitely be the at-home passion party. It works like this: a company or store representative is invited to a person’s home, along with several guests, to sell and demonstrate the latest love potions and sex gadgets.
“Someone volunteered me to try an ointment, which I put in the wrong place and suffered all night for,” says Lisa, a teacher, who hosted a party for some married friends last year. “We hadn’t laughed like that in a long time!”
Traditionally, 17th century salon gatherings were a bit like going to a formal debate: guests got gussied up, sat in a room engaged with a lecturer and/or musician and often had a meal before the evening was through. Once reserved for the elite, this historical activity has been reclaimed by today’s hipsters.
Kim, a broadcaster, has hosted several salons, giving the traditional pastime her own spin. Guests are invited to read aloud from their favourite literary works, taking turns being both the entertainment and the audience. “It’s a great way to re-connect with friends and gain insight into what inspires them,” says Kim.
Getting started: Find out more about the history of salon gatherings, then plan your own evening of intellect.
Book clubs can help you find new things to read, but with meetings convening every 2-4 weeks, it can be hard to keep up with the homework. That’s why Jen, a comedienne, arranged a new home party: The Book Swap.
Using the motto: “There’s only so many times you can read The Nanny Diaries,” guests bring two books they love and are willing to part with. Everyone randomly picks numbers from a hat to decide which order they can choose a book from the general pile or “steal” from a friend. “Sometimes you don’t get the book you want,” says Jen, “but you get something you may not read otherwise.”