Our focus at Marine Mills Folk School is on building connections and community. We couldn’t be more pleased to introduce instructor Liz Towers, who is new to our area and new to MMMFS, but definitely not new to fostering community. Her not-so-secret agenda in any of her knitting classes is to encourage both the growth of skills and of community.
Welcome to Marine! Why settle in a small town? My husband recently retired as a pastor, and we wanted to find someplace within an hour of our kids and grandchildren. But it was more than just the location that grabbed us. The outstanding natural beauty of the area and access to the St. Croix River was a draw. We also noticed immediately that people were welcoming, they weren’t just being polite, they were truly friendly. We wanted to become part of a community, and we found that here.
Photo Credit: Susan Knapp
Yet living in a small town brings some inconveniences, with fewer services and amenities…Perhaps, but I love the ‘can do’ attitude we found. We learned that in response to a plan to close the library, citizens came together and worked with the County to open a volunteer library that is still going strong after nearly a decade. I love walking across the historic Red Bridge and seeing the names of families that got involved in preserving village history and that beautiful walking route. And how wonderful that we have the oldest village hall in the state that is still used for governmental purposes as well as a community gathering place. Marine residents value history and volunteerism, and we love being a part of that community.
“We’re lucky to have Liz teaching in Marine. She is so humble, but I learned she is a judge at national knitting events! We get the benefit of her great coaching and teaching skills, right here.” — a recent student
Speaking of community, why is embracing community important to you? I’ve had the unique opportunity to learn the inside stories of many people. People are more courageous and more resilient than they first appear, everyone has challenges. We know the world is often harsh, but you have the option to dwell on the negative or not. I’ve found that by helping create connections between people, you can create small positive changes that add up.
Photo Credit: Submitted by Liz Towers
When did you begin knitting, and why do you teach? I learned to knit from a book when I was 9, and my first attempt was appalling! In fact, many of my early pieces were horrible. At bible college in California, I found I got more out of lectures when my hands were busy. Somehow my mind was better able to focus. I eventually took courses and received teaching certificates from the Yarn Council of America. I teach because I enjoy passing on my skills and because I’ve learned it’s a way to create and become part of a community.
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” –G.K. Chesterton
What do you hope attendees will get out of your classes? Of course, I hope they’ll feel confident that they’ve mastered, or are on the way to mastering, a new skill. But I especially hope they’ll leave feeling capable and creative. That they will feel emboldened to take on new things, either a knitting project or something else.
Photo Credit: Submitted by Liz Towers
What is something people don’t know about you? I was a drum instructor for the Alexandria High School marching band
What would you do with a spare month of time? Sail on Lake Superior in our 28 foot ‘Rosebud’
Favorite food: Home-made bread
Skill you wish you had: That I could sing beautifully
Recommended books? For knitters, I strongly recommend Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman I also love any book written by either of my two talented brothers, such as Peace Like A River by Leif Engers and The High Divide by Lin Engers