January 27, 2013

Calling All Solitary Knitters! Get Plugged In!

Some of my peeps on a weekend knitting trip. We stayed up till 2 a.m.
every night just knitting our brains out and being together. We love each
other so much, that we call our group "The Sisterhood of the Clickin' Sticks."
Early on in my knitting life, I learned one thing very quickly: there are an unfathomable number of knitters out there!

You may not recognize them right away, but they are there. And they are waiting to befriend YOU.    

In the U.S., we have a very individualistic society. Ask any sociology major (or anyone with eyeballs) and you can easily start a discussion on many topics from why we build fences around our yards, to the concept of pursuing one's own dream, to the preservation of individual expression, to even, perhaps, why most U.S. restaurants do not serve food family style.

But if the conversation ever turns to the subject of knitting, you will find an interesting paradox.

In one of the most indivualistic cultures in the world (perhaps the most, in fact), we find individuals  who frequently strive to--no--feel driven to find creative ways to do a very individual activity together. They are the knitters.

In spite of the fact, that each one must ultimately produce his or her own final product with their own hands (most of the time), knitters find a way to make the actitivity a group effort.

They meet other like minded folks and create friendships and groups not only in Local Yarn Shops (LYS), but also in their churches, workplaces, libraries and other more unlikely places: here in Vancouver, Washington, even a local grocery store started a knitting night. And it is well attended.

And as if those local groups are not enough for us, we also carry on in a big way internationally--online at sites like Ravlery or in person through worldwide knitting tours to places like Iceland (that one is on my bucket list--I met a sheep herder from Iceland the other day and he was excited at the prospect of our work knitting group visiting his family there, but I digress) or the UK (also on my bucket list--I am descended from the Macleans of Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull...digressing again...). The point is, knitters want to knit together.

Once knitters are assembled and organized, they get shit done. Sorry, that's the fact, and I am no one of authority to deny it.

Knitters function like a world class, well oiled team of pros. If we were a football team, we would win the Super Bowl every year. If we were an olympic team, they would eventually ask us to stop competing so others could have a chance to win the gold medals.

I am not talking purely about skill--though there are some knitters out there who produce nothing less than their own works of art each and every time they set their hands to the needles--I am simply talking about community.

Knitters as a larger group stick together in a way that rivals religion. There is no cultural boundary, no mountain, no ocean that can prevent the knitting connection. You want help with a project? You will find it in spades. Skill building? It is at your fingertips if only you look. Community efforts to help the homeless? You got it. Friendship? Some of the best you will ever find--and then some.

How do you tap this resource? If you are not connected, but want to be, there is one step:

Open your mouth.

My dining room table where we sometimes sit and knit for hours on end.
Chances are you are already around other humans every single day, right? You can bet your last dollar that some of them are knitters. And they want to know you. Open up to someone. Have you ever started up a random conversation about knitting? Asked someone if they made their scarf? Admired a sweater, following the complement with the question: "who made it?"

I have. And we now have nearly 25 people in our knitting club at the dental office where I work including staff , patients and freinds and neighbors of each.

Most of you are likely already connected with knitting friends, co workers, and fellow fiber lovers. If you are, take a moment to reflect on your good fortune. But if you aren't, suprise yourself with what is already around you. It's time to get on board, climb on in, step in time, catch the wave, click those sticks, get online and get in touch.

We are waiting for you.

*I have provided a mini guide to connecting with other knitters for anyone interested in the upper left corner of the blog with a few ideas! Get your own ideas flowing, and happy knitting!

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