About a month ago I was on Marly Bird’s podcast, “The Yarn Thing” , which was a fun and interesting experience. It’s not too late to have a listen. It really made me think about how I’ve grown as a knitter and a designer. I was worried that I came out sounding like a name dropper, but my skills came from somewhere. My growth as a knitter and designer is thanks to the bloggers and books I’ve read, the knitters I’ve met, and the teachers I’ve been lucky enough to learn from.
By 2005 I was already reading knitting blogs and doing a whole lot of knitting. I didn’t know many knitters, though, and it was mostly a solitary event for me. In January, when I was about 8 months pregnant, I attended a party for my husband’s work. I wore a t-shirt that I’d just bought and a recently-knit shawl. That event changed my life.
Debbie Wilson (yes, my friend who now owns Sheeps Ahoy) approached me and asked if I’d knit the shawl. I’d used silk from Fleece Artist that I’d bought at Yarn Forward, my LYS. Debbie told me that there were a group of people that got together at Yarn Forward to knit on Thursday afternoons. Her timing was perfect because I was just going on maternity leave.
I started going to the yarn store on Thursdays as well as attending my local guild meetings. I read more blogs. I knit more shawls. I listened, learned, and asked questions of people who have tons of knitting experience. I took advantage of every opportunity I could to learn something new. Lucy Neatby came and taught in Ottawa. I started attending an annual retreat that Debbie now runs. I designed some more. I started going to Rhinebeck in the fall. I went to Knitting Camp.
I’ve been lucky to take courses in person from many great knit designers as well as courses online. A couple of weekends ago I had a chance to spend some time in the company of other designers just to knit, chat, and exchange stories. The support in this community is wonderful. My world of knitting connections keeps growing.
I’m still rooted in the afternoon group that I started attending 11 years ago. I go when I can, work permitting. Those people are dear friends (and models, and test knitters, and wonderful cheerleaders for me). Their stories, recipes, and tips all come to mind when I am knitting, even when I’m alone, and they keep me company.
It seems so very appropriate to me that a craft that uses yarn has brought me such a wonderful interconnected group of people.
What does your knitting community look like?