There’s no doubt about it, we are social animals and knitters, weavers, sewers and spinners are among the best at creating community. Before the advent of the internet, the only way for knitters to know what other knitters were doing, is to go to their local yarn store, or visit your neighbors.
This past weekend was the Conference of Northern California Handweavers. Not only were there weaving, but classes in spinning, basket weaving, felting and sewing. It was great fun and I can now spin cashmere fiber into yarn! The coming together of like minded crafters is exciting, inspiring and invigorating. By seeing other people’s work, I was able to look at my own work in a new light and critique it with a more neutral eye. I have a tendency to be overly critical, but when you see someone else’s uneven selvedges. you realize that your own aren’t so bad.
In the knitting community, there are also many great conferences. Among them are Stitches, taking place in four different locations. Information may be found at http://www.knittingunivers.com/stitches. Also Vogue Knitting Live, and Knitting Lab happen in different parts of the states. The conferences are usually put on by knitting magazines, and its very easy to get additional information about conferences by simply Googling “Knitting Conferences”
But what I really like is the coziness of seeing like minded people face to face. On a regular basis I go to two different fiber groups. One focuses on weaving and the other is more aligned with knitting. Each have their own flavor but one thing they both have in common, we are a community of crafters joining in a love of our craft. I think it is very important to have that human interaction, to be able to touch and see in person what that person is creating. It’s fun for the group to share their projects and critique what’s going well or how maybe we decided to rip out that whole shawl two rows before it’s finished because that yarn just didn’t work after all.
This week I was swatching yarn I had spun and before I spin more, I wanted to make sure that I would like it in a garment. I’m actually liking it, and will probably spin more, because I have a lot of this fiber. I love both of the groups I go to. I get ideas for projects, I get to see what works for others and I get good feedback on what I’m making.
But there is so many more ways to connect with other knitters and crafters. I enjoy many online knitting communities. The largest community of knitters has to be Ravelry. It is an excellent way to meet knitters, keep track and share your projects and yarn stash. It is especially great if you want just want someone to chat with and get help with your project. You can bet there will be someone online 24/7, since Ravelry has a worldwide community. If you haven’t checked out Ravelry yet, you can get information at http://www.Ravelry.com
Another knitting community I’ve just recently connected with online is the Saturday morning Knitchat on Twitter. It’s an hour long chat, with a knitting topic. People from all over the world join in and it’s lots of fun. A recent topic was about knitting socks. We examined a number of aspects of sock knitting, and opinions were tossed about. If you have a Twitter account, follow @CloudyNatKnit and use the hashtag of #knitchat to follow along.
It’s great to be able to connect with other crafters in real life as well as online. What I’m really looking forward to this fall when I go on the Spin Off Autumn Retreat in Lake Tahoe, and get to make that connection with spinners!
How about you? Do you have a community that resonates with you?