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It was only a matter of time before we gave the “other” Caroline her very own column on this blog! You may recall getting to know our Sales Manager Caroline Dick last fall on this blog post. We fully expect to see more posts penned by Caroline as she shares her love of knitting and yarny know-how with our readers. Enjoy!
I love to knit. I love every part of the process and the craft…even the parts that result in flinging a half-knit object across the room while cursing. So many non-knitters (or muggles, to use the Harry Potter term) view it as a quaint hobby relegated to elderly grandmothers and old maiden aunts, but it’s definitely so much more than that!
One of my favourite things about knitting is being a part of a special community, and the sub-culture that exists because of it. That strong sense of community means a huge amount of support for our craft. It’s a little like being part of a secret club, we practically have our own secret handshake!
Being a part of the knitting community means having instant friends and social groups that may not otherwise be open to you. There’s a very specific type of comraderie between knitters where knit nights become therapeutic social circles. In every knitting group I have been to, there is a shy knitter or two that would otherwise not be socializing. Knit groups are safe spaces, and people with social anxiety often feel comfortable joining a group of friendly knitters. We all know we have that one thing in common, and it’s something we can, and want to share.
In addition to all of the social aspects, there are so many wonderfully addictive things about knitting – which only other crafters can understand. It’s more than just acquiring stash, although that’s definitely a lovely part of it. I own a yarn store, and I love seeing everyone’s approach to purchasing yarn, because there are so many! First, there are those who just just impulse buy: Pretty Colours! Soft yarns! BUY ALL THE THINGS! Then, there are those who search out the perfect yarn for their proposed project: It has to be the perfect colour, the perfect fibre content, the perfect drape. Sometimes it can take hours, and there’s great pleasure to be had in the process. Lastly, there are those who simply enjoy basking in the yarn, visiting each skein like old friends and soaking up the wool fumes to get a little bit of a fiber high. Despite these three different approaches, the end game is the same: yarn, knit, enjoy!
All of this adds up to being a part of a Not-So-Secret-Secret-Club…especially if you knit in public! Doing so often means a constant deluge of strangers wanting to talk to you: they’ll tell you stories about their knitting, make wisecracks about you making them hats, or wistfully express the desire to learn how to knit. I remember being in a waiting room waiting for an appointment (I always bring knitting for such occasions); the lady next to me expressed an interest in knitting, and then with a touch of jealousy added “I wish I had time to knit, but MY life is just so busy.” Bewildered, I looked at her blankly for a moment and said “Time to knit? Like right now?” We had both been sitting in the waiting room for nearly half hour. We had a good conversation after that, and I’m pretty sure that lady came into the fold and is now a knitter.
Knitting and fibre crafting of all kinds is enjoying a renaissance right now, and the ever-increasing popularity means that more options than ever before are available to crafters. I’ve always thought that the current increase in crafting and hobbies was due to the current structure of our society – while most of us work or have daily duties, there is very little that is tangible to show for our efforts. Most people don’t even carry cash anymore, as most transactions are done with cards or online. Income increasingly received via direct deposit, and receiving a physical paycheque is a rarity for workers these days. Furthermore, very few jobs area production based: most are service industry or other non-physical approaches, so few of us go home from work having actually done something that we can touch or feel. That doesn’t mean we’re lazy, it just means our world is changing. We still work hard, we just work differently. So when we pick up some yarn and needles and actually produce something, we get a sense of accomplishment that many of us are missing from our every day lives. The sense of fulfillment that comes with actually creating something can’t be replicated. I know that for myself – this sense of accomplishment keeps me grounded and balanced. For many of us, knitting or any kind of creating is a therapy that we don’t even realize we need or want.
Last night I finished a lace shawl (Miraldas Triangular Shawl by Nancy Bush in Ancient Arts Yarn Silk Linen Heavy Lace in Under the Sea). I got excited and stayed up late grafting and blocking; this morning, I woke up and it was dry and ready to go! All morning I have been looking at it with a sense of accomplishment and pride: I made this with one long piece of string and a couple of sticks. I FREAKING MADE THIS! And I will continue to make things for that sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, for that feeling of community and inclusion. Nothing beats it!