Crafting in Community

Maybe it is because we all create instead of tear down. Maybe we’ve gone through the same triumphs and tribulations in our work. Maybe because your expertise and skill doesn’t threaten mine. Whatever the reason, I have found the overwhelming majority of crafters are the nicest people. They are kind, compassionate, appreciative; teachers, artists, friends.

I attended a local Sheep and Wool festival this year. There was yarn in “all stages”. From all the animals that produce it to cards, roving, hand spun, commercially created, all the way to finished objects available for purchase. I discovered there is even a type of yarn that is produced from corn. (What can’t you make from corn? We can make drinking cups, fuel… why not yarn?)

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Corny Goodness OMG Yarn in Raspberry Twist

The whole day was filled with speaking with people about their craft. One shop owner was setting up her spinning wheel, which completely entranced my little nephew. She saw us watching and explained how everything worked to us, including a history of spinning. At the next shop, I paused to watch someone weave on a floor loom. When I asked how it worked, she popped out of her chair and cheerily replied “Come, sit! I’ll teach you!”

Now it is all great when you are at a festival and people on trying to sell their wares. You smile and make friends as part of sales and marketing. But I have also found such a great depth of kindness and compassion in chance meetings with people in shops and the online crafting community that it can’t be a coincidence.

The online community in places like Ravelry, knitting blogs, and forums really shine. People love to share their work and appreciate yours. I have often soliciting opinions or advice from these sources and all the comments are kind! Advice is unassuming. It typically sounds like this: “It looks like you are doing X which is causing [that problem]… Here’s what worked for me to fix/ prevent that…”

I love striking up a conversation with someone at a coffee shop or waiting for my oil change to be done or at the airport. They are sitting and knitting or crocheting, pleased to watch the world over their yarn. But you ask what they are making and who it is for and you can watch their eyes light up. They’ll tell you about their soon-to-be first grandchild and how excited they are while they make baby hats or blankets. Or about their friend going through cancer treatment while they make a prayer shawl. Or their husband whom they adore as they knit on a pair of socks. Or a bear to give away to a child they’ve never met. I think yarn is woven through life. We make things to mark special occasions and connect with special people. It is love that you can touch and hold and will hold you back.

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Knitting in a Cafe

The kindness of the knitting community actually encouraged me to overcome some social anxiety and meet new people. I started going to a new church. Even though the people were really friendly, my little introvert-heart was intimidated by greeting people on Sunday morning. I was scared of going to a group on a week night because even though there were fewer people, they probably already knew each other and were all friends already. Then one of the women’s groups hosted a knitting night. That’s when I finally took the step to join the community there. (It is great!)

You are all now a part of my community. A large part of my reason for starting this blog is because for support, understanding, and kindness. So thank you and welcome.

What about you?

How do you add beauty, joy, or kindness to your community?

How do you connect with others?

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