I love the lively, interesting and wide-variety of people I can find in the online Knitting Community. Like many of you, I have my favorite YouTube podcasters, as well as some audio podcasters that I watch or listen to regularly. I enjoy browsing through Ravelry or Pinterest to see what’s new or what some of my favorite designers have been creating. There are also the bloggers who share the same love of knitting and writing that I do and show me something new every time I read their posts.
I genuinely love the Internet for it’s ability to give us such a large resource pool for the things we love and wish to learn more about. It takes our ability to connect with people who share our interests to a literally global scale. Pretty awesome, right?
However, I cannot go for a walk with Katie and Rollie of Inside Number 23.
I cannot go to Knit Night with Shannon of Soxcetera in spite of the fact that we have a lot of things in common
I won’t even get to spend time trying a new natural dyeing technique with Sara of Yarns at Yin Hoo even though she lives closer and lives in a Chinese Tea House!! I lived in China for almost 10 years so I find that especially cool.
I just want to hang out with all the knitters. Everywhere.
So, a really great thing happened this week. No, I did not get to hang out with the aforementioned podcasters. I did get to meet one that I had only previously seen on YouTube, but more on that later.
The great thing that happened was a first time meeting of a newly formed group called the Tri-State Fiber Arts Guild. I had received an email more than a month ago about the meeting that was to be held at a local library. This definitely sounded like my jam, so I made sure that night was cleared of ANYthing so I could go.
It’s not that I don’t have friends locally with whom I love to knit, but I’m always excited when I get to meet someone who shares a passion of mine. Also, I recently learned that KnitWitts, the LYS that I normally go to for Knit Night each Wednesday, is closing its doors at the end of July. This was unexpected and I am very sorry to see this happen. But the forming of this guild at this time almost seemed like a “one door closing, another door opening” kind of moment. So, silver lining.
I was the first to arrive, being the rather eager person that I am, but I was joined within minutes by one of the organizers. By the time the meeting was in full swing there were around 25 + people and all quite as passionate about their craft as I am. The thing that delighted me the most, I think, was the wide variety of fiber arts that were represented. Most, of course, were knitters or crocheters. But there were also weavers, spinners, dyers, tatters and rug hookers. There was also a wide range of age and experience among those present.
The lone gentleman present, Mark, works on historical projects and with a local historical site on Abraham Lincoln. He has been spinning since 1984. Another woman uses a spinning wheel that has been used by 6 generations of her family. I also met the host of Strong Girl Knits. These are just a few of the people that were there. I hope eventually to do some profiles on this page about some of my fascinating fellow crafters.
The Fiber community being what it is, the knitting and crocheting projects came out before the meeting had even started and at least half present were working away on something for the duration of our time together. This made me feel right at home. For most people there are 3 items that are always present whenever leaving home. Keys. Wallet (or Purse). Phone. For those of us seriously addicted to fibers, the project bag is most likely to come too.
As followers of this blog already know, I am learning how to hand dye yarn. (See Living and Dyeing and Yarn, Colors, and Friends) I’m really enjoying learning about this, the small experiments I have done so far and the larger ones that I will be doing very soon. So I am very happy indeed to connect with others who have already had experience with different methods of dyeing. I can’t wait to learn about their experiences as I gain some of my own. As I said before, I love the Internet for the community AND for the information. However, sometimes I have such a random, even obscure question it sometimes takes me a while to track down that information. I love to meet people with whom I can just put a straightforward question to and hopefully get a much quicker response or at least a direction, than the time sometimes spent wandering endlessly on the Web searching for an answer. I can get lost in there, the chances for distraction are infinite.
We will be meeting monthly. People are encouraged to come early and bring projects that need a fresh set of eyes to sort out a problem. There was discussion of organizing a Fiber Festival (Oh, happy day!), day trips, and demonstrations of various crafts and techniques.
Next month, the spinners in the group are going to bring in some of their materials and equipment to demonstrate. I believe we will have a chance to learn to spin on drop spindle and on a wheel. I’m very much looking forward to that. Spinning my own fiber has been on my list of things to learn for a while now. I have been holding myself back because I genuinely want to learn how to make all the things!! and currently I’m trying to not add yet one more craft to my growing pile of projects just yet. So this will allow me to dip my toe in the water but hopefully not get swept away. That is a very real risk. Fortunately both my husband and my bank account help me practice restraint. Most of the time.
So, while I will continue to delight in the Knitting Community that I am linked to through technology, I am so happy to learn, share and connect to my fellow fiberistas in the real world.