As an introvert, it’s easy to think that I don’t need to belong to groups, especially for activities that I normally do by myself. I’ve been a knitter for decades, but have never joined a club. When a friend asked me to join a small on-going group of knitters for a weekly get-together, my eyes were opened to the benefits of belonging to a group focused on a hobby.
I’ve only attended five meetings so far, and already I’ve found that my new group can teach me new skills, introduce me to unknown resources, inspire me with their projects, and help me with a knitting project problem.
Here are examples of how this group has made my beloved hobby even better:
Learning new skills and techniques. The group is not meant to be educational, at least not in a structured or organized way. Some of the women are textile professionals, while others are just hobbyists like me. Together, we have a lot of years of knitting experience. A simple question about swatching flat versus swatching in the round introduced me to something I’d never heard of before: rowing out. (More on that in another post.)
Introduction to new resources. The project I took to my first meeting was my recent experiment with heel-up socks. As we looked at my first sock and talked about methods, someone brought up Solefull Socks: Knitting from the Ground Up, a book that is no longer in print. At the next meeting, she loaned me a copy of her book. I took it home for a week and ordered my own copy after looking more closely at Betty Salpekar’s intriguing sole-up sock designs.
Inspiration from seeing the work of others. Looking at what everyone else is working on and hearing stories about successfully completed projects has got me itching to tackle something more ambitious than socks. It may finally be time to make myself a cabled cardigan.
Support. At my last meeting, I showed up with the wrong bag. I had some yarn, but no needles, no pattern, and no plan. Another knitter pulled out some needles for me, and I went ahead and explored my flat stockinette stitch, curious to see if I have a rowing out problem. When I discovered that I did, she gave me the help I needed to fix this problem.
When I told my husband I was thinking about joining a knitting group, he encouraged me whole-heartedly, saying I needed to get out of the house (I work from home) and meet more people (still an introvert). It was my sole excuse for joining this group, and there’s no question that I am making friends and feeling more at home with these women with each meeting.
But the benefits of belonging to a knitting group go much farther than just having someone to talk to. Silly that it didn’t occur to me I might learn something new about knitting as well.
What do you get from your hobby group?