There is something I think you need to do (unless you are already doing it in which case… stitch on!): you need to join a group of people who make things with yarn. It sounds simple and perhaps simplistic but its not. Its powerful. Joining a sit-n-stitch group will change your life.
It changed mine.
I was one of those modern women who didn’t have any friends. Lots of women don’t have any real friends. They (and past me) have people they know from work, they have neighbors, they have people that are friends with their spouse or partner. They think they have friends. What they really have is people they are friendly with and that is not the same thing. A friend is someone you hang out with and talk with for no reason other than it makes you happy. A friend is someone you choose, not someone circumstances throw you together with.
For modern adult women its not easy to find friends. Maybe it never has been and maybe its the same for men but I don’t think so. Men seem to make friends and hold on to old friends easier than women. And even if you do have a friend or two (or three) it never hurts to have more right? Right.
All my friends come from my knitting and crochet. I’ve built out my social circle a bit but every friendship I have today I can trace back to hanging out and playing with yarn. If this was a book-reading blog I’d tell you to go join a book club. But its a play-with-yarn blog so I’m telling you to join a sit-n-stitch. That is were you will find people you have something in common with. You won’t become good friends, real friends, with every single one of them but you will find a friend there. I’d bet money on it.
When I went through my divorce I lost every “friend” I had. That’s because they weren’t really friends and I figured that out pretty darn quick. They were people my circumstances had put me with and my circumstances had changed. Well, one of the things the new me wanted was real friends. And I found them at a knit night at my local yarn store.
You don’t really know what it means to have a friend until you have one but I’ll try to describe it.
- Its someone you don’t have to see every day to feel connected to.
- Its someone who will come get you at 10:30 pm when your car battery dies outside a now closed Barnes & Noble and be happy that you picked them for the rescue.
- Its someone who has been saving up things to tell you since they last time you two hung out.
- Its someone who will always want to see what you are knitting and crocheting.
Go find some people who like what you like (playing with yarn) and hang out with them. It will be a good opportunity to swap patterns, get ideas for projects, and show off what you are making. It will be an outlet to actually talk about this hobby/passion of yours. If you don’t have anyone to really talk to about knitting and crocheting I bet you need that. But (but-but-but) it will also be a place to make a friend. Maybe two.
If you are shy, and many women are, walking into a new place with a pre-formed social circle can be hard. I want you to remember two things. First, any sit-n-stitch group that is worth joining wants new members because all groups have attrition and new members bring new life. Two, on the first day of school all kids have to walk into a room of strangers and make themselves a part of the group. We force our kids do that (and they always hate it) because we know its for the best and we know they can do it. You can do it too.
So where do you find a group that loves to play with yarn as much as you do?
(If you’re in Austin, come to the ACC South Austin Campus on Thursday nights at 6-ish pm. You’ll find one!)
How to Find An In-Person Group
1) Call any and all local yarn stores in your area and ask them. Even if they are too far away for you to drive and make a meeting, call them. Yarn shop owners know where all the yarn addicts are, its their business after all. They might be able to help.
2) Ravelry has an event finder. Did you know that? Lots of ravelry users do not. If you have told ravelry where you live, this link will take you a list of events in your area and that usually includes groups who meet regularly.
3) Do a search in the ravelry fourms because lots of users don’t know about that event finder and that includes people who organize play with yarn groups.
4) Search the Lion Brand database of clubs. Its US only (I think) and who knows how accurate. But its worth a look.
5) Check meetup.com for your area. Some groups are protective of when and where they meet. Most are not. You can find out that such-and-such group meets at that restaurant on Saturday at 2pm and then you just drop by to check it out. If you like the group, you’ll probably be asked to officially sign up.
How to Find An On-Line Group
I’m in favor of live hanging out when you can. But not everyone can. Maybe there are no groups in your area or maybe you can’t make the times. Good thing you live in the digital age!
1) Ravelry groups of course. There are zillions. Try Tiny Owl Knits and The Chocolate Teapot. I can personally vouch for their friendliness, openness, and they are both very active. You can get on a random thread at nearly any time of the day and find someone online. Don’t forget all those groups have rarely used chat rooms.
2) The Knitting Lodge on Google+. Ever try Google+? Its the social media thingy that google launched to compete with facebook. Its no where near as successful (duh) but I like it. And I really like The Knitting Lodge, which is an open community on Google+. Every Tuesday night this community has a virtual hangout. Its video chat for up to 25 (?) people. If you have a camera on your computer/tablet/phone, you can hangout with knitters and crocheters every Tuesday night. FYI, I asked the community founder for permission to invite the whole world to her hangout and she gave me a big YES. So if you can get set up on Google+ you’ll have a sit-n-stitch in your home nearly every week.
You’re going to ask me how to get on Google+ aren’t you? I knew it. Okay. Start here. If you are on a mobile device, you’ll need the app I think and Android users can find it here. iOS users can find theirs here.
3) Knittingparadise.com . Here is an old-school bulletin board for knitters and crochets and boy is it active. Its not sexy and there are no interactive, pretty graphics. Its just thousands and thousands of knitters and crocheters talking about everything under the sun. You can jump right in. They love new voices. Also… there is a board for offline, in-person events and that is a great place to make a post if you are looking for a local group to hang with.
A friend will keep you young and stitching and maybe a bit more honest with yourself. I hope you have one, a good one, in your life. If you don’t, go find one. It will be worth the awkward moments and the hassle and the late night rescue mission to Barnes & Nobel in the middle of the night. So grab your yarn and go make a friend.