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Coping with Crafts

February 16, 2011 Julie

1938 - Child Knitting - Home Arts from http://onpoint.wbur.org

Tonight is our second Knit + Crochet Club! We had a very successful meeting last week where I had the pleasure of spending time with a really talented group. I also got to sees what projects they’re working on. So, as I get out my ingredients to bake some cookies for tonight, it seemed only appropriate that I’d share a discussion I found about why and how these knitting groups create such community, inspiration, and solace.

Knitting is “intrinsically a social activity” and its increase in general popularity seems to have a correlation to the level of stress our nation is experiencing (like during wars and economic crises), according to Susan Strawn, a professor at Dominican University teaching apparel design and merchandising. During his On Point radio show yesterday (click “Listen to this show” at the top of the page), Tom Ashbrook explores why knitting appears to be making a comeback. They discuss how this resurgence is due in large part to social media including web communities like Ravelry (Love Ravelry! Have you joined yet? Be sure to check out Home Made’s profile and join our group!).

Ms. Strawn was just one of the guests speaking about the “Resurgence of Knitting.” Franklin Habit also joined the discussion; he is probably most known for his blog, “The Panopticon.” A common theme of the show was how rewarding and meditative knitting can be, which reminded me of my experience teaching a few friends to knit over the weekend.

The first 30 minutes of learning to knit is always a little chaotic (and pretty awkward as you figure out how to hold the needles and yarn). But once my pals found their groove, both were so focused and invested that they had no idea that another hour had just passed. They took their enthusiasm home, determined to practice their “knits” and “purls” solo (I think it’s going well, as far as I’ve heard . . .).

Knit A Bit - Our First Line of Defense from http://onpoint.wbur.org

Ms. Strawn describes knitting as “holding [her] life together” and I’ve come across many others who would describe their own craft projets, particularly knitting, in the same way. Knitting and other handwork provides a coping mechanism that can help get us through incredibly stressful times, whatever life crisis may arise.

But, in addition to getting us through the tough times, these crafts help us celebrate the joyous ones, too. The radio show guests talk about how, when you give someone something you’ve knit, you have touched every strand of that yarn and are, in turn, you are giving them everything that went into creating the finished piece. What a special gift!

Knitters love to trade project ideas, share tips, and talk about yarn. Right?! It’s no surprise, then, that Ravelry has been so successful with connecting people. What other online groups or communities are out there? If you listened to the show, what did you think?

In addition to the virtual knitting community, I hope you’ll join in person us for Knit + Crochet Club meeting at Home Made if you can. We meet on Wednesdays (tonight!) from 7-9 PM in the Home Made Studio (cost is $6). Bring your latest project to work on and we’ll take care of providing you with a relaxing space filled with good company, coffee, teas, and yummy baked goods!


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