When knitting comes up in conversation the image of a matronly woman sitting in a rocking chair often comes to mind. There she sits, alone, needles clicking away at some beige colored yarn. This is the reality of some, well, maybe without the rocking chair, or the age….or the beige yarn….
It’s the norm for some of us knitty types to just work in the comfort and privacy of our own homes. At the end of a stressful day I’m absolutely guilty of grabbing a project and heading for the couch, with a cup of tea, or something harder depending on just how stressful that day was. I knit alone for the first four or five years after picking up needles for the first time, and then there was the discovery of whole knitting social networks out there.
It happened after I moved to the current homestead and stumbled into a local yarn shop. In the center of this shop was a long table with chairs set all the way around it. No one was there that afternoon but the owner brought up she had several times a week where other knitters would come in and work on projects together and invited me to come. The concept was a bit foreign to me, it took a few weeks to take her up on the offer, but I finally packed up a project into a bag and headed back down to the shop on a Saturday afternoon.
No joke, my social life changed. This introvert found her tribe! The shop was filled with a group of vibrant and varied individuals, both male and female, working away and laughing their asses off. All ages, and walks of life were sitting around that table. I was made to feel welcome within minutes after getting grilled with the typical who-are-you and what-do-you-do questions. You know, the typical initiation into any group. After meeting these people, my knitting began to travel with me wherever I went, and if there was more than a few minutes of waiting time, out the needles would come.
Sunday mornings would usually begin with a caramel macchiato, people watching, and yarn manipulation at the local coffee-house. That led to another invitation to a knitting group on Thursday evenings packed full of more amazing people after being discovered knitting in a corner. For the better part of a year and a half, Thursdays and Saturdays had standing plans to meet up with these knitting nuts. The Thursday group began to disolve after jobs and life began to impact schedules, but both groups have introduced me to friends that have become family. I really don’t know how I’ve survived without some of these people in my life, and we all have one thing in common, we love making things out of yarn.
All that said, there have been studies pop up over the years (just google them) that have shown crafting with others can improve confidence and self-esteem, reduce stress, and help with feelings of isolation (well duh on that last one).
If you are in northeast Georgia, or north-metro Atlanta wander into Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville, on Saturday afternoon, we’re a welcoming kind of people, and don’t bite. Claudia (owner) also carries an amazing selection of yarns. Side note: there has been no payment for this endorsement, this shop has turned into my home away from home.
Grab your yarn and tools of choice and get out there. Find a group! Or just start knitting at your local coffee house, the group will find you. Thank me later.