Communities

September 28, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Knitting | 1 Comment

As little as a century ago, women were expected to be proficient in a variety of needlecrafts. In today’s world of cheap mass production, this is no longer the case. So if you are interested in fibery things, finding people who share the same interest is not as easy any more as turning to your family and neighbours.

Luckily, the development of the internet has made it much easier to communicate and find like-minded people around the planet. Being the only person you know who’s interested in a particular topic can make you feel isolated. Using the internet, finding people with similar interests is often as easy as reaching out and telling the world what you’re doing, for example with a blog like this. But it gets even easier: there are quite a few communities around catering for different interests, and participating in them has a lot of advantages. Let me show you what joining a new community has done for me just in the last couple of weeks:

Since I’m not primarily a knitter, I resisted the buzz building up around Ravelry for quite a while, but a couple of weeks ago I finally gave in and joined. I have to admit, I’m captivated. I can browse the projects of new and old friends and let their projects inspire me. I can easily build up a collection with all the patterns I’m stumbling over on the internet. Most of the patterns are already on Ravelry, complete with nice pictures from folks who’ve already completed the project. I even found a knitting group right around the corner from where I’m living, so I spent a nice evening knitting in company about a week ago, and I plan to repeat that. I’m definitely spending a lot more time knitting than a couple of weeks ago.

Browsing through my friend’s projects, I rediscovered Celestine. This definitely is the kind of project that appeals to me: a quick, geometrical pattern, and I had the perfect yarn and a recipient in mind. So here’s what I came up with:

Ravelry allows me to easily track the progress of a project, record what yarn and needles I’m using, and add my own comments. Just periodically raising that progress bar has kept me amused and motivated the past days I’ve been working on that project.

One thing I keep noticing over and over again with different interests is that it is often the community connected with an activity that keeps me going. Exchanging experiences and showing the results of my work to like-minded people is a powerful motivator. If I get stuck, the solution of the problem is often just a search or a question away. And knowing that others take an interest in my work often motivates me to actually finish a project instead of just forgetting it in a dark corner.

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  1. I think you’re absolutely right about the benefits of communities to crafters. I know I’m a braver knitter because of encouragement from my local knitting group (found via the internet) and a better knitter because of the resources that I have easier access to via Ravelry. It is a shame that it isn’t as easy as it used to be to find people with similar interests locally but it’s great that there are alternatives available.

    I hope you enjoy the Celestine. I found it a lot of fun.


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