23 January 2008

Hooray for knitting groups!

Last night I went to the Silver Spring Knitters (SSK) group. I hadn’t been in several months, so it was nice to see old familiar faces as well as some new ones.

I really enjoy attending knitting circles. Three or four years ago I knew when and where all the DC area groups met and attended five or six per month. Yes, I was obsessed, but soon realized that I simply couldn’t go to everything.

There are tiny and huge groups, groups made up of people in their 20s and 30s, groups made up of middle-aged women. They meet in homes, cafés, libraries, bars and parks. They can be socially, racially, ethnically, economically homogeneous or heterogeneous groups. Some are all female, mixed-gender, all male…. In short, there is a group out there for any type of knitter.

Although the groups made up of younger people are fun and hip, I prefer a more mature group because older women are a treasure trove of skills and experience in both knitting and life. Besides, older women also tell the best dirty jokes. Yeah, the sort that will make you blush then roll around on the floor laughing. Their company can’t be beat.

The best sort of venue for a knitting group has good lighting, food that is inexpensive and tasty and comfortable seating (preferably sofas). Even when a venue doesn’t have all these things, the people who attend are what make it good.

There are very few knitting groups I wouldn’t visit again. One such group is held at a yarn store whose pushy proprietress tries to sell you something the minute you walk through the door. I’ve been to a few places in the world where pushy sales clerks are the norm, but in this woman it’s something bordering on desperation. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

One other type of person that can be a downer at a knitting gathering (or any social situation, really), is the one who takes over the conversation. He or she usually speaks much too loudly and deems him/herself an expert in every topic. These tiresome jabberers seem so have some sort of self-perceived lack that they feel must be camouflaged by incessant talk to the point that others don’t get a chance to participate in the exchange. With these people I usually just try to be patient, because they’re not being malicious, they just have unresolved issues that manifest themselves in an obnoxious way.

Even when you run into a person who lacks social graces at a group (and that’s not often, since knitters tend to be some of the nicest people around), you can still end up having a good time. I must make an effort to attend more often. I always go home feeling inspired by other people’s projects and invigorated by the conversation.


Two Cables and a Frapp said...

This is a very nice and wise post. I'm with you on all of these points. Another type of knitting group out there as with all groups is the clicky kind. Thanks.

Guaria del Bosque said...

Oh, yeah, I've heard the cliquey ones can be a real pain. A friend of mine went to one of those and they acted like she was not there--I mean, completely ignored her. How rude! Knitters and crocheters are some of the nicest people I've come across, so it's shocking to hear that some of them are anything but.