A Taste of Yarn (and much more....)
I spent Saturday at a Taste of Yarn knitting party -- I was easily the oldest person there and spent a lot of time trying not to make statements like -- "well, twenty years ago..." and "when I first moved to Boston in 1973" -- but I was really struck by the whole scene. There were 14 knitters (14!) swapping yarns and needles, swatching different yarns, discussing gauge and drape and what would work with what, and they were almost all bloggers -- letting their knitting adventures be shared by the rest of the knitting world. There was some discussion of the blogging process but it was mostly about the relationships that blogging fosters -- both good and bad -- and an appreciation of the power of both the virtual community -- and the excitement of meeting everyone in person.
The reason that this fascinated me was that none of this existed when I started knitting in 1977 (sorry I had to say it!). I had a roommate that knit and it was a cold and snowy winter as I remember so there was a lot of sitting on the couch and watching TV. I must have expressed some interest in having her teach me to knit because I know that I spent the Blizzard of '78 on that same couch knitting a somewhat complicated Aran-ish sweater in a off-white kind of wool. (I may still have that sweater but I don't think I could get my little toe into it now.) I bought my supplies at the only yarn shop I knew of -- on Beacon Street in Brookline. Soon after I must have discovered Woolcott though it was called something else then -- and for the next 20 years I shopped there. Eventually Knitters magazine started publishing and opened my eyes to Fair Isle, and lace, and technique, and "well-known" knitters like Elizabeth Zimmerman -- and every so often a book would be published (contrast that with 96 titles in the queue on Amazon) many of which are being republished now to a new knitting audience.
I had one friend who knit during most of those years -- my wonderful friend Susan -- I meet her in 1980 and we're still friends and knitting pals -- so we would swap patterns and answer each other's questions and get excited about new books. There were no online resources, no ways to easily connect with other knitters -- in fact, the only guild I remember knowing about met during the day which really pissed me off.
And no one was going to Sheep and Wool Festivals! At least not those of us in the city. Who knew they would end up being the social scene of 2005.
I don't know where I'm going with all this -- it's just what I was thinking about at the party. I think I want to welcome all you wonderful women (and men) to the world of knitting, something that I've enjoyed for a long time -- and thank you for contributing to the renewed interest in the craft (spawning new yarns, patterns, books, blogs, community, and on and on), and say that I hope to see the local knitting community continue to thrive.