Something else I often ponder is the paradox of the knitting "community". I mean, here is a hobby that many of us execute in the evening, in front of the TV or computer, silent or with the occasional remark from the S.O. thats often met with, "shhhh, I'm counting!" Yet all we want to do is share our hobby!
We seek out other knitters wherever we go. We form groups, and clubs and social networks. We look for our fellow knitters at festivals. We glance at shoppers at the mall and wonder if that stunning shell is from the new IK and we might approach this fellow knitter to share our craft for even a few passing moments. We plan our vacations to coincide with the local knitting group's schedule and we make stops at local yarn shops part of the itinerary. We blog because it let's us "talk" to other knitters and share what we've wrought with our sticks and string. Hell, we go to movies cause we've heard Matt Damon is wearing some dishy knitware!
Yes, despite the fact that knitting can be a very solitary, self contained craft, all we want to do is share with other knitters and be part of that community.
Six years ago when I returned to knitting after an almost 15 year hiatus, I too was hungry for companionship for the hobby I could (and did) so easily perform alone. Unfortunately, Florida isn't the most knitter friendly state....sure we knit wool for relatives "up north" but it's kinda hard to get jazzed about kntting a wool sweater when it's 97 degrees with 100% humidity and it's May!
Ever vigilant for that elusive companionship, I got my "fix" from reading blogs. After all, virtual meet-ups were better than no meet-ups at all. Plus when reading the comments, there was the occasional Florida reader and I held out hope someday one would be from South Florida!
I know "that" day should be infamous but it was a day like any other. I was perusing the comments of a very popular blog and I noticed a comment from a fellow Floridian, woot!
I sent an email and we got to chatting and had so much in common....different knitting styles but we both had much we could learn from the other. There was such a strong connection, it didn't matter that my new friend was in northern Florida, we could be on line friends for now and maybe meet someday soon.
We chatted for hours, day after day...got to know each other but really only in a knitterly way...it didn't matter which of us was blond or brunette, tall or short, what education we had, our a/s/l (remember that annoyance!)....it mattered what cast- on we liked best and where the cheapest source for addi turbos was to be found :)
But that's the thing about stereotypes, no matter how evolved and enlightened you think yourself to be, they can sneak up on ya....cause my new friend had the kind of name that could be feminine or masculine and because I met my wonderful new knitting friend on a knitting blog and because "she" was such an avid and talented teacher and pupil I just assumed I had been chatting with another woman. But you my readers can guess the punchline here....I had been chatting for well over a month with a man....well actually even that's kind of a stretch cause despite his being wise and talented far beyond his years, I had been chatting with a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD BOY. Yeah, I was as shocked as you are now!
I told him we couldn't chat any more, it just wasn't seemly for a 30 something year old woman to be chatting with a 14 year old boy even if it was about something as benign as how to do the German Twisted Cast on.
Well my sweet,YOUNG friend made a very good argument - we did have a lot of knitting in common, we both longed for a "local" knitting buddy, we did enjoy each other's company, why should his gender or age matter -- um, good arguments all but IT MATTERED... but then he asked if I spoke with his parents and it was ok with them, could we still be friends?
And reluctantly, I agreed. I spoke with both his Mom and Dad and they realized their son was quite precocious and much more comfortable with people much older than himself. They told me they felt I was good for their son and they gave their blessing to our friendship....altho had we lived any closer together than a 6-7 hour drive I'm quite sure our friendship would have become just a memory :)
But as astounding as it seemed to me, both then and now, our friendship bloomed. Of course our primary interest was that ole knitting community but we got to know each other as so much more than knitters.
We've shared lots of laughs, almost as many tears and been thru some hairy times together and finally, after six somewhat interesting and volatile years, last week we met.
Meet the man who I'm proud to call my friend......meet my Austin
He also cooked a fabulous dinner for us and brought me
too many boxes of the first Girl Scout cookies I've had in years! The man so knows how to be a guest, doesn't he?
He's also an extremely talented musician, playing the oboe, french horn and piano. In the next few months he'll either be attending a prestigious musical conservatory or going to culinary school in New York and Italy - ah youth (and talent!)
I never expected a boy who became a man to be so very special to me but you've made my life so much richer cause you're in it, knitting dude...thanks for always loving me, warts and all, and letting me love you back even tho you're such a brat! I'm proud to call you friend, APC, and always will be!