When it comes to knitting, I’m sort of an island in some ways. Back when I used to crochet during and after my college years, I had one good friend who also crocheted and a couple of others who dabbled in it as well – and it was great fun to be able to ‘talk shop’ and compare and share patterns, yarns, etc.
But I don’t have any friends around here who knit.
Up until this year, I’d gone to a weekly knitting group at church and always loved seeing what they were working on and hearing stories, asking questions and such. This year the timing just hasn’t worked out and I’ve really missed the camaraderie. It’s hard to find a new group – not only finding one that meets at a convenient time, but I’m on the shy side and the idea of going to an already established group where the members know each other and have friendships and such already intimidates me greatly. I’d looked forward to trying a group at a local LYS this school year – now that my girls are all in school full-days, I would be able to make it to their Wednesday morning group. Which I did – exactly once, before necessity kicked in and I lost my free weekdays to a part-time job. Evening groups aren’t a great option since the kids always seem to have something going on in the evenings these days.
So that means that my best options are online. I’ve started to use Ravelry a lot more these days – I’ve always tracked my projects there but it’s got a huge social element to it as well, with groups that you can join and discussion forums to follow and participate in. As with any new group, it’s hard to break in to something already established, but I’m braver online than I am in real life, so I’m trying a little at a time.
Which brings me to the concept of the online knit-along (KAL). It seems like a good way to participate in something that has a bit of a social aspect and gives you a common topic to talk about since everybody’s working on the same project. I found my first KAL this year through the Dream in Color blog – they’re a yarn company and I’ve been buying their Dream Club yarns each month since last fall. They posted in December about a designer who was starting a KAL for a new shawl she’d designed, using Dream in Color Calm yarn. I hopped over to her Ravelry group and looked at the pattern – the Enfolded Shawlette. It’s gorgeous – and since it’s knit in a worsted weight, it looked like a great option for a first-time shawl knitter like me. Plus, I already had a skein of Dream in Color Calm that I’d bought from the November Dream Club. It was pink – not my first choice, but I thought it would make a pretty shawl.
As it did. It was a surprisingly quick knit and I finished it in a total of 9 days. I really enjoyed sharing my progress pictures in the group and seeing what others were doing as well. I already have another of Linda’s shawls in my queue and look forward to knitting it as well.
Shawls are fun to knit, I’m finding! I’ve already completed a second one (as part of another KAL), but I’ll share more about that next time. I don’t know if the online KALs and Ravelry groups are totally filling my need for having people to talk knitting with, but it’s a start.
Just as with any knitting project, it’s all about small steps building to a greater whole.