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Community: My Knitting Word of the Year

As you might remember from last year, I’m not the biggest fan of New Year’s resolutions. I make them if I feel like it, but I like them to be very flexible. I’ve also seen some people advocate for choosing a word of the year instead, and this year, I can’t seem to get one word out of my head. I decided to make it my knitting word of the year: community.

A top-down image of a pair of pink socks, a light blue hat, and a pair of green socks all laid flat on a white marble countertop. They're surrounded by tiny yellow roses and a white teacup full of tea.

In this post, I’m going to spend a little time exploring why knitting and community matter so much and how the shape of my knitting community has changed over the years. Then I’ll dive into the great big pile of fun things I have planned for the coming year. I hope you’ll be as excited about them as I am.

Why Knitting and Community are Inextricably Linked for Me

When I first started knitting, I was 22 and living almost 3000 miles away from home. I was lonely, and I was cold (I was a California kid transplanted to Massachusetts). What’s more, my experience as a first-year law student had left me feeling overwhelmed and unsure of myself.

But then my friend Cara taught me to knit, and it opened a whole new community to me.

It wasn’t long before I found Ravelry, which at the time was still so new, you had to get on a waiting list for it. I made friends there who are still friends to this day, and we meet up with each other whenever we travel.

I also found a group of fellow law students who also liked to knit. Eventually, we settled into a routine of meeting up weekly in the student center and stitching in front of the fireplace. There was a little coffee shop nearby, and we were quite comfortable on the squishy chairs there.

To put things simply, knitting was my lifeline during those hard years. I don’t know how I would have survived without it. I also know I’m not alone in that feeling.

What I Miss About Knitting Community

Of course, nothing lasts forever, and eventually I lost both my in-person knitting group and the community on Ravelry.

The in-person knitting group went first. After graduation, some of us moved home to study for the bar exam. The rest of us scattered to the four corners of the earth to start work after the exam. I moved home to California and, between my hectic work schedule and the warm weather here, I never really found an in-person knitting group again.

Then the Ravelry accessibility fiasco happened. While I won’t go into tons of detail here because there are plenty of excellent resources available elsewhere, I scaled back my use of Ravelry in solidarity with my friends who reported physical effects from the site redesign.

If I’m honest, though, I hadn’t used the community features there much in quite some time, and most of the forums I used to frequent seem to be pretty quiet.

It was time to find community elsewhere.

A pair of green socks is in the foreground of the image. Several tiny yellow roses sit on top of the socks. Blurred in the background are a blue hat, pink socks, more roses, and a white teacup full of tea.

Why I Chose “Community” as My Knitting Word of the Year

Thankfully, I had already built up a good network of fellow knitters over on Instagram, so it wasn’t too hard to shift more focus there. It helped, somewhat.

But Instagram is loud and noisy and crowded and, well, very public. It can be a bit like trying to make new bosom friends in the middle of a nightclub.

Small groups on Facebook, Discord, and Slack eventually became my home, and they’ve given me so much support and encouragement. They helped me through the hardest parts of the pandemic these last few years, and they’ve helped me keep going as I grow my design business, even when it felt hard.

I want everybody to have a close-knit community they can turn to, so I’m working on helping to build more of those spaces in 2023.

Community-Focused Events I’m Planning for 2023

I’m always hesitant to make plans too definite too far in advance, and if there’s anything the last three years have taught me, it’s that life throws a lot of curve balls. Sometimes, the things we plan just don’t happen. Sometimes they simply can’t happen. That’s okay.

But as the unstoppable Tian Connaughton also taught me, sometimes, you need to set a deadline to kick your butt in gear. 

So here’s what’s on deck for the coming year.

Subscribers-Only Sales and Freebies

I’ve been moving toward this for a while, but now I’m making it official: the only sales or discount codes I’ll be offering going forward will be for newsletter subscribers. I won’t be posting any public discount codes or having any sales where the price is automatically discounted at checkout. You can read a little more about my reasoning on that one here.

Not a subscriber yet? You can sign up for that here.

But if you’re subscribed to the newsletter, you’re in for some treats this year. There is, of course, the big birthday sale coming on January 12 (mark your calendars!). There’s also the sock sale in May to kick off our summer of knitting small, lightweight projects, and perhaps a surprise sale or two coming later down the line, too.

Subscribers also get a special freebie this year: a shawl pattern that is the most lush, elegant thing I’ve designed in quite some time (if I do say so myself). It’s made with a truly excessive amount of DK-weight yarn and trimmed with the ruffliest of silk-mohair ruffles, When I wear it, I feel like a character on The Gilded Age. That’ll be available starting January 12.

Upcoming Workshops

Up next: I’ll be running my Craft Photography Basics workshop again this month with the live workshop on January 25 at 12 pm Pacific. This workshop was super popular when I held it back in September, and it sold out in just a few days. If you want to hold your spot, you can register for the next class here

I’ll run this workshop a couple more times this year, along with the flatlay workshop I hosted last month, but I’d love to add some additional topics to the mix, too. What craft photography issues are you struggling with? Drop me a comment and, if there’s enough interest in something, I can develop a workshop for it.

Quarterly Sock Club

In February, I’ll be launching the first pattern in a quarterly sock club–my first sock club ever! There will be four patterns total, plus a fifth bonus pattern at the end of 2023 for everyone who has bought all four. More information later this month as we draw closer to the release date for the first pattern.

But here’s a fun little teaser for you: I’m naming the patterns after my favorite romance novel tropes.

Whimsical Knitalongs with Antique Patterns

I’ve also gotten some interest on Instagram in holding periodic KALs using antique patterns. It all started when I shared a reel of my recently acquired 1895 issue of The Delineator. There was a doily pattern that I was super excited about. 

It turns out I wasn’t alone.

The middle of the image focuses on a pale blue hat and the toes of a pair of green socks. Slightly blurred in the foreground are a pair of pink sock toes. Slightly blurred in the background is a white teacup full of tea. There are tiny yellow roses scattered throughout the image.

And the more we all talked about it, the more amusing the idea became. It seems like a fun version of a crafty escape room as we puzzle through those old patterns with their crummy instructions, so I decided to go for it. 

Our first antique pattern KAL will be from that issue of The Delineator. We’ll kick off in February.

Monthly Zoom Knit Group

Finally, I’m planning to start hosting a monthly Zoom knit group. As the world starts opening back up, our options for digital gathering seem to have dwindled a bit, and I’d like to make sure our friends who can’t gather in person for any reason still have a place of community. 

If you’re interested in joining, I’d love it if you could answer a few questions so I can schedule our monthly meeting at a time that’s convenient for as many people as possible.

Because I want to reduce the likelihood of bad actors gaining access to our space, I’ll send an email to newsletter subscribers with the opportunity to RSVP. They’ll receive the Zoom link once they’ve registered for the event. The link won’t be posted publicly.

Right then, that about does it! I’m excited about these fun events we have coming up, and I hope you are, too. It should be a great opportunity for us all to get to know each other better and build stronger relationships.

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