Though knitting is often stereotyped as a solitary activity, if you’ve clicked on this blog post, it’s likely because you’ve already found ways to connect with others through and around your love of the craft! I feel like a large part of the well-being knitting can bring is not just in terms of meditative activity and mindful practise, it’s the dynamism of animated discussion, and of exchanging and sharing with each other, be it in person or virtually.
There are so many different ways to find this sense of connexion and get involved in the conversation, but here are a few of my favourites!
- Many knitters, designers and other creatives post regular podcasts, often on YouTube, which are the perfect knitting accompaniment. I personally enjoy the really informal nature of most of these podcasts – they really feel like sitting down to chat over a cup of tea!
- I absolutely love signing up to newsletters from designers whose work and ethos resonate with me, and it feels like getting a postcard from old friend every time one of their letters pops into my virtual mailbox. It helps me stay up to date with their new pattern releases, and knitting tips and hacks, but is also a wonderful way to get to know the human behind the designs!
- A great way to support each other through a specific knitting project is to join one of the many Knit Alongs on Instagram or Ravelry (KAL for short!). These take many different forms, but what they have in common is that they provide a space to ask questions and share progress and encourage each other. They tend to involve prizes at the end too! Last summer, we loved having many knitters on board for our #knitoutkal21, and it’s time to get ready for this year’s Knit Out KAL!
- Finally, test knitting for designers is wonderful way to knit in synchrony with others and support your favourite makers by helping them make their pattern the best it can be! In exchange for providing feedback on the technicalities and clarity, designers will offer the for pattern for free, so it’s a win-win situation that is great for financial accessibility! We recently started advertising for English-speaking test knitters on Instagram, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Knitting can provide a common ground with others which acts as a great foundation for long-lasting friendship. In fact, Anna and Perrine (one of the Along avec Anna team members) met years ago in Montréal, thanks to a knitting group at the wonderful yarn shop, La Maison Tricotée. Local knitting groups, retreats and other crafty events are a wonderful springboard to situate oneself socially, especially in the midst of the difficulties of moving to a new country without knowing anyone!
On a personal note, the online community has been especially important to me in these difficult and uncertain past couple of years, when we have no longer been able to take for granted our traditional ways of socialising. I myself moved back to the UK after four years living in California and found myself in a new city where I didn’t know anyone at a time when socialising in person wasn’t really desirable or possible. Getting involved in the online knitting world, especially on Instagram, has been indispensable to my well-being during this time! The Knitstagram community, while of course not being perfect, is on the whole a very open, inclusive and welcoming space, and a wonderful way of finding connexion and, in my experience, genuine friendship. And where else will you find friends who have no problem talking for hours straight about finding the perfect yarn for your project, or the perfect project for your yarn?
And what about knitting as a way to give back to others, be it family, friends, your local bubble or the global community? Many charities accept knitting of different sorts and many local shelters, hospitals, medical centres and more are looking for knitted items to bring warmth and comfort to those in need. A quick Google should come up with lots of possibilities to help out with your hand knits, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, why not set it up?
Here at Along avec Anna, we’re always trying to create more of a sense of community, of togetherness, through our shared love knitting. There are so many ways to get involved!
We love to hear from you, to help guide you on your knitting journey, to see pictures of your beautiful creations, and to inspire each other! You can tag us on Instagram, keep up to date with our posts, and sign up for our newsletter in English or French on our website! If you understand French (or want to practice understanding French!), we have a whole lively community on Patreon, where Anna takes you behind the brand’s curtains with exclusive contests, polls, previews of upcoming designs, regular video podcasts and calls for test knitters!
It’s not only a place for Anna to open up about the business developments, but also a reciprocal space where she can receive invaluable feedback, thoughts, and suggestions!
And if you’d like to meet us in person and give our yarn a squish before committing, we opened our first Along avec Anna shop in Exeter this year and we’d love to see you there! Everyone is welcome!