Saturday, April 22, 2006

The knitting -- I had no idea.

A little Saturday evening navel-gazing, if you will.

It's funny how reading others' blogs and hearing others' perspectives on life and knitting helps one understand oneself a tiny bit better.

Recently, Laurie blogged about what her knitting group meant to her, how it's helped her get out of her house and her shell as she struggles to survive a painful divorce.

I can't pretend to know what divorce feels like, but I do know something about isolation. For the last six years I've been working in a business where I'm either out of town, or working from my house, and as a result, my social circle has fallen away to the point where I really have very few, if any, girlfriends left.

In my mid-twenties, when I finished my second round of college and moved six thousand miles away from home for a job, I had no idea, until after I got there, how much I'd become dependent upon school my entire life to provide my social circle, and how hard it was to make new friends as an ADULT. Years later, after I'd moved back to my hometown and was working the normal nine-to-five daily grind for awhile, I eventually left that grind to go into consulting work, but had no idea how much I'd become dependent upon my former nine-to-five lifestyle to provide my social circle. And I also had no idea how much harder it is to make friends as a single adult approaching middle age in a world skewed towards the married-with-kids.

And so, in a very short space of time, my knitting group has become very important to me. It may seem silly from the outside, (and especially if you're a non-knitter or a man, or both). I'm sure to spectators we appear to be just a bunch of gossipy hens. But it's so much more than that.

I really have had no other opportunities to regularly meet with women from various walks of life, from multiple generations, and with varied marital and family statuses, and not only have something in common with them, but also have no other agenda than to sit, enjoy each other's company, and knit. There's no structured meeting agenda, no hard-and-fast start and stop time, (it's sorta 7-ish to 9-ish, but people come and go as they please), no things-we-must-get-done-during-this-meeting, no minute-taking, no president or secretary or mission statement. We meet, we knit, we chat, we share, we laugh and we eventually go home. That's it. No rules. No responsibilities. No agenda. It is so incredibly freeing -- I had no idea. And I'm a single woman. I can't imagine what it must mean to the wife-n-mother types, to be able to leave their responsibilities at home for a couple of hours a week and have some innocent feminine fun. And what makes all of this possible? It's the knitting. The knitting.

Sandy's recent blog entry also got me to thinking. Here's a woman experiencing something that all mothers must eventually face -- the dreaded empty nest. Something with which I'll most likely never have first-hand knowledge, an experience with which I cannot really empathize. Same with Jane's current worries for her daughters health. I have no children and so cannot honestly say, "I know how you feel". But because we have something in common -- we've made a connection through knitting -- I can perhaps step across the chasm between non-mother and mother and if nothing else, offer support, a listening ear, perhaps some encouraging words.

Knitting is just a craft, just two sticks and some string. Just one of many types of hobbies and handiwork that people do in their spare time. Or is it more than that?

So far, the knitting, (and let's face it, the blogging), has brought me together with more new friends in the past nine months than I've made in the past ten years. There's something pretty special about this deceptively innocent hobby that I've yet to put my finger on.

But I do like, so very much, how it has opened up my world.

All thanks to the knitting.

The knitting.

I had no idea.


Suzanne said...

I know what you mean about the knitting group. Its so friendly and non-competitive. Its a lifeline!

I have small kids, and my one SAHM buddy moved away 2 years ago, and I go to school online. I am so isolated! I have great neighbors, who I talk to, but with school I am always busy, clicking away in front of the computer. I get a bit...strange sometimes, being alone so much. And I started out a bit odd to begin with!

So I totally know what you mean. The power of yarn!

Courtney said...

I'm right there with you on this one. I'm married, but not married like a normal person. At the moment, my husband lives in San Antonio, TX and I live here in Richmond, so I too, am often isolated. I have a few girlfriends, but they are single and often times, their social agenda involves going out to do single person things that just aren't comfortable for me. In the year since I've learned to knit (and subsequently to blog), I have felt so much better about my situation and much less isolated. Most of my knitting friends are virtual, but I will get to a live knitting group one of these days. My husband and I will be living in the same place soon which will be great and I can't wait for that time, but I am certain that I will continue to knit and blog and remain imersed in this wonderful world of sticks and yarn. I can't imagine living any other way.

Bess said...

And I'm so glad you did! Join the group. start to blog. reach out through the knitting. and spinning.

It is amazing how quickly soft cushioney yarn wraps us all up together.

Krista said...

As a stay-at-home-mom with 2 young kids who are quickly growing up, I have lost touch with a lot of my friends that I've had for the last 5 years. Preschool and now Kindegarten has separated us. I don't live near anyone I know, and so I'm alone in the country with my kids most days. Although I don't have a regular knitting group, I have my online knitting friends who I know are checking up on me every once in a while! I do have some comments on my site occasionally! Mary, you are so right about connecting with people through knitting who I never would have met otherwise.

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

Isn't it funny the way we loose and gain friends over the years? It gets harder and harder as the years go by but the knitting community is incredibly special and I'm with you that blogging does cut some of the isolation.
When I bacame a single Mom, I found my self suddenly alone. My own family live elsewhere, my X's family (who I love and totally relied on for my social life) have very little to do with me (at his request). Our "friends" vanished from my life, sometimes I wondered if they thought divorce was a disease they might catch if they got too close. So when he left and I had not one person in the whole city to turn to, it was my book group that kept me going. As you put it "I had no idea".
Honestly prior to that, they were just a bunch of women who liked reading, once a month we got together, we drank tea, we talked about a book we'd all read. Now I count them as my closest friends and coincidently, within the group, four of us have started knitting within the last year. We now spend almost as much time talking about knitting as we do about the books :-D.

jane said...


Ranger Susie said...

That was so deep and great. Wonderful post.

Dominic Ebacher said...

You interest me, I am glad to wish you happiness!

Peace and Love.

Dominic Ebacher