Even as the audiences, popular choice of patterns and types of needlecraft projects have changed through the years, one thing that remained straight true is the knitting circle. Whether your time is busied away with cross stitch kits, tapestry needlepoint or an endless barrage of crocheting, it's always imperative that you have a gang of similarly driven fingers to meet with on a regular basis. Nowadays, the advent of social media and the resurgent in home crafts makes it easier than ever to find fellow textile spirits, but what's the best way to go about it? In this entry of the Past Impressions blog, we give our best tips for finding your ideal cross stiitch meet-ups, knitting groups and more.
The simplest way to get involved with a group is to try out on the internet's many directory services. The UK Hand Knitting Association may well be the best of the bunch; allowing you to search by region for the nearest groups to you. We actually asked a few of our craft friends to test it out, and they were all surprised at A. how near their nearest crafting group was and B. how they never knew about them!
Other useful directories include Stitch'n Bitch (a popular phrase for social knitting groups that has been around since World War II), which also allows you to zone in your nearest meet-ups, Knit Together, which lets you search directly for your local crafting crews, and of course we have to mention the one and only social media site when it comes seeking out knitters and stichers: Ravelry, which even describes itself as having become "the Internet tool to help the typical needle-wielder navigate through the woolly wild."
With all those resources, it seems unlikely that you'd be unable to find a group somewhat near you, but it can still happen. Maybe you live too far in the sticks, perhaps the group you came across is no longer active (a note to any existing cross stitch meet-ups and knitting clubs - keep your details up to date and ensure people know you're still up and running!) or it could be the case that you just can't find a group of people to engage in your particular, niche form of textiles.
If any of these are the case, then there's still some options and ideas worth exploring. If you have a local yarn shop in your area, it would undoubtedly be the best place to start, as most stores have a knit night and a rotating schedule of classes for needle wielders of all level and ability. Most shops will also be tightly knit part of your nearest cross stitch community or gang of needlepoint natterers, and if you have a group of your own you can always ask them to advertise for you.
Which of course brings us to the one fail-safe method for becoming part of a social knitting group: start your own! With all the previously mentioned online resources, advertising to potential members should be a cakewalk, but you can also post bulletins at your local library, church, tavern (seriously...you'd be surprised at how many stitch'n bitch groups meet at pubs, or maybe you won't be!), as well as your own Facebook feed or email contact list. You can generally organize these meet-ups at any public space, but as your group gets larger you may find it beneficial to seek private function rooms and the like (a small charge shouldn't be too much to ask if you're group is starting to get more well known).
Cross stitch meet-ups, knitting groups and all other varieties of textile team-ups are a great way to enjoy your hobby, and the friendships and projects you undertake at these meetings may end up having a huge impact on other areas in your life. Remember, we also have our own cross stitch community for you to be a part of, as well as a busy Facebook page, Twitter and Google+ where we post regular updates on cross stitch kits and other crafting goodness!