For most of my life I have been a part of some very closely knit communities. Many of those have fallen into the first part of that definition - communities of place. I grew up in a farming community where neighbours would pitch in and help each other out. A few years ago when I was down visiting my mom we watched a story on the local evening news about a farmer who died in the middle of the harvest season. The footage showed dozens farmers and combines from all over the area showing up to finish cutting the wheat for this family. This happened just a few miles from our old family farm.
There is nothing like the comfort and caring that comes from someone showing up at your door in a time of crisis, casserole or pot of soup in hand. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of community care several times. There was the casserole that a friend brought the day after Jay returned from Romania with Alexandra, the soup and buns that were delivered a couple years later when Alexandra was flown to BC Children's Hospital by air ambulance, and the many offers of help from our neighbours in Richmond when Jay became ill. These are just a few examples from decades of living amongst people who care about each other.
Not all the communities I have been a part of have revolved around a place. Some fall into the second part of that definition - they are communities where the members have a shared interest. Blogging would be one of those. I feel a great sense of community here in my little corner of the blogging world. We bloggers seem to share a love of writing, seeing different places, and meeting new people. While I drink my morning tea I can visit Australia, Tasmania, Ireland, Norway, France, Costa Rica, the UK, multiple states and provinces, and many other spots around the globe.
There are many other ways I experience a sense of community, but the one I want to focus on for this post is knitting. For many years people have been gathering together with their needles and yarn.
Now, thanks to the Internet, the knitting community has expanded beyond our own neighbourhoods. There are knitting blogs, and of course, there's Ravelry. It might seem odd to think of a community of knitters, so I will give a few examples from this past week so you can see what I mean.
When Kate Davies came out with her latest design, a Hap for Harriet, I wanted to try knitting it. But the thing is, I'm not a lace knitter. I emailed Jean and she wrote back, assuring me I could do it. Then, out of the blue, I got an email from someone I didn't know. It turns out this person is a knitter who reads Jean's blog, and she had read that I was nervous about casting on this project. She is knitting it herself, and very generously offered to send me copies of the row charts she had made to keep track of where she is as she knits. It's sort of the virtual equivalent of someone showing up at your door with a casserole.
Then on Tuesday I had a chance to meet up with Lynne from the blog The Sock Lady Spins. I've been reading Lynne's blog for years, and admiring her amazing colourwork socks and gloves. She was traveling south and was going to be driving through Chilliwack. We met at Tim Horton's at 1:00, and spent the next two hours talking non-stop. Lynne showed me some of the gloves she has recently knit.
Then an amazing thing happened. Lynne pulled out some socks. She had knit wee socks for Lucy, and these incredible knee socks for me!
The knee socks were knit with yarn she spun and dyed herself. I'm torn between wearing them and framing them to hang on my wall. Here we are together. I should point out the Tim Horton's employee who took our picture was also a knitter, and had come over to admire Lynne's work.
The odd thing is, as much as I love where we now live, I don't feel that same sense of community here as I have in other places we have lived. The reason I say it's odd is because this place is promoted as being a cottage community. Maybe it's due to the fact many people are only at their cottages on weekends and holidays (only 10% of the cottages have year-rounders like us). Or maybe it's because many of them have owned their cottages since the development first started and already have established groups of friends. Whatever the reason, I have to admit it's a bit lonely here. But that just makes me appreciate the community I have through blogging, and knitting, and my friends in far away places that much more.
A warm welcome to all the new readers and followers here at North of 49. If you want to find out more about hygge you can find my previous posts here: January, February, March and April.