Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Finally I have a chance to sit and write about my experiences this weekend, saturday was once again spent furiously sewing up as I had "invented" the possum beanie on tuesday and made a heap of them for the Luxury market and the current special over at the website (and yes I am making them for adults) I have made a promise to myself that I have a cut off point - 2 weeks prior to market day, anything I design after that day can go into production for the NEXT market, so that I can have a nice relaxing family day on that saturday. I am following my own rules now and have 2 weeks to complete 4 designs for the handpainted yarn kits - I must say I am very excited about these - the yarn is beautiful, I have finally found my "voice" with my handpainting technique.
I have been playing with the "Sensational knitted socks" books over the past few weeks too, since I saw Sarah's beautiful red boot socks - knitted from Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino, these books are great for showing you how to use any yarn to make any sock for anyone - I've ripped out my first attempts, but should have something to show you soon.

Talking about Sarah's socks segues us nicely into the second day of the weekend - let's give the markets a miss for now, they were fun, successful and a great marketing and networking tool - enough said.
When I moved to Sydney I knew very few people, my neighbours changed almost weekly and I wasn't working, the girls were big enough that I didn't need to stand around in the playground chatting to other Mum's while we waited for them after school - so I had none of my old reliable ways of meeting people available to me - I knitted a lot, shopped a lot, and started a blog to communicate with friends back home - then I found the Monica's blog - the legendary Knitting Revolutionary, and discovered that there was a local knitting group, SSK met just up the road from me in a cute wee cafe, I gathered my my knitting, my notions and accessories, put my big girl pants on and had Flash drop me off - before I got out the car he grabbed me and said "I'm so proud of you" he's a top manager and here he is telling me that I'm braver than him because I am going to meet strangers.
Knitters aren't strangers though are they? I loved it from the first day, even if I didn't feel that I could add to the conversation (I'm shy) I still had something to do with my hands and I could listen and learn - I didn't get put off because I didn't find my niche immediately, I understand group dynamics, you can't just charge in and take over - but if you sit back and observe you will soon find out where you fit, some people didn't stay long because they didn't understand this, others moved between various groups which was great, a mass cross-pollination of ideas, I loved the train trip out to the group at Gordon and my forays into the Courthouse group, lot's of different people, but all with one thing in common.The most important quality for the groups to be able to work and grow though, is integrity - which I saw so much of at SSK, everyone is true to themselves - Lara knits acid bright colours and novelty yarns, Alison has an awesome clarity of style and design, Kerry is quietly passionate, Mary-Helen felt like a Mum to me (she isn't old enough to be my Mum!) she keeps the group centred, Kris is joyously loud, Veronica patient and quiet. It just works - whether there are 6 or 26 people there, it is always a riot. When I started my business I received so much support - a photographer, babies, feedback, legal advice, i.t. support, honest criticism - it blew me away.

So, when I came home, I desperately wanted to start a group where those values come through, everyone is welcome, young, old, newbie, master knitter, loud, quiet, male, female - just a place where they could come and knit and talk and feel part of a community - and you know what? I think we have cracked it! the Knit Rangers have taken off, the group is still small, we had 8 this week, some people travel a fair distance to spend 2 hours together talking about sticks and string (and life) and we all agree that despite the distance - the cafe is the right place, Anna the quilter has started knitting, I see new friendships forming, we all can teach one another - we are growing a new community. I miss SSK deeply, and am so glad I have been able to take the model and see it work in a new place. Thank you SSKer's and Knit Ranger's. (and anyone who wants to come along in 2 weeks time is very, very welcome!)