Tuesday, August 19, 2008

what makes an SnB?

Tonight's ol/ravelympic update is interrupted for something a bit more philosophical (no, it's not Veronica Mars) and perhaps even controversial (no, it has nothing to do with Dawn being the key. Athough, that was always kind of weird...).

An article titled Children's knitting group turfed from library under new craft ban has caused a bit of a stir across the web today (and in 'real life' too, apparently).

I don't want to get into the arguments about this particular issue (I don't want to get into any arguments, actually!), but it got me thinking (just thinking - not judging, not even saying, just thinking) about the way community groups are defined - that is, what makes an SnB?

Is it a knitting group every time two or more people are together to knit?

The issue has been kind of touched on with Canberra Stitch'n'Bitch recently with our search for a venue to replace civic Starbucks.

The library was floated as an option - that is, until we discovered we would have to have $1 million in public liability insurance!

What if a couple of us met there to craft? (not suggesting we should try to get around it - just hypotheticals...)

When are we SnB, and when are just a bunch of people knitting together?

This in turn begs perhaps an even stickier SnB-related question, when are we knitting friends and when are we friends knitting together?

As an adult it can be really hard to meet people outside of work (and perhaps parents of other children, if you have your own) and I know for many organised community groups are a great way to fill this 'social hole'.

It is an undeniable fact of life that you'll get along better with some people than with others - and there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't necessarily mean that you don't like someone (though you might not).
You're not being mean, or exclusive, you just get along with others better, perhaps you have everything in common.

Is it unreasonable to think that knitting friends from SnB might become great friends outside of SnB, making the transition from getting together to knit to knitting when they get together? I don't think so.

And if you meet through an organised group, do you then have an obligation to the group?

There are no knitting police (knitted police yes, but, in so far as I know, no knitting police), are there craft group police?

I'm telling you, there are more shades of grey here than the latest bendy shade cards have shades of purple!

ps. flowers from our kitchen and garden for light relief ;o)


  1. I don't think there are any shades of grey. Organised groups foster lovely close friendships all the time, all over the world, and I doubt vey few of them would have a problem with that!

    When I go to Fiji for a singing workshop with my best friends, who I mostly got to know through choir, I know for a fact that the rest of the choir aren't getting cranky that they weren't invited.

    I don't think any reasonable person would think a group of friends who share common interests (outside of knitting and crochet) and just genuinely like each other enough to spend more time with each other than the 5 days per month that SnB allows, would find it odd, or exclusive.

    Lovely, thoughtful post, Kuka. It's another timely reminder of what friendship really means.

  2. great post - i have thought about this often, and becoming better friends with some SnBers than others doesnt make people the Judean Peoples Front for example :) that library thing is crazy, what sort of world are we becoming when kids cant knit, and everyday people need million dollar insurance. insane! i hope the canberra girls find somewhere comfy soon :)

  3. Our libraries really do function like community centers, mainly, I think, because few towns have actual community centers. Libraries let folks use their rooms for all sorts of reasons. Some charge, some don't, for some it depends. When I used to book rooms for the moms club, as long as the program was free and open to any library patron, there was no charge to use the room. Several libraries I can think of host knitting times, some for just kids, some for all ages. Unfortunately they are all during the day and so I can't really go with my wild tag-alongs.

  4. Maybe the library gets sued over paper cuts ;-)

    Very thoughtful and thought-provoking post Kuka. I love that groups like SnB have given me the oppourtunity to meet so many interesting and generous people, and to make new friends when I was new in town.

  5. Interesting post. There was a bit of an issue last year (or was it the year before) in Sydney about a similar thing. Kind of odd really, because it seemed like some people were saying that any gathering of people who knit should be "open to the public" which is kinda crazy if it is, as you say, a group of friends getting together who happen to knit as well.

  6. This is really interesting Kuka. Thanks for posting about it. Community groups are an integral part of communities as a whole. It is a shame that finding a venue can be so difficult, even within a public library! Let's have a knit-in and see what happens!!

  7. Nice thoughts. I really don't think anyone should be uptight about friendships forming within groups. It's a natural progression and should be celebrated.

  8. We are really lucky here as the libraries allowed us to meet for free as they believe it's part of community service. In addition, our groups encourage participation from other members of the community.

  9. Hah - the formal v informal - nice post - I rely on my virtual knitting friends because I don't have a 'formal' SnB - just a couple of friends who knit and meet up occasionally.

    Friends are friends - and then there's the group you only have ONE thing in common with!

  10. Love this post, Kuka, on many levels.

    And now I just need to hope that Blogger doesn't eat this - my THIRD attempt at a reply ...


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