Crafting is a lot of fun, at least in my opinion. It is even more enjoyable if you can share your crafting with someone else or even craft together. This way you become part of a crafting community or part of what Vickie Howell calls The Hive.
For those of you who do not know who Vickie Howell is, she has hosted a number of craft shows on American Television and has a strong online presence with regular youtube shows and podcasts. I came across her through a Facebook post by Clover in which she was demonstrating a new clover product. I enjoyed that video and started following her shows.
She started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to make an online Knitting & Crochet series called the Knit Show. She wanted to create an online show rather than one for terrestrial TV so crafters from all over the world could enjoy watching it at a time that suited them.
Vickie managed to raise enough funds and the (first) ten episodes of The Knit Show were released last Thursday. I have watched four episodes so far and I have really enjoyed it. Every episode usually has two guests talking you through a particular technique, there is a visit to a show or manufacturer, a tools/trick section and I one episode also had a fitness section on how to keep fit for crafting. At the beginning of each show, Vickie talks to three crafters about their passion for crafting. She refers to these people as being part of the Hive, the crafting community behind the Knit Show. I thought that was a really nice choice of words especially when I read through her definition of ‘Knit Hive’:
KNIT HIVE /NIT HĪV/(NOUN) A nod to the knitting bees of old and the modern, “Hive Mind” mentality that refers to the gathering of stitchers, either physically or virtually for the purpose of supporting and sharing a common passion for knitting, crochets, craft and creativity.
I also think it is important that in her shows Vickie stresses the holistic look on our creative lives. People have indicated before that crafting could reduce stress and there are even books on The Mindfulness in Knitting. I personally find embroidery and crochet a very relaxing activity despite any difficulties in the pattern or design. I do, however, find that I can keep going on too long sitting in the same position without a break, which my shoulders, neck and head start to complain about eventually. This is why I try and get up from my desk regularly and do a few simple exercises. However, sometimes I am having so much fun stitching that I forget to take a break and I will regret it later. This why I really enjoyed the fitness-section in episode 4 of the Knit Show. This showed me that I am not the only one who needs to watch their posture!
I think the word Hive can be used more widely and is definitely not limited to followers of the Knit Show.
The Facebook group ‘The Imaginarium of Edward’s menagerie’ is such a hive and one I really enjoy being part of. This is a really friendly group for people who love crocheting the animals, monsters and dolls Kerry Lord of Toft has designed. It is really fun sharing your own creations and seeing those of others, but also to help others, or ask other for help, about how to stitches animals together, choosing yarns and colours and pattern advise.
The hive-effect is also why CALs, KALs and SAls are so much fun. You a stitching, knitting and crocheting along with others and sharing these experiences online and sometimes even at physical meet-ups. When I did the Scheepjes ‘Hygge’ CAL at the beginning of the year I really enjoyed being part of the international facebook group as it was really inclusive and so much fun to see what people all over the world are stitching with this Dutch yarn.
The hives for this CAL also enlightened some cultural differences for me. As Scheepjes is a Dutch yarn there was also a Dutch Facebook group but it was far less inclusive and there were far more negative posts (complains about the pattern, costs of kit etc.) than on the international group. I had noticed some cultural difference before as I have attended both Dutch and British craft shows but I have never really been able to put my finger on to what exactly that difference is. Through my blog, I have also come into contact with some Dutch retailers (e.g. Wol Zo Eerlijk, Ja, Wol, Wolcafé) who have realised the importance of hives. They not only use social media or their website to advertise their wares but also to keep in contact with their customers and organise events.
Being part of a community or a hive is also why I like blogging. It is a really fun way to get into contact with people who share the same interests, but who might live on the other side of the world. In my local area, there are not many physical craft groups so my blog is helping me to create an online one. It means it also not as scary as it could have been to go to the Royal School of Needlework next week to start my certificate course because I know that I will be meeting some people there that I have already ‘met’ online and who have ‘told’ me all about it. Previous classes at the RSN have also shown me how inclusive the international embroidery hive is.
Next Sunday I will be at the Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace hoping to meet a few more people and spread the ‘Stitching Sheep’-word and get a few more visitors to my blog and social media accounts. Hopefully, I will have time that evening to blog about my day, the people I have met and the things I have seen and bought, before starting my certificate course the day after. I will, of course, keep you all posted about my course as well but I have to see how often I can get to post in between homework!