Ruhee Dewji, a Canadian software developer who lives alone, started knitting in the spring at the suggestion of a few friends. Before the pandemic, Ms. Dewji, 31, spent her free time playing music in bands. She found that playing alone during lockdown only emphasized her loneliness.
She finds knitting an uncomplicated joy with many advantages, but one thing stands out.
“I mostly did things for other people and I realized that when you do something for someone you love, you think of them every single stitch, and somehow it feels less lonely, even though I do it all by myself make. ” She said.
Although knitting is a one-on-one activity, many knitters like to gather together online and in person to share the achievements, laugh at the mistakes, and learn from each other. The portability of knitting is crucial, and since knitting doesn’t require full focus or attention, it allows you to engage with the people around you. In the past, yarn shops held knitting nights and libraries had craft groups. There are also formal knitting guilds, and in most major cities there appears to be at least one group of self-identified “drunken knitters” who meet in bars.
Most of the knitting nights and classes were held virtually earlier this year, making them accessible to members far away and members nearby with physical or other restrictions that may not make them appear in person.
Before the pandemic, Seattle Yarn held three regular face-to-face meetings each week. Destiny Itano, a co-owner, said that when travel and group restrictions were introduced, both employees and customers were “devastated” because they thought these groups might no longer exist. They set up online sessions within a few weeks of the city’s lockdown and have been hosting two events a week since then. Ms. Itano said she was “surprised at how well they work – not just as a social gathering, but also as a way for knitters to offer and get help with sewing.”
And the local knitting community has expanded: Ms. Itano’s mother comes from her home in Alaska and a regular participant in her group on Saturday mornings lives in Germany. They plan to keep these groups running even after the shop is fully functional again.
How to get started
Before you begin, you should know that focusing on the end result often makes many beginners too impatient with the inevitably incomplete results of their first few projects. The first of anything you do won’t be great. (Admit there was a catastrophically inedible sourdough last spring.) And it doesn’t matter. You still get all the benefits (virtuous or not) whether you wear a wearable scarf or not. You will still be relaxed and attentive to whether the hat fits or not.