Whenever i'm in TO, when i was visiting from Kingston, and now that i'm visiting from Hong Kong, I go to knitting groups. I don't feel sane if i can't go out and knit with people. I can knit at home, alone, in front of the tv, or while talking to my parents, my husband, my kids, but it's just not the same as talking to other knitters. i have two regular groups in Hong Kong that meet weekly, one that meets monthly. all three groups are made up of different people. i think i'm the only one who regularly attends all three. they're all different people, all fantastic.
in Kingston, i had two regular groups. there were more i couldn't get to every week, the one at the LYS for example. when I was visiting last week, just for two days, i went to two knit nights. it was just obvious that i had to do that. that's what you do. (also, i was staying with a friend who is a knitter, so that made it easy). there is overlap in these groups. people show up where they can, when they can. i got to see several old knitting friends, and it felt like almost no time had passed.
in TO, there is one group i go to whenever i'm here. there are others in town, and at least one other that i try to go to semi-regularly, but the one i go to on tuesday nights is a must. now, you have to understand that i have never lived in TO as an adult, certainly never lived here as a knitter. I was born and raised here, but moved away when i was 19. i've only ever been here in my adulthood as a 'visitor'. i've never felt like a visitor though. this will always be home. and the weekly group, the one i only ever got to attend when i was visiting, over holidays mostly, in the summer, is one more thing that makes me feel like this is home. i show up two weeks ago, nobody was expecting me, nobody knew i'd be home. every single person i knew was happy to see me. They were friendly and cheerful, asked about Hong Kong, about my kids. and we got down to knitting, and again, it was like i had never left.
this is one of those things that is awesome about knitting, about knitters. we see each other on a regular schedule, like clockwork. often, you only see these people at knit night. it's a once-a-week relationship (sometimes twice). for me, it was maybe five or six times a year, just for the last two years, really. and yet, i talk to people, we talk about our lives, about our families, births, deaths, work, school, no topic is off the table. it's almost effortless. when you've got knitting in your hands, all your differences are irrelevant. i talk to people a decade younger than me or more, i talk to people old enough to be my mother, or my grandmother. doesn't make a difference. we always find a common thread (if you'll pardon the pun).
and it's not just the regular people that you connect with. just tonight i talked to three people i had never met before, one of whom is a fellow expat. you don't expect to meet someone and immediately have a great connection with them- i mean, i'm sure it happens sometimes, but not on a regular basis, not on a weekly basis. but apparently with knitting, you can.
knitting groups keep me sane. they kept me sane when i moved to Hong Kong- i've made fantastic friends there already, i never would have found them without knitting. they've kept me sane here, while i'm visiting my parents but still desperately missing my husband and kids. i don't know what i'd do without them.
to sum up- knitters are awesome. they're a special type of person, and i don't know what makes them so great, but if we could figure it out and bottle it, we'd make a fucking fortune.