Earlier this year, I joined the state knitting guild. It’s an interesting organisation, run predominantly by older women, many of whom are excellent knitters and/or crocheters, but who are not necessarily up to date on current trends in knitting (including in particular the internet but also modern or newer designers and yarns). (This is, of course, a generalisation, as the guild, like any organisation, has all types!) And perhaps this is more of a perception than a reality, but there also seems to be a reluctance to share information (eg judging standards at the shows, contents of the guild library and archives etc) and a whole lot of politics. The politics is also, I know, pretty standard in most organisations.
Sometimes this apparent inability of many in organisational roles within the guild to embrace the internet and all it can do for knitting is frustrating for the more internet savvy knitters, and it results to some extent in the guild being seen as a backward organisation which reinforces the stereotype of knitters as little old ladies making things that no-one would wear. Which is a real shame, as there is a lot of knowledge and talent amongst the guild members, not to mention an element of charitable work which is also valuable to the community.
Nevertheless, I figure that things in the guild which I think are less desirable will never change if “new blood” doesn’t join and take part in guild activities. Not that I expect anything to change overnight, or even quickly but it will get there. Membership is important both to help effect changes I’d like to see, as well as to see how the guild really works from the inside, and to experience what is good about it as well. I’ve found a branch of the guild that contains many knitters like me – not all internet savvy but all genuinely interested in learning and sharing skills, as well as having a fun time. Not to mention meeting in a heritage building with million dollar harbour views over Circular Quay in Sydney!
Sometimes I feel kind of weird about being a member of a knitting guild, but then I wake up to myself and remember I must feel proud – I love to knit (and crochet) and I love to share my pasttime with other people who love it too – and that is something that, I hope, all members of the guild have in common. So the guild, notwithstanding the concerns I personally hold about it at present, is an excellent way of doing this, as well as sharing and learning from others too (and teaching other people how to knit and passing on the pleasure in that way).
If you have a local knitting guild or similar organisation, are you a member? If not, please think about it – you might not want to get involved in the organisation side of things, which is absolutely fine, as just getting together with other knitters is such a great experience (and no, I’m not going to say it’s empowering!!).