Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Hygge

I've been thinking a lot about community lately, and how it relates to the Danish concept of hygge. The Oxford online dictionary defines community as "a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common."

For most of my life I have been a part of some very closely knit communities. Many of those have fallen into the first part of that definition - communities of place. I grew up in a farming community where neighbours would pitch in and help each other out. A few years ago when I was down visiting my mom we watched a story on the local evening news about a farmer who died in the middle of the harvest season. The footage showed dozens farmers and combines from all over the area showing up to finish cutting the wheat for this family. This happened just a few miles from our old family farm.

There is nothing like the comfort and caring that comes from someone showing up at your door in a time of crisis, casserole or pot of soup in hand. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of community care several times. There was the casserole that a friend brought the day after Jay returned from Romania with Alexandra, the soup and buns that were delivered a couple years later when Alexandra was flown to BC Children's Hospital by air ambulance, and the many offers of help from our neighbours in Richmond when Jay became ill. These are just a few examples from decades of living amongst people who care about each other.

Not all the communities I have been a part of have revolved around a place. Some fall into the second part of that definition - they are communities where the members have a shared interest. Blogging would be one of those. I feel a great sense of community here in my little corner of the blogging world. We bloggers seem to share a love of writing, seeing different places, and meeting new people. While I drink my morning tea I can visit Australia, Tasmania, Ireland, Norway, France, Costa Rica, the UK, multiple states and provinces, and many other spots around the globe.

There are many other ways I experience a sense of community, but the one I want to focus on for this post is knitting. For many years people have been gathering together with their needles and yarn.

http://www.meetmeatthecorner.org/episode/history-of-yarn

Now, thanks to the Internet, the knitting community has expanded beyond our own neighbourhoods. There are knitting blogs, and of course, there's Ravelry. It might seem odd to think of a community of knitters, so I will give a few examples from this past week so you can see what I mean.

When Kate Davies came out with her latest design, a Hap for Harriet, I wanted to try knitting it. But the thing is, I'm not a lace knitter. I emailed Jean and she wrote back, assuring me I could do it. Then, out of the blue, I got an email from someone I didn't know. It turns out this person is a knitter who reads Jean's blog, and she had read that I was nervous about casting on this project. She is knitting it herself, and very generously offered to send me copies of the row charts she had made to keep track of where she is as she knits. It's sort of the virtual equivalent of someone showing up at your door with a casserole.

Then on Tuesday I had a chance to meet up with Lynne from the blog The Sock Lady Spins. I've been reading Lynne's blog for years, and admiring her amazing colourwork socks and gloves. She was traveling south and was going to be driving through Chilliwack. We met at Tim Horton's at 1:00, and spent the next two hours talking non-stop. Lynne showed me some of the gloves she has recently knit.


Then an amazing thing happened. Lynne pulled out some socks. She had knit wee socks for Lucy, and these incredible knee socks for me!


The knee socks were knit with yarn she spun and dyed herself. I'm torn between wearing them and framing them to hang on my wall. Here we are together. I should point out the Tim Horton's employee who took our picture was also a knitter, and had come over to admire Lynne's work.




The odd thing is, as much as I love where we now live, I don't feel that same sense of community here as I have in other places we have lived. The reason I say it's odd is because this place is promoted as being a cottage community. Maybe it's due to the fact many people are only at their cottages on weekends and holidays (only 10% of the cottages have year-rounders like us). Or maybe it's because many of them have owned their cottages since the development first started and already have established groups of friends. Whatever the reason, I have to admit it's a bit lonely here. But that just makes me appreciate the community I have through blogging, and knitting, and my friends in far away places that much more.

A warm welcome to all the new readers and followers here at North of 49. If you want to find out more about hygge you can find my previous posts here: January, February, March and April.

54 comments:

  1. I really have chills right now because this is how I feel about blogging and the few likeminded people I know who love to craft and make. I get most of my community for that through blogging, which is wonderful, but I really love it when I learn that someone else I know "in real life" loves it as much as I do. But then I probably sound like a desperate cling-on when I start asking them what kind of yarn they like, are they on Ravelry, will they pleeeeeeeeease come to my house and crochet or sew with me. So then I'm even more thankful for the blogging community because they usually already get it. :)

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    1. I agree about how nice it is to have likeminded people to share our love of crafting with, Jennifer. Like you, sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone has the same amount of enthusiasm that I do. I'm lucky though, because I have a couple of "real life" friends who are just as fanatical as I am. My problem really starts when I go on and on to someone who is a non-craft person. They end up looking at me like I have two heads. My mom would be included in this latter group. :-)

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  2. This was such a great post for me to read today. i needed to remove myself from 'the community' this winter for a variety of reasons. and while i knew it was a good thing and something that needed to be done, i missed parts of it something fierce. for all the reasons you just posted about. you asked me to let you know when i returned to blogging...well, i seem to be back...a little. we'll see how it goes especially considering i'm back up north for the season. (and just because I haven't been interacting doesn't mean i haven't been reading...have to say [very belatedly] congratulations on your book -- that is so freakin' awesome kristie!).

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    1. How nice to hear from you, Rachel! I have been wondering what you have been up to. Thanks for letting me know you are back to blogging. I'll be heading right over to see what you have written. I hope you have a good season up north, and thank you for your kind words about my book! :-)

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  3. I just had a great experience with the close community of the Shetland Islands where no one locks their doors and folks just enter to visit. There is tremendous support among Shetland families who tend to all live close together, often on a piece of family land. My own brother's family live in Sardis, quite close to you and are closely knit. You are probably right about " cottage country".

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    1. Isn't Shetland the most amazing place? I was there last September, and when we picked up the rental car at the airport we were told it would be waiting for us in the parking lot. I asked how we would get the keys and was told it wouldn't be a problem. They would just leave it unlocked and have the keys under the floor mat.

      Sardis is only about 25 minutes from where I live - it's where I do all my shopping!

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  4. What stunning socks - what a lovely gift! I know what you mean about our knitting/blogging community, i think my life would be so less full without it - and life would be much more lonely and boring.

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    1. They were an incredible gift, and I still have them sitting on top of my dresser so I can admire them whenever I walk by.

      Life would definitely be smaller in so many ways if we didn't have our blogging community. My dream would be to some day meet in person every person whose blog I read. :-)

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  5. I have read that having a sense of community contributes to better health and longer life, and I'm sure this is so. We moved here ten years ago, and really discovered what a great community we had joined when we had our major vehicle accident in 2011 - we were supported by a large number of local people who brought food, drove us to the hospital and medical appointments, came and did housework, yardwork and pool maintenance and so much more. HB was in a wheelchair for six months. I am so blessed by this community, and find similar communal friendship via blogging, sewing, music and art. How lovely to have met Lynn and what beautiful sox she has knitted for you. I love that you met at Tim Horton's our favourite 'meeting place' when we go to Canada! (Do they still have those tea biscuits?)

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    1. What you have described about how people helped after your vehicle accident is a perfect example of community, Patricia. Isn't it a great feeling to be living in a place like that? I'm sure you have reached out and helped others as well. I think that must be true about having better health and living longer when you have a sense of community.

      Tim Horton's is a truly Canadian experience, so I'm glad you have been able to meet there when you are over visiting your family. I'm not sure about the tea biscuits - I'll have to check next time I'm there. I was too busy talking to order anything to eat. :-)

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  6. Those socks for you are amazing, so much fun meeting with bloggers and not as scary as you'd think. I hope you soon find some friends amongst your community, are there any knitting groups? If not, why not start one, you never know who is out there knitting alone

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    1. I agree that it is a lot of fun to meet bloggers, and not scary at all. I wish there was a way for us all to have a big meet-up!

      There is a knitting group that meets in the nearby city, but it is a half hour's drive away, plus I am not an evening person. I need to find some knitters who live out here - I asked the lady who has a cottage across the street if she knit and she looked at me like I had two heads. Hopefully I get a better response from the next person I ask! :-)

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  7. knitted socks are just the best, so comfy! you going to love wearing and admiring those. What a nice present. Heather x

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    1. Knitted socks are my choice of footwear for seven months of the year. It will be a treat to wear some that someone else knit!

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  8. The socks look great and definitely the best way of displaying them, on one's feet! I must try that next time I photo new socks for my blog.
    When our children were growing up we lived in a different place. The children played with all the other children in the street and the adults mixed and established friendships as a result.
    Where we live now we've been here about 15 years and have great neighbours. We chat, help each other out, laugh and joke but it has taken us quite a while to get to that stage.
    Wouldn't change anything though, we love living here!

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    1. I know they belong on my feet, but I am almost afraid to wear them. I'm sure I'll get over it once I have worn them a couple of times. Besides, they are handspun and fairly thick, maybe like a sort weight yarn, so they should last for many years even if I wear them frequently.

      I'm encouraged to hear that it took you awhile to get to know your neighbours, but that you did manage to finally get there. Hopefully that's what will happen here too. :-)

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  9. Blogging is a great way to meet up with like minded people. None of my friends are knitters or crocheters but I've found many new friends online who share my interests. The socks which Lynne knit are beautiful,. Imagine being so talented as to spin and dye the yarn yourself and then knit those wonderful socks with what you've produced.

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    1. I'm luckier than many knitters, Jo. I have several "real life" friends who knit. The problem is that none of them live nearby. The closest is about an hour and a half away.

      Lynne is a very talented knitter and spinner. I was so happy to get a chance to meet her in person!

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  10. What fun you've had meeting up with bloggers in real life, like Jean in Scotland and now Lynne. Such beautiful work - those gloves are amazing!
    I agree with your ideas about a blogging community. I've been reading blogs for many years since I found Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Judy Laquidara. A link recently led me to Helene Magnusson's blog, and a knitting tour of Iceland sure sounds appealing! Oh, and I just received Kate Davies kit for Peerie Flooers - can't wait to get started.
    We've lived in Chilliwack 7 months now, and it's been a bit difficult to make friends. But I've joined a quilt guild and various exercise classes and am starting to recognize faces. Hopefully something similar will happen for you.

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    1. I have had a lot of fun meeting both Jean and Lynne, and hope to meet more bloggers in my future travels. A knitting tour of Iceland would be amazing! Kate's patterns are all so much fun to knit - you are going to love the Peerie Flooers hat. If you are in Chilliwack now we should try to meet! Why don't you send me an email and we can figure something out. :-)

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  11. Is it weird that I feel closer to many bloggers than I do to people I've met? Apparently not! :)

    You are so right about the community of blogging and the caring that flows between bloggers.

    What stunningly beautiful socks and gloves Lynne makes. Lucky you!

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    1. I have had that same feeling about bloggers, and would love to meet each one in person. Of course such a thing isn't really possible, but I will hang onto that dream anyway! :-)

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  12. I started blogging partly because I saw how bloggers built up networks of friends all across the world, opening doors to new experiences and shared pleasures, or problems, too. I find it incredibly difficult to feel part of a local community, I always seem to be hovering on the edges of a community but don't quite feel that I am at the heart of any of them. It can be a lonely place to be. But I do have a knitting group with three great friends, we also have the German language in common. We meet once a month or knitting and chatting. I love your story about meeting Lynne. The socks and gloves she knits are truly inspiring. I am going to check out Lynne's blog now! I wonder if the community feeling in your new home will grow with time? I do hope it does. Have a lovely week. x

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    1. I'm sorry you don't feel like you are at the heart of your community, Christina. "Hovering on the edges" would be a good description for how I feel about living here too. Your knitting group sounds terrific though, and what a bonus that all of you share your native language! I hope for both of us the community feeling grows with time. Jacqueline's comment above gives me some hope that it could happen!

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  13. I love the blogging community, the problem is when you develop a relationship with someone and they stop blogging, you start to care and suddenly they are gone and you don't know why. I love that you have met up with a very gifted and talented friend. I would be framing those socks as I would never be able to create something that lovely.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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    1. You have brought up a subject for a whole other post, Meredith. The downside of a blogging community is that you don't know most of your blogging friends in real life, and it's awful to just have them disappear. It's happened to several bloggers I have read, and like you I have wondered what's happened to them.

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  14. Love everything about this Post Kristie, I really do. It's all so true. The blogging community, knitting community and home community. What a beautiful and generous person Lynne is! That's what I love about the blogging community. Her socks are amazing! I've moved around a lot - at least 10 different places as well as a couple of overseas stints and I think it takes 2 years to really settle into a community and feel part of it. I'm getting used to feeling on the outer and becoming part of a community with time and effort. I hope you do manage the Hap, I fell in love with it too when I saw it, just need to free my needles from the 3 other projects I've started. Mel x

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    1. I'll take heart from your advice that it takes two years to really settle into a new place, Mel. Thank you for that reminder! We haven't even been here a full year yet, and I am probably expecting too much, too soon. Thank you for your kind words about my post. As for the Hap, I've promised myself when I get my WIPs down to just three I can start. I know I should follow your lead and get all of them off the needles, but my willpower just isn't that great. :-)

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  15. Loved that picture of you and Lynne together, especially after seeing it on Jean's blog. You will be able to tell us whether Lynne darns in all the ends - or does she use knots? Those socks are a work of art, but it's Lynne's stoicism that amazes me every time.

    I did wonder what your new location would be like out of season - it looks so great out on that lake in summer. You probably do need to join something, even if it's not a knitting group.

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    1. She does neither Shandy! She has a trick where she uses a cuticle file, and I think I am going to ask her to explain it on her blog. It's brilliant!

      The out of season was very different than the summer, but not necessarily bad. It was just very, very quiet, and because I had been so busy last summer after we moved in I hadn't met many people. When things got quiet it became harder to do so. This spring I joined the garden committee, and now I'm starting to meet some people, including a few other of the year-rounders like us. One of these days I'll find another knitter out here!

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  16. You are so right, any group of people with a similar interest, outlook or purpose can be a community. It is lovely to know that you are meeting people through the blogging community and having such a great time doing it. I would be so torn about those socks that Lynne made for you, what a kind gift they are, but what a work of art too! I think that I would just sit and look at them and stroke them! I love that I have found you in the blogging community Kristie and I hope that you find some more people in your new community to share your outlook and joys with, perhaps as the weather changes you will meet more people down at the communist garden! xx

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    1. I look at them every time I walk into my bedroom, Amy! I haven't put them away in my wool chest yet just so I can keep on admiring them. :-)

      Thank you for your kind words, and I have enjoyed discovering your blog as well. You are exactly right about the communist garden. I have already met several people through that, and last week I even got to show one of the ladies how to pick lettuce. :-)

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  17. I just adore those socks. I've never made, worn or owned hand knitted socks but they look simply wonderfully snuggly and warm. What a kind and generous gift you received. I'm quite happy doing my own thing - crafting, learning, reading, writing etc. There doesn't appear to be much of a community spirit where I live other than the WI or U3A groups and quite honestly I don't feel inclined to join any of them. I have a number of girl friends who each have their own particular interest or craft projects but we don't get together as a group. This is where blogging comes into its own. I just love it. I don't always have the time to write and struggle with catching up with reading and commenting but once I'm in the swing of it, its my own virtual like-minded community all rolled into one.
    Patricia x

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    1. I can't believe you've never worn hand knit socks, Patricia! You are missing out on one of life's simple pleasures (and warm feet!). I'm sorry to hear there isn't much of a community spirit where you live. I know what the WI is, but I'm not familiar with U3A. ?? Would it be possible to start a group with your crafting friends? You wouldn't all have to be doing the same craft.

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  18. Having a sense of community is so important and we are so lucky to have found this through blogging. I too find it wonderful to visit places all round the world over a cup of coffee. I'm sorry you haven't found as much of a community as your hoped within your neighbourhood. I know from neighbouring villages with many homes used as holiday homes how much it can affect the community spirit. I hope this will improve for you over time. When we eventually move we would like to live somewhere with more of a community spirit. Sarah x

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    1. Yes, we are very fortunate to be a part of such a great blogging community. The thing about where we live now is it was designed to be a holiday cottage community, and is set up to encourage community. I'm hoping now that I have joined the garden committee things will turn around and I'll get to know a few people. I can hardly believe you are thinking of eventually moving away from where you live. It is such a beautiful place, and your pictures always make me want to visit! :-)

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  19. I do so agree with you about the local and world wide knitting community, it is so friendly and helpful. I have lived where I am now for 20 years and for the first 15 it was so hard to make friends. And then as my work demanded less of my time I joined a knitting group - and now I have friends both local and 'virtual' . And like you I have also had the chance to meet one or two of the lovely people I have met on line as well. Thank you for your lovely post (and for visiting my blog, I hope you pop in often)

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    1. That was a very long time to wait to make friends, Catherine! I'm glad you have found some through your knitting group. Isn't it great to meet virtual friends in person? I have added you blog to my reading list!

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  20. That's a tough call on the socks. They were made to be worn, but I'd probably end up putting them on the wall. On Mother's Day I wandered into a yarn shop. The folks on the shop were strangers, but talked more like old friends. It was pretty neat. Community is a wonderful thing wherever we find it, whatever the ties that bind.

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    1. I hope when you wandered into the yarn shop you had a chance to use some of the knitting vocabulary you've picked up from my blog over the years, Rick!

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    2. The owner asked if I was a knitter. I said no, but mentioned you. I snapped a picture or two in case I decide to do a post on the visit--it would be very short.

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  21. Community is important and the blogging community can be pretty special. What great socks your friend gave you. When I recently took up knitting after years I discovered my LYS has drop in sessions where you can get help. I've been going to the same session for several months. These days I go even if I am not at a place I need help with. I just like spending a couple of hours with other knitters.

    Darla

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    1. That is so nice that you have found a local yarn store with drop in sessions! Spending time with other knitters is so great. It seems like even if we don't have anything else in common, knitting gives us plenty to talk about. :-)

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  22. I have recently redound your blog through reading Jean's blog. I saw the picture of you and Lynne and I recognized you both as I have read both your blogs. It was a circuitous route as I live in Kelowna! I saw the picture of your Westie and then I really had to laugh. We have a Westie too, it's our daughters but we are caring for him, lived most of his two years with us. She got him from a breeder in Blind Bay, which is pretty close to Kamloops! The knitting community is sure a small world. Love your posts! Chris

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    1. I'm so glad you have refund my blog, Chris! I couldn't believe it when you said your daughter's Westie is from Blind Bay. I'm sure that is the same breeder I got Fergus from!! Do you know the birthdate of your dog? It is even possible they are from the same litter.

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    2. Archie was born on June 29, 2012. I just checked with my daughter

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    3. Now here is something else quite funny. Last August my daughter was in Victoria for a holiday. She and her bf went down for a few days Archie stayed with us. They were walking through Beacon Hill Park and saw a cute Westie who she said looked like Archie. We'll you know they all

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    4. It must have been fun to run into one of Archie's litter mates! I'm sure Archie and Fergus must be half siblings, if that's what it is called in the dog world. Has Archie had trouble with skin problems? Fergus has had a terrible time, and we finally put him on a drug called Atopica, which has made a huge difference.

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  23. Oops my new phone has some ....issues I blame the phone! Ha! Ok so she talked to the people with the Westie named Molly and turns out she came from the same breeder and if you can believe it the same litter! So Fergus you have family out there!

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  24. I love those socks, I'm a huge fan of socks although I don't knit myself.
    I do feel part of a blog community and often imagine myself travelling the world meeting up with blogging friends!

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    1. I hope you have a knitting friend who can keep you supplied with some handknit socks, Jay! I think there are quite a few of us who would love to do a worldwide blogging tour. :-)

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  25. What beautiful gifts from your new friend! I`ll be sure to pop over to take a look at her blog. You're inspired me to pick up my knitting needles this evening.

    I hope that your sense of community growths where you live. Meanwhile, the internet does have a way of introducing people with some common sensibilities.

    Karen

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  26. Those socks are wonderful! What a fabulous gift. And you're right, the community of knitter's is something very special.

    I'm kinda sad for you that your new community is a more lonely place than you've been used to. Is there a local knitting group to join?

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  27. What gorgeous socks and how kind of Lynne to knit them for you and Lucy. I know just what you mean about community and can well remember how people rallied round with offers of help and food when I had my last breast cancer operation. I'm just sorry that you're not yet finding that sense of community in your new home.

    As for the blogging community, it's just wonderful. :-)

    Is there somewhere you could put up a poster suggesting a craft group and would you be prepared to host it? I go to Knit & Natter when we're in Scotland and to a weekly craft afternoon in a neighbouring village when in France and know how much fun they are and how good at keeping me uptodate with everyone's news.

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