On community and craft


Here's me, teaching my husband to knit, outside, in the city, in the middle of winter. The dream.

One night last week we spent one of the coldest evenings of the year knitting to keep some bike racks warm. When it's put like that, it's kind of odd. Why would you spend a freezing cold evening outside, your fingers going numb, knitting something that's not really functional?

For me I guess it's a few reasons. One is that it was bringing my usually indoor hobby into a space where it's less expected. With about 30 of us knitting, enjoying a sausage sizzle and drinking tea in a square on one of Auckland's main streets, it helps challenge people about what a solitary hobby can really be. For me it's really social. It helps strikes up conversations with people you might not normally encounter, who are interested in seeing what is often considered a domestic craft in a non-domestic place. And it brings people who love making stuff together, to brighten up our shared home city.

I've been incredibly lucky to have met some amazing people with my crafting over the last year, and quite a few of these amazing people were knitting with us on the chilly evening. Some of them I'd been lucky enough to teach, and quite a few of them have also taught me a thing or two. 

Like how much making stuff matters. Sure, my knitting isn't going to change the world on a giant scale, but it has made a difference in that little square in the city, where people now walk past the bike racks and touch them, talk about them, point them out. If it's starting conversations with new people, and helping us rethink the public places we all share and what we use them for, then that can only be a good thing. These spaces are our outdoor living rooms, so they should be cozy! 

And even better, it's helping people to rethink what craft means. It's not just something to be done at home. It's something that can be valued in a wider social context, open for anyone to try and not be afraid of having a go, and the way it brings people together should be celebrated.

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