It’s a fact: South-western Ontario is a darned good place to be a knitter.
My local Knitters’ Guild in Kitchener-Waterloo is among the largest, if not the largest, in the country. That means great speakers, a TON of in-house expertise, a phenomenal library collection, and a really active community of fellow knitters to draw upon. (To think I only joined a year ago! What was I thinking, not joining sooner?) It also means the annual Knitters’ Fair, which now fills two ballrooms with yarn and fibre and patters…
We have a wealth of great yarn shops throughout the region. And what’s more, we have amazing producers within driving distance: Koigu, Shelridge Farm, Philosopher’s Wool, Wellington Fibres, and more are all more or less ‘local’ (within about 3 hours’ drive, anyway, which all still counts as South-western Ontario).
And the knitters! Here in K-W, we have Debbie New, and until recently, Sally Melville. In Toronto, which is only an hour’s drive, there’s everyone from the Yarn Harlot, Amy Singer of Knitty fame, Laura Chau (Cosmicpluto), et cetera et cetera et cetera.
But most especially, I feel lucky to have plunked myself down in a place where I’ve found so many kindred spirits on a very, very local scale.
By pure coincidence, I met Johanna when I made a banner image for our local Ravelry group. I used an image of some windows that are part of the old Seagram’s distillery, both because they’re iconic in this area and because I happen to work in one of the old Seagram’s buildings myself. Johanna (the local group’s moderator) saw the image and must have thought I was stalking her, because she lives in one of the other distillery buildings, with the same distinctive windows!
Johanna has taught me the basics of dyeing yarn, and allowed me to play with luxurious fibres in the process. She’s also a fellow “insulin junkie” — we both rely on many daily injections of insulin to keep ourselves going. And she was the first person I really knew at the Guild, and the one who convinced me to join!
There are others who are now regulars at our Thursday knit nights. Suzanne, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, is warm and funny and thought-filled, and a great source of perspective when things get crazy.
Then there’s Tess, and frequently her son Rory, who add life to every conversation; there’s Angie, who is an absolute peach and who knits absolutely beautiful things — often with the exact same taste in patterns as I have; there’s (occasionally) Lindsey, who knits with her students and inspires us all. There are occasional newcomers, who give us new projects to ogle and fondle.
And there’s Catt, who has just started knitting (though she’s been crocheting for a long while), and who, as our resident Newfie, injects colour and humour with every comment.
These ladies have really made this place feel like home — I’ve lived in Waterloo off and on for over a decade now, but aside from my husband and his family, no one has made me feel more like a local and a real community member than this gang of crazies lovelies.