The 'Love your Blog' Challenge - Challenge 1 - Interactions and Community

Well as promised I am up for the 'Love your Blog' challenge which has been the brainchild of A Playful Day.  If you have read my blog before it will come as no surprise that I am inspired by Kate - I have been following her Podcast and Blog for quite a while now (4 years maybe....) and have loved hearing about her highs and lows in life and how she always seems to come up with some sort of creative challenge for herself be it knitting, getting into the fibre business, gardening, cooking and most importantly bringing up her gorgeous little tot to appreciate the creative side of life.

Anyway the challenge for today is to talk about Interactions and Community.

I guess I thought for a while about this before realising that this knitting community I am immersed in has only really taken off for me personally since I found Ravelry.  To be honest I really cannot remember how I found out about this, our biggest knitting enabler!  I think it must have been from a knitting magazine and I remember being so excited to join the waiting list to sign up.  I think it took about a week (not too long in comparison to some people's wait!) before I logged on.......and the rest as they say 'is history'!

For me, two important interactions in the Ravelry Community come to mind.  These are the fabulous experiences I have had in two groups; 'The Knitting Amiras' and 'Knitters with Breast Cancer'.

To begin with, the first group I joined on Ravelry was the Knitting Amiras (Princesses in Arabic I believe).  This was whilst I was still back in the UK and awaiting the final arrangements to complete on our new and very daunting adventure - moving to the Middle East.  In the Amiras I found a group of ladies who gave me information on almost any stupid question I asked - i.e. what sort of plugs do you have in the UAE? to Where can I buy my yarn?  I joined my first Knit Along whilst I was still in the UK and was delighted to meet up face to face with the group shortly after I landed in Abu Dhabi. To this day I still try and get to knitting group meetings when I can (although see last blog post, I don't have a lot of time) - but even if its been a while and some faces change (the ups and downs of an expat life) the group is warm and welcoming and we all just fit back together as if we have never been apart!  As Jocelyn (our stalwart of the group) says 'Once an Amira, always an Amira' and never a truer word has been spoken, everyone still continues to contribute wherever they are in the world!

Once an Amira - Always an Amira! 

Secondly I wanted to share a Group who are truly lifesavers.  This is the Knitters with Breast Cancer group, which I unfortunately (in their words, no one wants to join this group in reality!) joined back in June 2012 when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  This group are truly life savers!  What you cannot say to your family about how you feel; frightened, sick, depressed, you can say to the ladies there - whatever it is there is someone there to talk, share their own experiences and support you.  Yes, if you read through some of the posts where loved members have sadly lost their battle, it can be heart wrenchingly sad - but that aside, the positive energy and love for each and every person absolutely shines through. I was very lucky and caught my disease very early so I am out of danger but will never forget the support and comfort I got from this online group of knitters. I don't often go back to the group, which I feel guilty for sometimes, because I should go back and support the others - but at the moment I am not ready yet - its all still a bit too close for comfort.

If you had told me 10 years ago that some people whom I would consider as good friends were those which I only met and interacted with over the internet, I might have scoffed!  I have always been a lover of 'pen pals' since childhood (many different ones over the years) but the online communities which I belong to have the same essence of those childhood pen pals - but hey its much quicker to hook up with a likeminded soul now, and what's more, the postal service in the UAE is beyond terrible so long live Internet Friends!

(now what jargon could we use BIFF's, IntiFriendies, Instabuddy........ NO - lets not even go there.......)

Louise xx
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