Thursday, 25 July, 2024

By The Fibreside

Knitting and spinning on the Sunshine Coast of BC

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Vaerbitt Yarns
Life, Spinning

Find Your People

We got off a plane in Denmark, drove almost to the northern tip of the country, got onto an overnight ferry, crashed hard because we’d been up for about 36 hours, and awoke in time to begin our first day in Norway on Good Friday. And one of the first things I see? A statue of sheep.

Sheep statue, Stavanger, Norway
Statue in downtown Stavanger, Norway

Our people are everywhere. No matter where you are in the world, no matter what the differences in language or tastes in food or culture, someone gets you, connects with you, likes the same things you like, is passionate about the same things you are passionate about.

Vaerbitt Yarns
Hanging out in Oslo at Vaerbitt Yarns – all Norwegian wool, all the time!

Language is no barrier. I speak no Norwegian, but my rusty Danish and the Norwegians’ command of English meant that we made it through just fine. The appreciation of fine yarn and great wool is universal. I could fumble my way through describing why I found Scandinavian sock yarn so amazingly different to various shop proprietors and they would smile and do their best to answer any questions I managed to pose about gauge and sourcing and what have you. Because they also loved yarn.

Weaving room
Weaving Room at the Uldspinderi (Wool Spinning Shop) in Den Gamle By, Aarhus

The history of wool and yarn is tucked into corners and part of the fabric of places and countries. You become used to seeing it in your own home town or place, but it jumps out at you when you are traveling, sometimes when you expect it, and sometimes when you don’t. You have to keep your eye out, and sometimes you have to enlist others to help you, but you can see and learn a lot within the context of your passion when you do.

Fibre tools, Oslo Viking Museum
Instantly recognizable niddy noddies and spindles, Oslo Viking Museum

This really came home to me this week, well after we returned from overseas, because since I last posted, I have left the southern edge of northern Alberta, Canada. While it may take some time for us to truly call ourselves settled, we are now in a different, still Canadian, place, and I am still seeing this place with a traveler’s eye.

I stumbled across “Opening Soon!” signs for a new yarn shop, and the next day met the woman who is starting the business. I have been attending a weekly fibre arts working space and have met some inspirational artists, and inspired them in turn by spinning on one of their wheels, long left gathering dust on a shelf. Each time I go, I learn more about the fibre arts community in this place, and my world broadens with each glimpse. I drive down the road and see sheep. A friend of my partner’s calls up a friend of his and hands the phone to me because he knows that gentleman has sheep and that I’m looking for fleece.

Yesterday when I attended the Wednesday knit night at the library for the first time, I told those attending, “Fibre arts have given me so much. Could a stranger like me come in and join a circle like this anywhere else and be as comfortable and accepted, just because we have this one thing in common? Fibre arts is more than just a hobby. It is a community.”

Your people are everywhere. Never be afraid to seek them out.

P.S. I am back. 🙂

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