Have you ever wondered what is it about knitters that draws them to each other and fosters the innumerable groups that have formed around this centuries old activity? Is it simply the desire to share something with someone who can appreciate what one has accomplished? Or could it be human nature, and what some call the herding instinct? The classic definition of this is how individuals in a group act collectively without centralized direction. It has been studied since the 1800s by philosophers (Kierkegaard and Nietzsche), economists (Veblen), social scientists (Simmel) and psychologists (Freud, Jung and Le Bon). All in an effort to better understand human societies.
Well, after attending a few Stitches and Vogue Knitting LIVE events I have become rather fascinated as well. Looking at ravelry.com for example, there are millions of knitting enthusiasts from Australia (488 groups with 55,115 members) to Zambia (1 group with 7 members), all gathering within this social forum. Today I searched meetup.com, the wonderful web site for people who like to meet with others in person to share their enthusiasm for anything and everything from knitting to acrophobia. I stopped counting knitting meetup groups when I reached 1,000. Along the way I came upon the most fascinating discovery—perhaps particularly fascinating to me since my first career was in the hospitality industry, branding and marketing hotels, resorts, spas and tourism destinations. It is the Westcliffe Hotel, in Blackpool, England. Can you imagine such a thing as a knitting hotel? Paula Chew did. Then she created what must be the world's first and perhaps only knitting hotel. It is a unique destination that attracts guests from across the country and abroad (getting perfect scores on Trip Advisor). So if you like to travel, and can’t imagine a vacation without your knitting needles, then take a peak at the Westcliffe Hotel in Blackpool, England. According to Peter Marshall from BBC News, “It’s not all knitting and a nice cup of tea.” And to quote a guest, “What happens in Blackpool stays in Blackpool”. (Clink this link to a brief video: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-37636065)
So whatever it is that compels us to share our knitting experiences with others, I’m glad it’s motivating us. I’m happy to be a member of the herd.