The Joy of Community

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We love to 'gather', we meet and hang-out and consciously or un-consciously, seek out people with the same or similar tastes and interests as ourselves. Whilst doing all of this we share, whether it be tips, short-cuts, news, highs and lows or friendly banter, we do it with an enthusiasm that only those, privy to the love of the topic 'get'.

Technology has changed the landscape of these 'gatherings'. We no longer have to leave the comfort of our homes and favourite chair, to discover what the latest and greatest is. Sub-groups are now formed as part of the whole, those that feel that being a purist is not the only way, find that they are not the only one and form a group, that group grows and before you know it, new communities are formed and different skill sets are shared.

I belong to one such community, a Facebook Page where lovers of crochet gather, but more specifically, those that love to combine their love of yarn and hooks with their love of mandalas, the excitement of a different stitch and technique for each row. However, it is taken a step further and a community is formed that is referred to in the wider sense as CAL (crochet-a-long) and each week a pattern is sent out to the members to continue with their mandala - all crocheters moving along at a similar pace. Everyone offering up advise and support as well as encouragement. Some share their stories of what creating the mandala means to them or where they were in their lives while creating it. In return, fellow crafters respond with anecdotes and comfort.

But of course the madness doesn't end there, as it never does. One community leads to another and another and before you know it, your FB favourite page list has quadrupled. One other such page for me, is Official CCC Social Group with all the "Mandala Madness", add to that a beautiful website and a fabulous blogger, Helens mandala has the CAL community in a tizzy - a tizzy of the best possible crochet type. Its luxurious in colour and texture and allows for crocheters of all abilities to join in on the fun. One glance at all the photos on the page and you know that you are amongst, not just amazing talent, but creative souls. Each photo a joy

Whether you share in one of my online communities, or you belong to one/many yourself, you will no doubt resonate with me when I say, "you can't choose your family, but you sure as heck can choose your communities". You can open your community page of choice first thing in the morning, coffee in hand, hair unbrushed, face unwashed, whilst rushing family out of the door, to cuddle up in that favourite chair, to bond and share with fellow lovers of handcrafted, who would not be content with that?

My challenge this week however is to 'square off' my mandala. Yes round is good. Round is beautiful in fact, but when I mentioned that that is what I would like to do, I opened up a pandoras box. It had been done before, by one very clever lady, Kim Davis. She, it seems, did not think that it would be that popular, and whilst she took some beautiful photos and gave a description of what she had done, for many in our community, that is not enough. So... I have spent this week, fathoming it out, frogging (yes, thats a word! A crochet term, taught to me by a fellow crocheter, it means, heaven forbid, undoing your work.... sigh) and writing copious notes to share with everyone who has asked for these details. Does it detract from the beautiful mandala as designed so very cleverly by Annemarie? Not at all, it creates, what constantly happens, that proverbial sub-group.

I'm almost there let it be said, but even my own short-hand is proving a tad difficult to decipher. Perhaps next week? If I don't find another community with its own set of sub-communities for an all together different craft....

Picture below is Kim's beautiful squared off mandala (Mandala design by Annemarie Esterhuizen)


Helen Shrimpton of Mandala Madness fame:

Photo below is one of Helens amazingly beautiful, crochet mandala creations - makes you just want to crochet doesn't it?

Helen mandala