(I did my undergraduate work at Mizzou. Mizzou has a tradition of recognizing students in various walks of study/life by making them members of special groups at Tap Day. I’m borrowing the term to do shout-outs on Tuesdays.)

When people ask me why I knit – because clearly it’s not economical or quick (don’t get me started) – a large part of my answer is “the community.” We’re lucky to be in a time that allows us to have knitting groups that we can physically visit and attend, as well as groups on Ravelry/Facebook/Twitter/blogging circles that may be composed of people we have yet to meet in real life.

I would never have become a prolific knitter or even considered designing if it hadn’t been for the helpful, kind, and supportive folks at my former LYS. I’ve had many a project saved by those same people – moth-chewed yarnovers mended, tinking of backwards cables, and plain old reassurance that, yes, everyone hates garter stitch and lace prior to blocking. Big sisters and aunts that I never had.

When we moved out to the Pacific Northwest, the LYS was one of my first destinations (after the grocery store, the rental office, and the beach, roughly in that order). They’ve been supportive in very different ways, most notably pushing me to get out into the fabulously diverse knitting and fiber arts community that seems to be everywhere out here.

On that note, I offer an appreciation for both of my LYS communities today. My former local knitters extraordinares – as of last night, AKA The Badass Knitters’ League – talked me out of that sheer panic that comes as you finish a massive shawl… and discover that you have 10 grams to complete 2 rows and a stretchy bind-off. (Solution: lifeline that sucker, knit like you just don’t care, and if you can’t finish the bind-off, rip back and bind it off two rows early.) The 10 grams got me through, and I finished the bind-off with just under 5 feet of yarn to spare. Booyah.

My current LYSO has been open to several crazy ideas, and as soon as I finish making the dreaded grocery list for the week, I’m going to go strike up a conversation with our local indie bookstore to see if they’re mutually open to a crazy idea for this summer. (I should probably worry, since the bookstore employees now know me by name. First and last.) Small-town life can be awesome.