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Dear Patty, 

I get so defensive and angry at my friends and family for treating my knitting like it is some kind of bizarre quirk. I’m in my late twenties, and I’m the only person I know who knits. I don’t have a LYS or any other knitters in my town.

So my questions are: how can I find other knitters so I don’t feel so alone? And how do I stop myself from getting so annoyed with my family for laughing at me when I bring knitting home for Thanksgiving? (Isn’t that normal?)

Side Show Knitter (Molly)

The Knitters Are Out There

Dear Molly,

Right off the bat I can tell you, these are two questions every knitter has asked themselves at one time or another. So, to quote from one of my favorite podcasts (Calm It Down)—you are not alone, you are not alone.

Let me address the second question first: How not to get annoyed with your family. In the interest of total honesty, it’s not like I’ve actually cracked that particular nut for myself yet, but I’ll share some thoughts. 

Everyone has their hobbies that someone else finds odd. It’s just that ours is portable and can be done in public. (And yes, bringing your knitting home for Thanksgiving is not only normal—it’s required!) Odds are someone in your family does something for fun you find boring or weird. They might be secretly jealous that they can’t golf while watching TV, or play D&D while setting the table, or fix cars while hanging out with the family in the living room. But you can. Knitters can take their beloved hobby anywhere and everywhere.

The next time someone you know teases you for pulling YOUR hobby out, ask them about theirs. Ask them to tell you about a hobby they love. Golf? OK, now explain to them that even though you think spending the day hitting a tiny ball with a stick is odd at best and bizarre at worst, you are so happy they have something in their lives that they love as much as you love knitting. Chances are they’ll get it.

Now to the really important question: how to find your people. I have three suggestions.

Call Knitters Out of Hiding

We are everywhere. But some knitters aren’t as proud as you are, and don’t knit in public. See if you can find them hiding in plain sight. Bring your knitting EVERYWHERE. Pull it out of your bag while waiting in the dentist’s office, or on line at the grocery. If there is a knitter in sight, they will make eye contact. They will smile at you. They might even start asking you about your knitting. This is your opening to ask, “Do you knit?”

Search for Knitting Groups

I know you said there are no knitters in your town, but you may be surprised. Try searching sites like or The Knitting Guild of America (TKGA). You may find there’s a knitting group not too far away from you. And, during Covid, many meetups went virtual and are still doing hybrid meetups. 

Make New Knitters

Try googling “volunteer knitting teacher.” I bet there are several places in your area that would be so thrilled to have an excited knitter like you come and teach. The best way to spread your love of knitting is to make new knitters.

And finally, I know it’s not the quite same as an in-person group, but there are tons of online groups. Check out The Lounge right here at MDK. You will also find a warm welcome to the community group on my website: And I promise you, in these spaces the only fuss about bringing home knitting for Thanksgiving is over how MANY projects to pack.

By the way, after she read your letter, MDK editorial manager Cristina remarked, “I just realized her hilarious signature initials are SSK!” We see you.

Welcome, welcome to your people.



Photos are from events with Alabama Chanin, Arne & Carlos, and Cecelia Campochiaro at MDK world headquarters in Nashville, TN. To find out about upcoming in-person and virtual events, sign up for Snippets here—it’s our Saturday morning roundup of posts, Shop highlights, and MDK happenings. Registration opens first to subscribers to the Field Guides of 2023. Learn more and subscribe here.

About The Author

Patty Lyons is a nationally recognized knitting teacher and technique expert. In her pursuit of training the mindful knitter, Patty is known for teaching the “why” in addition to the “how.” She specializes in sweater design and sharing her love of the much-maligned subjects of gauge and blocking.

You can find Patty at her website and on Ravelry.

Do you have a problem you’d like Patty to tackle? Write to her at



  • Do you live in DC? We have THE BEST knitting meetup every Thursday and Saturday in the gorgeous atrium of the National Portrait Gallery. Heaven. It would be worth relocating to attend. Best of luck finding your people, SSK!

    • What time? I’m in Alexandria, so not super convenient, but I might like to join occasionally!

  • I’ve just started a knitting blog and by reading other blogs am getting to see lots of great knitting, as well as show off my works in progress – a good way to get validation from like minded folks! Even if it’s not quite the same as real life, there are lovely communities out there just waiting to coo over your creations.

    • Hi CA, I have a blog too and it is worth the time. Not really for others but for yourself. It is a great medium to record your accomplishments, challenges, hiccups, etc. Best of Luck!

      • You too! It also means I’m browsing other blogs, which I wasn’t before, and commenting and connecting. It’s all very wholesome.

  • One can also find local groups on Ravelry.
    Also, check with your local library or community center.

  • I hear you, Molly! Even friends and family of myself and others in one of my knitting groups sometimes do not “get” that knitting is not just for grandmas! Yes, it’s frustrating, but Patty is right that we are OUT THERE. Example: Having had a license plate myself at one time that read “NIT PRL,” and getting occasional nods and smiles from people in parking lots, can you imagine how thrilled I was (really, inordinately thrilled!) to pull up at a traffic light behind someone with a plate that read “SSK”? Yes, those letters could have been their initials, but I choose to believe there was another knitter driving that car.

    • I was so excited to see a car at the union hall that said DPNLUV. A knitter!! I went in and asked whose car it was…she said “mine”. I said ‘are you a knitter?’
      She looked confused…I hinted “DPN Love?”
      Her response: “Noooo…Deep in husband bought the car and plates for me for our anniversary.”
      I explained my confusion and the dpn knitting term. She paused and said…you’re not the first to ask but now I understand.

    • I have a “Keep Calm and Carry Yarn” car magnet that’s also gotten chuckles and comments.

    • I’ve seen a K2TOG license plate in Los Angeles.

  • Oh Molly! I’ve been there too — but now I realize that the more I share about knitting when people ask what I’ve been doing, connections pop up everywhere! Someone’s grandmother was a master knitter, the cashier at the coop is a knitter — it is a practice that is hidden in plain sight at times. Take a tote bag that advertises knitting in some way with you always, and you’ll find your knitting friends are out there.

  • Hi Molly! I am 57 and feel the same way! But I do have several LYS’s near me! I had the nicest interaction one day when I was struggling with crochet (expert knitter.. beginner at crochet!). I entered my LYS where the shop owner said “I can’t help you but try our knitters over there.” A table was filled with young folks happily clicking away.. I asked if anyone knew how to crochet, and this delightful young woman said YES! She helped me decipher the directions. I sat down and struggled as we do when faced with a new task. I spent the next 30 minutes engaged with these folks and we talked about lots of things, books, shows, video games, the conversation was a delightful multigenerational mish mash. Knitters are nice people!
    Try one of Patty Lyons’ zoom classes too! You may be able to make a zoom connection there. Incidentally my closest knitting friend is 12 hours away.. we talk a few times a year on birthdays.. primarily about knitting! Keep trying, as Patty said, we are everywhere!

  • Our local group came together on a social media app called Nextdoor. We are knitters and crocheters old and young and we have one male member also. Send out a beacon and your people will find you!

  • I knit with friends over Zoom as we are anywhere from a half hour to 2 hours away from each other here in Maine. I bet there is a knit/ crochet Zoom out there for you!

    And, as for family giving you grief (they see it not that way) for your “quirks”, I finally came up with a response that stupefied them…”yes, and I love you all”. Done.

  • About that bringing knitting home for Thanksgiving – show up with knitted gifts like stuffies, caps, dishcloths or hand mitts and plan to make a few while you are there. Live action knitting so they can appreciate the process and the product. #KnitOnWithConfidenceAndHope.

  • Such a nice response to the question fromSSK. I thoroughly agree we’ve all felt that way and I’m with her on the difficulty of finding “community “. Stick with it, when you do find knitting friends, it will be well worth it !

    • I was accused of being “addicted” during the recent 12-hour Knit-A-Thon for Hunger. My answer was “I am a Dedicated Practitioner”, like any artist, athlete or musician. If you have a passion for something, some people just don’t get it. I HAVE offered to teach family members during gatherings and two nieces have taken me up on it. They LOVE it now.

  • Patty, you are right! We are everywhere. My town has a group at the senior center, the library AND the Y. I have even found knitters at my bridge club in a town 15 miles from me.

  • Knitting in public? I got started knitting as a result of a young woman who had the same commute into downtown Seattle. We both parked at the same Park&Ride, and she would pull out her project and knit during the bus ride. She never lacked for people to chat with about knitting, and inspired me to learn. Thank you, Claire wherever you are!!

  • First of all, the reponse to those people who make you feel uncomfortable about your knitting is “Didn’t you know? Knitting is very trendy now.” and then keep the needles going. Don’t feel you have to defend yourself because they are the ones who are out of it.I started knitting as a teen back in the early 60’s when no one but elderly grandmothers seemed to knit, but I knit in public and slowly others came out of the woodwork.

    Knitting in public is a great way to meet other knitters, and its a great conversation starter and a way to meet other interesting people, knitters as well as others. And while I tend to get annoyed at Next Door, I know that in my area several knitting groups have come out it. In my community, several public libraries host knitting groups, as do a couple of book stores and at least one bar (Drunken Knitting night draws a big crowd).

  • How did you omit telling Molly about Ravelry? Ravelry was instrumental for you, wasn’t it?

    • I second the Ravelry recommend! At a time when I really needed a sympathetic group of friends, I did a quick search on Ravelry and found the people who are now my dearest friends. When I spent a year in another city, the first thing I did was hop on Ravelry to find another group to join and found my people there, too.

  • Such loving and witty responses to SSK’s concerns! Keep doing what you love!

  • What is LYS? So many acronyms….Half the time reading the news I don’t even know what they are talking about with the acronyms.

    • Hi Frances, LYS is Local Yarn Store. Our passion is so full of acronyms and abbreviations. Oh, the news should no better.

  • I had the same conundrums, no LYS (local yarn store) that offered meetings, no local knitting groups meeting at a time for those of us still working a day job. Finally a fabulous store opened called Mind Off Line, and lo and behold, yarn was visible in their windows! Nicole the owner started a knitting group at her shop after getting so many inquiries for it and it has morphed into a wonderful group of women and a man who meet twice/week. We were invited to continue to meet at a local art gallery space called The Church who support local makers. All this to say, I empathize, hang in there and keep at it!
    And I agree with Patty’s suggestion; knit everywhere you can.

  • One of my favorite posts ever. Totally relatable. And thanks for the diplomatic hints on opening discussions with those who don’t understand

  • Thanks for the Meetup tip! We just moved to a new state (with cold winters! Yay for handknits!) and found a group right up the street!

  • All of the above plus on-line podcasters (and bloggers) who range in age from teenagers to grandmas; they are housewives, doctors, lawyers, students and everything in between. They share So Much and are great to listen AND knit to. Just go to Youtube and type in knitting podcasts. There are bound to be a few that really speak to you, including one in Arkansas who lives in a remote area but leads a full knitting life. Have fun!

  • I have to echo the comments about knitting on Zoom. I started a weekly Zoom knitting session during COVID for our local knitting group, which grew to include a few people who aren’t local. So I just kept it going, and we knit “together” every week for two hours. ☺️

  • Patty is right—take your knitting everywhere! I just took mine on vacation to Belize last month and met a lovely fellow knitter (Hi, Linda!) who had also taken hers on the plane. We are everywhere and we are delighted when we find each other.

  • I created an everyone-is-welcome knitting group at work (though we meet at my place) for all experience levels, and it is small but so fun. I do feel a little bad that the people I teach will inherit whatever knitting quirks I have, lol

  • One way to get friends and family to stop teasing you about your knitting is to wear some fantastic thing you’ve made. When they ask you where you got that gorgeous (sweater, pair of socks, scarf, etc.), tell them you made it. Watch them get jealous. Repeat this a few times and they’ll stop the teasing!

  • I am so in love with this post – it’s so relatable. I found knitters when I started taking classes at my LYS, and I was heartbroken when the store closed. But several knitters from that class formed another group, and we keep growing. Keep searching, SSK, we are out here, waiting to welcome you!

  • Welcome Molly!!! Fruity Knitting is a YouTube show that will introduce you to fabulous designers all around the world. Patty is right — we are everywhere! And MDK’s lounge is awesome.

  • This week I counted: I belong to FIVE knitting groups (and emeritus in another). The newest one formed to teach someone who wandered into one of the other groups, hoping to learn to knit, but then the meeting day got changed. There are four of us in the new group, and we are all anticipating the next gathering. Knitting is like an infinite thread that soars across geography (now via Zoom), ties the past to the present and goes on to the future, warming heart and hands, joining strangers and friends.

  • I hate to add a negative viewpoint here, but I have actually stopped taking my knitting out to dental offices after fielding condescending and judgmental remarks about knitting. It became so much easier not to have unpleasant conversations by occupying my time with a book or phone instead. Yes, I’ve had pleasant interactions with strangers when knitting in public, but sometimes the snideness comes not only from family members.

    • Oh Mary, so sad to hear this! Hurtful, yes, but it could be because they might be jealous! I think a smile directed towards someone who disses you like that and then No Response -do not engage- and then a quick thought as to how such a person might be so unhappy as to need to be so negative to you must feel, then let it all go. But Keep On Knitting. Who cares what anyone else thinks!!

      • Thanks Fran, for your kind reply. I wish it were that easy to not care about what others think. What got me to stop taking my knitting to dental offices is that the derogatory remarks were given by older, male dentists. Being treated with respect and being informed about my treatments is extremely important to me, and having my intellect and self worth derided undermines my healthcare.
        When I was in law school about 20 years ago, the female counselor reviewing my resume told me to take off the portion of my interests that included knitting and sewing. I had just been introduced to knitting in college by a bf’s aunt and thought it was the coolest thing. Why wouldn’t I share that with the world? LOL.
        We unfortunately still live in a sexist world where what we do, wear, say can be harshly scrutinized and have unwelcome consequences (and I’m thinking of the many world women leaders who have suffered from such unfairness.)
        I love knitting, and definitely take it to places where judgments are inconsequential. Most of the time, people tell me how beautiful the project I’m working on is, or tell me stories of their loved ones who knit, crochet, or weave.
        Thanks for your sweet reply. I really appreciate it, and will do just as you suggest when the situation warrants.

        • Dear Mary, I can relate to your story, except that in my experience, choosing a profession in a man’s world (professional forester, graduating from college in the 70s), I learned quickly to ignore what anyone else thought of my hobbies. I took dancing lessons, ballet as a kid, and tap as an adult, all my life. My knitting in those days was at home, not a public activity, but my form of private relaxation. Today, I live in the same rural community where I started my career, and my knitted hats and scarves are treasured by friends in the logging community who bid to win them at fundraising events. So I say, to heck with the dentists who don’t appreciate you, and be proud of your knitting! You are making something beautiful, and something that will keep someone warm, and it will be appreciated. And those who don’t understand that aren’t worthy of your worry or time. They may take care of your teeth, but what they think of your knitting isn’t important – it isn’t for them, it is for you and your chosen recipients, who will very much appreciate it. So be proud, and enjoy your time knitting, wherever you are!

  • Ask on NextDoor!

  • Thank you for this article! Despite having a few fabulous online communities, including the MDK Lounge, and several good LYSs near me, I still don’t feel like I have “my people” locally. I’m also juggling a full time job and 2 young kids, so often meetup times really don’t work for me. I do bring my knitting everywhere though, and I’m hoping eventually I’ll make some more connections. Does anyone here live on the Colorado Front Range and want to meet up???

    • Read the short story by Ruth Rendell, a Needle for the Devil and see how another woman dealt with the issue. Size 13 needle solution.

      • Just want to tell you, Susan, that I searched everywhere to find this short story, whether to buy or to check out of the library — it is “not available in usa” — finally found audio collection on the internet archive. It is such a good story! (the rest of the stories are great too!)

  • I am seconding using to find a local knitting group, that is how I found my people in my neighborhood. It was so intimidating at first putting myself out there, but I am so happy I did.

  • Definitely knit in public. Browse the knitting books at the library. You might find someone else there. Someone else might be like you. I taught myself to knit from a kids book at about 12 yrs. I knew no one else until my cousin invited me to pop in to visit her grandmother. Lo and behold she was knitting!!! Someone to get advice from. I was SO happy! Wear what you knit and questions might come. Patience.

  • I live in northern lower Michigan in a small town. The nearest LYS is at least a 45-minute drive in any given direction. I put up signs around town that I would be at a local restaurant [yes, I had their permission] every Thursday afternoon from 1-4pm if anyone wanted to come sit and knit/crochet/whatever with me. I sat alone for a year – made a lot of mittens for charity. A guy saw one of my signs and gave it to his wife. New she and her sister are regular Thursday knitters, and we get an occasional drop-in, too. I was gonna knit no matter what – figured if I was doing it in public, maybe somebody would come along. You may not be that willing to put yourself out there; I knew the folks at the restaurant and that helped a lot. You do you!

  • See if your local library hosts a stitch & bitch. If not suggest that they do. That’s how I met fellow knitters and new friends when I moved to my town

  • My husband loves to tell the story of finally being able to go to the Daytona 500. Car racing. Look, they’re turning – left again. 499,999 fans on their feet screaming, and one sitting quietly knitting. Wonder who that was…..

    • Leslie that made me laugh out loud! Love the picture you just created for me!!!

  • Thank you Patty and MDK – great post, very true.

  • I was in the same situation when I was your age. I didn’t let the comments stop me. It was my friends and not family, but the same thing. Now, years later, they have stopped making comments and don’t get any of my knitted stuff (they don’t appreciate them anyway, so are not knitworthy). I found my group at the local library where there were free classes in knitting and crochet. I found the groups at the LYS too snobby and judgemental. I hope you find your people locally, if not, the virtual world can be a welcoming place.

  • I like Patty’s suggestion to ask what hobbies your family members love. No need to badmouth their hobby, though. Just say you feel the same way about knitting; it makes you happy.

    Another online place to try is the r/knitting group on Reddit. Some parts of Reddit are fearsome, I hear, but the fiber arts groups are friendly, kind and supportive. And there are many younger knitters there. Knitters frequently ask if there are other knitters in their area.

  • Knit on public transportation – I’ve made great train knitting friends. We get together – and knit – even when not commuting!

  • I agree with knitting in public, although I haven’t really met other knitters that way too often. But you never know. I have another suggestion that will not be for everybody, but can be a good place to meet other knitters: a prayer shawl group. The one I belong to meets one evening a month. While we only work on the prayer shawls during the meeting, most of us are working on other projects as well in-between (including at least one temperature blanket!) and we discuss these projects as well as all kinds of other things. We admire each other’s work and get a lot of ideas from each other. This works for me because with my job, I can’t do daytime meetings right now, and also gives me an organized way to give back.

  • Molly, I am an actual Nana, who gets a lot of teasing about being a knitter. Occasionally someone makes me feel like a complete fossil.
    It’s all fun and games until someone wants a Christmas stocking!
    All the posts here offer great ideas for finding other knitters. Hang in there, and good luck!

  • I started knitting in my late 20s as well, and it took a while to find “my people”—my work hours aren’t always conductive to having any kind of a social life during the work week, and my days off rotate throughout the week. So, finding a group that meets during a day or time that I could actually attend took a long time.

    I spent (and still, now in my early 40s, spend) most of my knitting socialization time in online message boards, which has evolved over the years—I’m part of a Discord server that has a collection of snarky and irreverent creative people from all over the world now, which are “my people”. I also have a quasi-local sit and stitch group that started in-person, but now meets almost every Sunday via zoom. Quasi-local because we’ve picked up a few members from across the country and around the globe.

    Patti’s tips are spot-on; I have met other fiber crafters and artists “in the wild” simply by bringing out the sticks and string in public; I’ve also approached folks myself when I’ve spotted a project.

    I’ve also been on the receiving end of so many “how quaint” comments, which…whatever. It won’t stop me from stitching. It just means my list of knitworthy people likely doesn’t include them.

  • I second *all* of these responses & add two more. I’ve met local knitters while knitting in the library. If your town has a public library, take your knitting. The reference librarian spotted me & asked if I taught knitting because she wanted to learn. The quiet industriousness of library patrons adds a good vibe to the place and the A/C in hot weather is welcome relief. My best friend & knitting buddy is six time zones away. We stay in touch several times a week via DMs, use FaceTime every month or so and get together once a year for a two week visit. You have friends. We are legion.

  • Everyone loves clothes, so show yourself off. If you wear knits that are flattering or stylish or maybe outrageous, some people will ask questions, and some of those people may be enlightened or reveal themselves as fellow travelers.

  • Why not make a few knitted gifts for family members. A warm, cozy hat might change some minds.

  • I have no shame in knitting EVERYWHERE (can’t wait for my 16 yo to start driving so I can knit on the car) and ten years later people now ask me where my knitting is. My son plays three sports and everyone knows Max’s mom, she’s the lady who is always knitting!

    • HA! I read “16 yo” as “16 yarn overs” instead of 16 year old.

  • SSK you are definitely not alone out there!
    Some churches and libraries have knitting groups for all ages.
    With regards to your family, they may start to understand your passion for knitting. It’s not easy to explain to others.
    Good luck!

  • Your article was right on the mark! I take my knitting everywhere, I go, parties, family, gatherings, doctors, office, etc. It’s to the point now that if I don’t bring my knitting, people ask questions about where it is. I also agree totally with your Suggestion to compare Knitting to other hobbies. Because that does help people put it into context. By the way, I love your book.

  • Not sure if this has been mentioned already because Im gonna admit to be lazy and not read all the comments—-if you have a local coffee shop, brewery, nice hang-out place with a bulletin board supporting your community, you could make a flyer with a “call to action” asking if there are knitters out there interested in meeting up once a week or whatever frequency works. Maybe post on Nextdoor app a similar call to action if your neighborhood uses it. My LYSs host multiple weekday knit nights or mornings, but sadly, my work schedule and mommy responsibilities prevent me from participating. I’m hoping to eventually pull a group together to meet up on the weekend.

  • My favorite part (besides all the other parts) was the end – welcome to your people. <3

  • What a lovely post – such great advice. Thank you

  • I started carrying my knitting everywhere. I recently had a 5 hour wait in the airport at Denver. I found a quiet gate, no one around, and pulled out my project. When I looked up, I was “surrounded” by young men – working on their laptops, airport workers grabbing a bite to eat, another catching a nap, etc. I’m 67, so they’re not there for me. I think you change the energy of the place around you when you are doing something you love, and that attracts people. Maybe the young men are closet knitters, but probably they respond to the quiet, calm energy, or an old memory of grandma’s house. Just keep knitting and crocheting in public! I was teased when I started, and I ignored it, and the teasing quickly turned into admiration – and requests for knitted articles.

  • I work at a large-ish public library. I try to sneak knitting and other craft books into every display! Dogs? Knit Your Own Dog. Harry Potter or Outlander? Someone has written a knitting book. Then I keep an eye out for people browsing those books 🙂

  • I used Ravelry and sent messages to people who said they were from my state and actually found 2 in town. 1 already had a little group of crochet/knit/spin/weave/embroider It started with 3 now if everyone shows up there’d be 9?

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