Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – Dublin’s online knitting group helps bond across the country

Nancy Cayford sits on a single stool in front of her laptop at her home in Dublin. Her kitchen is empty, but she is not alone. On the screen appear Zoom boxes, filled with the faces of his knitting group.

The group meets every Friday for ‘Knitting with Nancy’, a Dublin Community Center programme. The group originally met in person — and they hope to eventually return — but during the pandemic, artisans have agreed they should continue, if only virtually.

It became an important part of human interaction during this time, and it’s a group that would never have come together in an in-person setting, Cayford noted. Currently, its regular members include residents of Vermont, Washington State, and even an international participant from Nepal.

“Zoom has saved me in so many ways during the pandemic,” said Katherine Gekas from Dublin, who regularly attends the group. “As someone who lives quite happily in the woods, it’s been really nice to figure out how to connect with people and still be surrounded by trees. And also opportunities that I never would have had if the online options didn’t explode like that.

Susie Turner of Montpelier, Vermont, knew Cayford through her husband and heard about her knitting group while their husbands were together on a Zoom call.

“During this time of COVID, reaching out to others via Zoom has been a healthy way to stay connected, and I’m grateful for Nancy’s initiative,” Turner said. “This group goes beyond the obvious, though. Not only did I stay connected, but I met new people from a community different from mine and a very special person from a whole different part of the world. We share our jobs of course, but more importantly, we share our lives together from the perspective of our own cultures and communities.

Turner isn’t even a knitter, she says. Her passion is rug hooking. But she likes being able to do her job while talking to these women, most of whom she’s never met in person. The steady, repetitive work of knitting — or rug hooking — is therapeutic for her, she said.

“In these challenging global times, I find the hanging process to be both contemplative and calming. Even though I only hang a small portion of linen per day, the process of successful color selection, directionality and the overall effect makes me feel good about the day,” Turner said. “I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, creating a little beauty every day is an elixir for tough times. love the opportunity to share with others.

For Gekas, she uses knitting as a way to focus and reduce anxiety, and said it’s a way to connect mind and body while creating something beautiful.

“Knitting helps you heal, and knitting with other women is part of that healing, too,” she said. “I imagine it’s like having a quilting group or some other group where people come together to do things.”

Gekas said it’s not just craftsmanship. It’s the company.

“This group of women is special – I don’t know everything about them, but I know that we are all trying to find the best way to serve our communities and the people who need to be served, while sifting through our own healing, and just everyday life, to do,” Gekas said.

Cayford had been teaching a knitting class at the community center in Dublin and was asked to return to start a regular knitting group.

“I said, ‘Maybe I’ll drop by and knit on Friday, and see if people show up,'” Cayford said. And people showed up. The group generally works on its own projects and uses the group primarily for socializing, Cayford said — and sometimes a form of therapy among close friends.

“When we talk about things, it’s confidential,” she said. “It’s a girl talk.”

When the group went online, about 10 regulars followed.

“And it’s been kind of magical,” Cayford said. “We have people from all over the country. It’s a good way to support yourself. We knit – it’s true, we knit – but we have more discussions than knitting. Some said they couldn’t have made it through the pandemic without her.

Cayford said the goal was to eventually bring Knitting with Nancy back to an in-person format. But she said that because of the way the group has evolved, even when it’s in person again, she still hopes to allow people who have joined from afar to keep some of the conversation going, via TV. screen at the Dublin Community Centre. Those who could come in person would, but it would allow those who became part of the group to stay.

Cayford encouraged people looking for companionship while they knit or work on other crafts to consider starting their own virtual or in-person group.

“It can really serve a big purpose,” Cayford said.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.