This month we’re introducing you to a slightly different kind of knitting group. Formed in the south-eastern European country Romania this knitting group is made up of knitters from across Europe including Italy, Spain, the UK and even has members from as far afield as New Zealand.
It was Diana, a member who comes from across the Indian Ocean and from the Australasian country New Zealand who got in contact to tell us all about this unique knitting group. With members from around the world we’re sure you’re wondering how this crafting community is formed? Well, let us tell you! Maini Iscusite is an online knitting group created by a very talented Romanian lady, Laura Lazar. With the intention to create a virtual place where people with skilled hands can meet and help each other promote their handy work, this group has had an overwhelming response and now has over 5800 members.
We’re sure many of you are part of an online knitting community yourselves; with members from all continents over the world it makes a great place to ask a question any time of the day and receive a prompt and helpful reply from a likeminded crafter. With social media being such a huge part of everyday life for the millennials and now many older generations, we couldn’t resist finding out more about the logistics of this virtual knitting group. It wasn’t only their online presence that caught our attention though! When Diana got in contact in the summer of 2016, she told us about the plans the group had to meet in person. And we have great news; yes, you guessed it, a selection of Maini Iscusite members flew from all corners of the world to meet in the founding country Romania and we are so pleased to be able to tell you about Diana’s experience meeting her fellow knitters for the first time face to face.
Before we tell you all about Maini Iscusite’s exciting adventure let us tell you a little about the group and its keen crafting members first. We’re sure just like us you’re intrigued by the choice of name Maini Iscusite; and this is where the Romanian origin of this group shines through, translating to ‘Skilled Hands’, Maini Iscusite is a fitting name reflecting each and every individual within the group. The group itself has been running for around five years and has seen a steady growth with members continuously joining. With the motto of more the merrier Maini Iscusite are always inviting new crafters to join, however the club itself is a secret group on Facebook and an existing individual has to send you an invitation for you to become part of this knitting society. Why a secret you ask? Simply to keep the projects the crafters are working on both a secret and a surprise.
“All handmade creations thrive when their work is being appreciated. Feedback is always great. There are heaps of challenges within the group, to improve techniques or learn new methods.”
As Diana says there’s nothing more encouraging than receiving both compliments and constructive criticism and it’s exactly that that Maini Iscusite provides. The group is made up of a variety of characters; the quieter ones, the sociable ones and the challenging ones. The quieter ones keep their work a secret until the project is completed and ready to be revealed, the sociable ones say hello to the group each morning and are always ready for a chat, then the challenging ones love coming up with new ideas and creating projects. Of the group it’s the most active members who packed their bags full of yarn and got ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
“I never thought it could get so emotional, but it did! We met at a restaurant, we had a nice meal and 2 ladies brought 2 big “anniversary” cakes. We talked and cried and laughed and brought some of our work.”
Flying from one continent to another could be a daunting experience for many, but Diana was over joyed and fuelled with excitement to meet her fellow crafters from Maini Iscusite. The planning and execution of the meeting had to be exact and organised well in advance; after all flying half way around the world for the love of craft is an adventure some of us could only dream of embarking on. Of course it wouldn’t be feasible for the entire group to meet, however of the ladies who met it was an extremely emotional and happy occasion as Diana quotes above. Meeting in Cluj Napoca the ladies made the most of their time together and these are moments the crafters will treasure forever. Before they set off on their trip of a life time, the members of Maini Iscusite decided to each create a 50cm by 50cm square which they would then piece together to create a heirloom piece for the group. Above you can see the beautifully crafted squares they made and we are sure the handcrafted piece will be cherished for years to come. 23 of the group members met in total and the heart and soul of the reunion Marcelia Gherhes is eagerly planning their next gathering. Unfortunately Diana won’t be able to make this year’s event after travelling across Romania to meet different members of the group with her husband in the summer of 2016 for four weeks, but she’s hoping to make the trip again in 2019.
Now a little bit about Diana herself. Knitting since the age of ten, Diana recalls her first project was a scarf. Being young and new to the craft Diana’s scarf had a few unwanted holes in, but it was a triumphant make all the same. Now Diana’s favourite projects are lace shawls, as modelled above by the queen of her house Cinderella (Cindy for short), which just like her first creation have heaps of holes in, but this time intentionally of course! For Diana knitting is relaxing and she’s always loved the craft for the one of a kind items she can create. The iconic mohair jerseys from the 80’s and 90’s inspired Diana to knit, they were very fashionable at the time and she hasn’t been able to put her needles down since. Moving to New Zealand in 2001, it was here Diana discovered her now favourite yarn, a merino possum alpaca blend.
We’re sure you’ll agree it’s fantastic to see our craft connect knitters from around the world, bringing them together and Maini Iscusite is certainly an inspiring group and we hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about their virtual society. Next month we’re staying closer to home! Featuring a group from the Celtic country of Wales, we’ll meet knitters who love to yarn bomb, bring yarn told stories and joy to a village along the beautiful Welsh coast. If you’d like the chance to win £100 worth of yarn and get your knitting or crochet group featured, then simply drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, telling us all about your crafty circle, for more information click here.