At A Snail’s Pace

24 May 2009

I love knitting.  I’ve been doing it for over 50 years.  It keeps me relatively sane.

I attend a number of ad hoc knitting groups, where we ‘oooh and aaah” over each other’s work, swap notes and advice, and then spend the rest of the time putting the world to rights.

But Stitch N Bitches aren’t Knitting Guilds.  Guilds have specific purposes – to preserve the history of the craft, to teach it and promote it, as well as the swapping notes and advice bits that you get in SnB’s.

I joined the NSW Guild.  I’m on the Executive Committee (of 9) of the NSW Guild.  And yesterday, after a busy week’s work, I dragged myself out of bed to leave the house at 8 in the morning so I could spend the entire day on Guild business – first up a 2 hour Special General Meeting, followed by a Committee Meeting.  Got home at 5.30. 

The purpose and events of the SGM are well described here by Mary-Helen and here by Kris.  How the Guild keeps such good members is purely a matter of faith on their part – that things WILL get better. 

I was thinking today of things that the Guild should learn, and learn quickly, if it’s to survive:

1.     We may be a bunch of volunteers but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t even ATTEMPT to run the Guild in a professional manner.

2.     If someone has particular expertise that could be used, USE IT.   (And in a group of nearly 600, we must have an amazing range of skills and experience)

3.     We are run BY the members, FOR the members.  I find incredibly depressing the belief that suggestions coming from members should be in the main ignored because to implement changes at members’ requests would imply some sort of weakness on the part of the Guild,  We must stick to our guns through Hell and high water, apparently.

4.      People get old and frail and DIE.  Over the last couple of years, younger members have joined but we need more.  AND we need to listen to them and use their skills.

5.      The internet is the Guild’s friend.  It’s just sitting there waiting for us to tell the world (well, knitters in NSW anyway) all about us.  And we can do that AT NO COST.  And finally,

6.      The behaviour of little children should have ceased with childhood.  Adults should be able to disagree with each other without the level of animosity shown in the Guild.  Adults DON’T roll their eyes or turn their backs on someone because of some perceived slight that may have occurred years ago.  They don’t support or reject ideas based purely on whether the suggestion has come from a member of  their clique. Most people by the age of some of these Guild members got over that years ago. 

I did get agreement to a couple of VERY slight changes yesterday and I did realise when I got involved in this that progress would be slow.  I wasn’t quite realistic about how slow it would be.    













































  1. I’ve also read Mary-Helen’s blog and it is so depressing!

    I know I’m in the Uk, but I have an experience of similarly conserving heritage. I do freelance fundraising for the charity associated with a northern rugby league club which has been in existence for years and therefore has a huge amount of memorabilia (original plans for the stadium, records of activities taking place there, including use as a WWII communications centre), and so on.

    Three years ago, the charity, having been given all this by the club, bid for and got a grant of nearly £200,000 ($A420,000; $US £360,000)to conserve and exhibit it.

    As result of the publicity arising out of this, members of the public donated even more items (and I suspect this would be the case with the Guild, as well), so we have just applied for a further heritage grant to take care of the new material.

    What in heaven’s name do those who object to preserving a valuable part of your country’s domestic history think they’re getting out of this ridiculous stance?

  2. Keep at it, Sally. Just don’t provoke madam president or you may well be subjected to the bullying that I was. I’ve just been watching a Youtube video – how I wish I’d thought to use my phone camera at the AGM – I could have posted it all over the WEB – not just the dreaded Ravelry XD !!!!

    Eventually age and death will change the composition of the Guild – but unfortunately, those current members who are threatened by change or by others who may happen to have better management and people skills, will probably be replaced by the next generation of conservatives and power hungry individuals who will wish to retain the status quo.

    Was it Miachevelli who said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? In its own small sphere, the Guild is a living example (IMHO).

    I still don’t understand how the behaviour exhibited by some Guild members continues to be tolerated by so many people – I would have thought that the concepts of courtesy, care and consideration for others; transparency of process; openness to, and respect for differing opinions; and respect for the organisation’s (out of date) constitution would be understood by everyone; and that a desire to further the aims of the Guild in a way that generates respect, not derision, would be a given.

    But any organisation is probably a microcosm of the broader community – no wonder the world has dictators, tyrants, wars and failed states when we can’t even treat our own colleagues with the respect that everyone deserves.

  3. PS I’m still waiting for an apology from madam president – or even the exec on her behalf.

  4. I love knitting too, Sally, and the reason I’ve joined the guild and become active in it is that I care about the craft’s image and its future. I don’t think it’s going to take long for major change to occur – matters are at a tipping point whether people like it or not.

  5. Be brave, be strong, enjoy the company of the Good Knitters. I hope it goes your way at the tipping point.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: