Read the latest issue of The Country Web magazine

Emma FitzsimmonsAcross my desk: By Emma Fitzsimmons (RWN Project Officer, January–June 2015)

When I was young my grandmother taught me basic knitting and crochet skills. Even though I was keen to learn, my yearning to be outside playing cricket with my brother was stronger and my skills waned.

My mother then tried to teach me how to knit when I was pregnant with my first child and I failed dismally! It wasn’t until after my third child that I became interested in crafts that I could not only do at home for relaxation, but that were portable to take to after school activities. I taught myself to crochet from a children’s book and haven’t looked back.

I have found working with yarn isn’t just about creating but is also a big de-stress activity at the end of the day for me. The rhythmic motion soothes my soul.

Earlier this year I was honored to be involved in a project (see page 14, Blanket of love, in the latest issue). It was whilst working on this special project, and the fact that there has been a resurgence in people wanting to learn ‘old’ crafts, that the theme for this ‘Creating and Making’ edition of The Country Web was born.

In this issue we showcase rural women creating and making in communities across NSW, hoping to inspire other groups to form and come together to create together. The wonderful thing about crafting together is that you can be any age, background or skill level. And you don’t need to have anything in common other than a keen interest to learn or practice your craft.

As part of the crochet team for the blanket project I found it amusing that people walking past assumed I was knitting. This is a skill I don’t possess, and I started to reply that I was a ‘hooker’ not a knitter, which always produced a smile and funny comments.

Every Friday lunchtime, a group of women (we don’t discriminate, but our encouragement of the male species has so far fallen on deaf ears) from various sections in DPI come together to learn crochet, work on new or existing projects and to have a good laugh. It’s a brilliant way to end the working week and has brought so many people together and provided a lovely platform for new friendships.

The group has new people coming all the time and some who come for a refresher and then don’t return. The base of a common interest is making for some great team building across the organsiation. The more experienced ‘hookers’ help the ‘newbies’ and we all share ideas and encourage each other on all of our different projects. The group has even started to evolve and some of the crochet-only members are embarking on learning to knit from the members who were once knitters-only in the group.

Speaking of trying new ideas, sharing, encouragement and new friendships, see pages 19-22 to see this year’s NSW Rural Women’s Gathering Program. The Gathering is being held from 9–11 October at Glen Innes and is sure to motivate and inspire you. The weekend will showcase local rural and business enterprises, focus on current rural issues and will include the official launch of the 2015 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll. It will feature some outstanding speakers such as Mary Coustas, Jean Kittson, Georgina Dent and Annabel Dulhunty, and include fun, innovative and educational interactive tours.

The Social Return on Investment (SROI) report recently undertaken by the RWN in conjunction with Social Ventures Australia (SVA), revealed that gatherings significantly contribute to social and economic outcomes. It found that for every $1 invested $2.20 is returned in social and economic value. Women who participate in a gathering feel more connected, inspired, empowered, supported, resilient and able to have a voice about issues that matter to them. So what are you waiting for? Grab your mother, your daughter or your friends and get your registrations in early to secure your place!

In our last issue we invited readers to complete a survey to gather feedback on the magazine and it’s relevance to rural women and communities. We have had an amazing response and would like to thank everyone who participated for the time you took to provide us with your valuable ideas and suggestions. The survey closes 10 September. If you haven’t already provided feedback complete the Country Web Reader Survey.

I hope you enjoy this issue as much we have enjoyed bouncing around new ideas and researching wonderful, creative women.

country-web-62-coverTo download the Number 62 issue of The Country Web visit the Rural Women’s Network website.

Call for stories: The Number 63 issue of The Country Web has the theme, ‘Transitioning‘. We want to hear from you about how you have moved from one ‘place’ to another. It could be about your career, life, family, work, retirement or in new ways of thinking. By sharing your story you may inspire others on the ‘cusp’ of transition. Contributions are required by 23 November 2015 for publication in March 2016. Email your contribution to RWN or post to: The Editor – The Country Web, Rural Women’s Network, NSW DPI, Locked Bag 21, Orange 2800

About nswrwn

NSW Rural Women’s Network is a government program working in innovative ways to promote leadership and action on rural women’s issues. The RWN team is dedicated to connecting and exchanging information with women and stakeholders in rural, regional and remote communities.
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