Surprisingly, pork fat plus simple carbs led to a huge amount of fun this past weekend.

A group of knitters, who called themselves a “completely pointless and arbitrary group,” gathered at a small townhouse in Arlington, Virginia, for food, fun, socializing and, of course, knitting. Sounds like a regular knitting circle with a party? It was much more.

The group launched its activities on a small website called Ravelry, which boasts more than 1 million members who use all of its features online, including cache cataloging, a search engine for templates, project magazines and knitting forums. The website has the ability to create interest-based groups that can range from patterns and knitting techniques to TV shows and policies. And, of course, there is the “Absolutely Pointless and Arbitrary Group” that wonders what exactly its name describes. Topics in this particular group can cover snowstorms, Dr. Who, knitting (of course), thoughts of the day, hilarious vocabulary words, random sayings, mostly all meaningless and arbitrary.

The group has grown to include more than 6,000 members and boasts a number of related groups, all of which use the group’s acronym, CPAAG, as a cohesion point. There are CPAAG Charity Knitters, CPAAG Knit Along, CPAAG Random Acts of Kindness and others.

Participants seek to support each other and enjoy the easier sides of life. Topics should be as “inconspicuous” as possible, meaning that the conversation is usually positive and involves a minimum of whining, crying, or negativity. “Mojo” or positive feelings, hopes and prayers for other members are distributed free of charge to those who ask.

So about a month ago, friends in Washington decided to throw a party. It so happened that someone had a house, and someone had cars to transport classmates. And so last Saturday we went to an area very close to the Pentagon, but the government was not told about it, because such a huge gathering of knitters is sure to raise eyebrows in national security. Before the meeting we were not acquainted in real life, so it added an extra wrinkle to our plans for the party.

It was cavaliers, so the range of products that appeared was amazing, but it definitely included pie and bacon. In particular, cupcakes. Being a bastion of nonsense in knitting, CPAAG is a strong supporter of the idea that cake is better and waffles are also delicious. So why not combine these two strengths in a muffin, a mixture of dough cooked in a waffle iron? (And yes, nutritionists from my audience know this is a bad dietary choice). And there was bacon. The fact that meat is highly valued among the Internet population was brought to our party in a cooler – 8 kilograms. And although I wasn’t a carrier of bacon, I was forced to cook it all day.

The fact is that a lot of people who did not know each other, got together and had a very good time. Tears were shed over life changes, supported, knitted socks, local balloons, discussed various topics. They exchanged business cards and made new friends.

This is another example of why we all need hobbies. It unites people … especially when bacon is involved.

Jess Haynes is the editor of the Gettysburg Times articles.

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