First it was hygge (pronounced hue-gah) the Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday things more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it is lingering over a cup of carefully made coffee or chai tea, sharing a cosy evening at home with friends or the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.
Now the Swedes want us to learn the word syjunta – which means "coming together to enjoy craft and creativity" [usually with good food] For over 150 years, this word has signified groups of people [mostly, but not exclusively, women] coming together to socialise and to enjoy making things together. I agree that syjunta is a little more elegant sounding than stitch’n’bitch, but I am intrigued that recentlyvarious internet sites are suggesting this is a new idea in the UK. For as long as I can remember, people have sat round knitting, or sewing, or working at other crafts – and often making things for the benefit of others outside the group.
My Mum started such a group back in the 60’s. Many of her friends were a little tired of Tupperware Parties – they liked the social side of it, but really didn’t want to buy any more plastic boxes. So she started an evening group which met regularly to knit children’s clothes which were sent out to missionary friends working in Africa. They called themselves “The Missionary Knitters”[a sad lack of imagination, I always felt] Nowadays I go to a monthly Coffee’n’Craft morning which meets in our Church Hall. I have made lots of new friends there – and learned a few new craft techniques too.
But whatever your group calls itself – syjunta, stitch’n’bitch or Missionary Knitters – it is definitely a great thing to be a part of. In these cold winter days, it is lovely to meet up with others, and take time for relaxing conversation and creativity. A real act of hygge.
Do you belong to such a group?
What do you enjoy most about it?