What does it take to start an active Stitch Community? Stitch members in Queensland share their stories

“How do I grow and engage my local Stitch Community?”

That’s a question we get asked time and again here at Stitch, from members all around the world.

Our response is always the same. There is no secret and no magic formula when it comes to growing and engaging your local Stitch Community.

All it takes is a little patience, the willingness to host activities that interest you, and to encourage other members to do the same. That’s it!

Some members may be hesitant to join you at first, however they eventually participate, especially after realising how welcoming, fun and supportive the community is.

This time last year our Stitchers in Queensland, Australia had just a handful of activities to choose from. Now, after the dedicated and much-appreciated efforts and determination of select members, we’re seeing an increasing number of activities posted on Stitch.

We reached out to several event organizers in Queensland and asked how they managed to build their local community into one of the most active and thriving communities in Stitch. Enjoy their stories below!

Redland Bay, Queensland, Australia 

I joined Stitch in May 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown in Queensland, and began with Zoom catch ups, where I met some lovely people I still see and enjoy in real person.

As things opened up, I decided to start hosting events, mostly walking and cuppas, as that’s what I enjoy doing. I’ve met so many lovely people doing this and some I know will be lifelong friends. Several actually.

Meredith: Second from the left

As I am fairly new to the Brisbane area, meeting these wonderful people has been a godsend.

I always encouraged others in Stitch to suggest their own activities and, I’m very pleased to say, they have done so. I’m now being inundated with catch up events and can’t possibly go to them all, but that’s good because others can go instead.

Meredith: Left

This is what I like about Stitch. Everyone can create the events they want to go to themselves and if others want to join, they will. And they always do. My social calendar has never been so full!

Meredith: Fourth from the left

Ferny Hills, Queensland, Australia

I joined Stitch in September 2019. As I have always believed you need to make your own fun, I met up with local Stitch host Monika to learn the ropes (thanks Monika). I learnt that events were so easy to set up!

My first three events (one park walk and two park catch ups) had one attendee each. Never let that bother you. That is one more person you now know. Attendance grew slowly with subsequent events: drinks at the local bar and breakfasts out.

Sherree: Front, centre

In January I started brunches, trying a range of different cafes. I met some lovely friends from those early brunches, who I see occasionally for card nights. When COVID-19 restrictions hit, I hosted a number of online coffee chats and wine downs. 

My first three events (one park walk and two park catch ups) had one attendee each. Never let that bother you. That is one more person you now know.

Community Champion Sherree

So many of us know what it is like to find yourself on your own after many years with a partner. Or move to a new place knowing no one. Or wanting someone to do activities with in our lovely city.

Now the Brisbane community is very active, with a range of well attended activities across all areas. My social circle has grown, inside and outside of Stitch activities.

Sherree: Second from right.

The intent of activities is to invite others to join you in what you enjoy. A simple yet so valuable concept.

We all need connection. Stitch has provided this connection, and the added bonus of some wonderful new friends.

Chapel Hill, Queensland, Australia

I joined Stitch 18 months ago wanting to meet new people, socialise more and have more fun in my life. I enjoyed attending several events over the next 12 months, optimistic about the possibilities of Stitch, but not yet confident enough to host events.

It was the enforced social isolation of the COVID-19 lockdown that triggered my decision to take the initiative to suggest Stitch activities myself, rather than waiting to see what came up.

Linda’s walk and picnic event at the picturesque Mount Coot-Tha.

I enjoy getting outdoors and going for walks so I decided to start by sharing my favourite walks. My first event was a Walk & Coffee at the Botanical Gardens which had only two other attendees but we had a wonderful morning and I felt encouraged to keep going.

I hosted walks along the Brisbane River at St Lucia and Jindalee and met a lively group of Stitch members keen to go walking together. The enthusiasm and friendliness of everyone who came along motivated me to plan more walks and to explore new locations.

I planned the activities to a format that allowed for moderate exercise and plenty of socialising and mingling: one to two hours walking followed by a cafe or picnic morning tea.

Linda’s event exploring the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mount Coot-Tha

Another consideration was that in this pandemic, walks were a relatively safe mode of social interaction. Together we explored wonderful places to walk around Brisbane: Enoggera Reservoir, Bunyaville Conservation Park, Mt Coot-tha and Toohey Forest.

Meanwhile other members were organising brunches, dinners and walks and real connections and friendships were being formed. I looked forward to meeting up with my new friends at walks or other activities most weekends. The Brisbane Stitch community was gaining momentum and it was (and still is) a real pleasure to be part of this growth and to welcome new members to activities.

I now know that if I plan an activity that I’m interested in, that there’ll be other like-minded people happy to join me, and that the experience is so much more enjoyable with good company.

Community Champion Linda

As the Brisbane Spring weather has become too warm for morning walks I’ve begun to organise various other activities such as art gallery visits and barefoot bowls. 

Each time I’m pleasantly surprised at how many other Stitch members are keen to come along. I always have fun and love seeing others enjoying themselves and making new friends. And I get to go places and do things I wouldn’t or couldn’t do otherwise.

Linda’s event at the Brisbane River

I now know that if I plan an activity that I’m interested in, that there’ll be other like-minded people happy to join me, and that the experience is so much more enjoyable with good company.

Stitch has brought so much more joy and laughter into my life. I’ll look back on 2020 with a mixture of emotions; sadness at personal losses and separations but also gratitude for the new friendships and social connections I found through Stitch.

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

As a relatively new member to the Queensland Stitch community, at first I was loathe to pay to become a Full member instead of staying on the free membership, but after attending several events with a core group of people I began to realise that I was enjoying the camaraderie of this group of dedicated members. 

I was beginning to feel part of a community, and realised I enjoyed going to different events in the knowledge that I’d be meeting the same group of people.  Obviously there were always new ones joining, but the dedicated six or more who I met over and over were beginning to become friends! 

It was then that I became frustrated by my inability to attend all the member-only events that were on offer, and I decided to bite the bullet and become a paid member. No looking back!  

In fact I had started to host events before paying to become a member, but now that I was a paid member I was also starting to accumulate a string of badges after my name including Community Champion, and I’d gone from Basic to Silver almost immediately. What a buzz! 

The first event I hosted was to the Brisbane Makers Market in the city.  The reason I hosted this event was because I wanted to go to the Makers Market, and I didn’t want to go alone! So six of us went, and a couple of us bonded.  

Altogether Stitch has become an important part of my life, providing social stimulus, community, and different activities

Community Champion Rachel

I then organised a jazz night at the Maritime Museum in Brisbane, again because I wanted to go and didn’t want to go alone. 26 people RSVP’d and about 16 turned up. Not bad for my second event! It was really huge hit with several of us up and dancing to what was a stellar band.

This inspired me to host this event the following month. This time 10 people turned up, and we had a lovely time chatting over the music and getting to know each other better.  

Since then I’ve been to many more events, and just last week I hosted a successful dinner with eight enthusiastic diners. Upcoming events I’m hosting include a Vietnamese street food lunch, and a walk by the Brisbane River incorporating the Council sponsored Northshore Sculpture by the Sea — which will merge two of my loves, walking and art!  

Altogether Stitch has become an important part of my life, providing social stimulus, community, and different activities including music, art, walking, and food. What more could anyone want?  

If you would like to get involved in growing the Stitch Community in your area, feel free to contact us about how to get started. And if you live in Queensland in Australia, just sign up to Stitch to find out what’s already happening near you!