Once a skill no self-respecting homemaker would be without, knitting declined in popularity over the past several decades with the advent of ready-made imported knitwear that was often much cheaper.
But recently knitting has been making a huge come-back. Knitting groups have become popular, with knitters enjoying the benefits of friendship, learning and honing skills, an outlet for creativity, and a sense of pride in their achievements.
A July school holiday programme in 2018 was the unexpected catalyst for the start of one such group at Blockhouse Bay Library. Volunteers were recruited to help teach children (and some adults) to knit toy mice for kittens and jumpers for puppies at the SPCA.
Several of the volunteers continued to meet at the library, passing on their knitting knowledge and experience to others, forming what is now known as the ’Thursday knitting circle’.
Several newcomers learned basics like casting on, stockinette stitch, garter stitch and binding off, resulting in some very nice blankets, scarves, and hats. Some challenging skills and patterns have also been tackled with fabulous results!
Inspired by the group, including veteran knitter of 54 years Diane Berkley (pictured below in the 'Timely' cardigan), the knitting bug even rubbed off on the Library’s manager Padmini Raj, who reacquainted herself with her knitting needles.
Between them currently, they are knitting a top down sweater, a garter-stitch baby jacket, a baby’s knitted vest, socks, scarf, child’s cardigan, shawl, and a boy’s Aran cardigan. Two spinners in the group are using their own spun yarn to knit jumpers, and one member is crocheting a shawl.
Some of the projects will be on display for a short time in the library from 16th November.
On the heels of the successful Thursday knitting circle, the Library is now hosting a new knitting circle on Mondays from 10.00-12.00 for Mandarin speakers. This will again be self-run by members.
Both groups welcome new members, so come along with your own yarn. Some needles and crochet hooks are on hand for practice.