Have you ever been knitting in public (doctor's office, train, bus, library, sporting event, airport, school pick up line, etc) and someone strikes up a conversation with you about knitting? Knitting is a very social hobby! It brings people together and helps to develop bonds. If you've been wanting to connect more with others, why not join or start your own knitting club? Both are very easy to do and cost nothing to get started.
I recently sat down with knitters of three different knitting clubs to discuss how they started their group, how long they've been meeting, what inspired them to start the club, and what they do at their club meetings. Hopefully, it will inspire you to join or start your own knitting club!
What is a knitting club?
A knitting club is a group of 2 or more people that get together and knit or crochet. Knitters of all skill levels are usually welcome.
Why join or start a knitting club?
Being part of a knitting group is great way to meet with like minded people around a craft. Heather Walpole of Ewe Ewe Yarns started her group, Sip + Stitch in Oceanside, CA, three years ago. They meet every other week at a local brewery. "I started the group to find more knitters in my area and to have a social event that wasn't always with my current friends. We started with 8 people. Now we have a rotating group of about 10-12. We meet to socialize, laugh, and unwind."
What types of knitting clubs are there?
Suzanne Knight of West Chester, PA started a crochet group last year. The group of twelve meets twice a month in the afternoons at her church. Church members and non members are welcome. One thing I found very attractive about this group is that they ask the members to be mindful of the projects they create. "We ask them to alternate projects by creating one project for themselves, and then the next item they create is one that they will donate to charity." says Knight. They've created prayer shawls, baby blankets, and hats as part of their charity giving.
The most organized of the three groups we spoke to is KNITWITS, lead by Marsha Wenskay. They have been meeting weekly for 15 years at a Rancho Santa Fe, CA church and in the summer at a nearby restaurant. The goal of the group is to share the pleasures and benefits of knitting while creating; with as many people as possible. This group doesn't rest on their laurels, either. Every January, they hold a business meeting to select two charities they will support that coming year as well as a skill builder class that Wenskay teaches. The KnitWits were written up in their local paper for a yarn bombing a few years ago and new yarn bombing is in the works. "We celebrate our birthday each January with a yarn swap and knit theme games and prizes. We also organize trips to fiber festivals, TKGA events, and our local knitting guild" says Wenskay.
Do I need to be an advanced knitter to start a knitting club?
You don't need to be an advanced knitter to start a group! If you've just started knitting and want a friend to knit with, teach her to cast on and knit..voila! A group is formed! You'll be amazed at what you learn and share in a knitting club. "We all have levels from beginner to advanced and if somebody has a question about a pattern or a new technique, we all try to pitch in to help her have a successful project." says Walpole.
What do we do at knitting club?
Your knitting group can be as relaxed as those at Sip + Stitch, "We chat, order our drinks, show off our current projects or recently finished projects, and then just chat about our week." says Walpole. Or, you can opt for a more organized group such as KNITWITS, "We do a Show and Share the last Wednesday of the month to show off our finished projects. There's a fancy Holiday party with ugly sweaters, Secret Santa exchange with a ball of amazing wrapped yarn and Champagne. On a regular basis, we serve snacks and wine. Then knitters that need help sit next to me and we work through their knitting problem" says Wenskay.
How to find a knitting club near me?
Two of the groups we spoke to notify others via word of mouth or email. While Sip + Stitch takes a more high tech approach. "We use Meetup.com for the dates and scheduling plus I recently started a Ravelry group. I found that we would talk about various knitting designs and Ravelry, rather than Meetup was an easier way to share those patterns with the group." says Walpole.
Meetup.com, TKGA, CGOA, and Ravelry are great resources to start looking for a group of your own. You can also check with your local library, community center, church, synagogue, and even your local yarn shop. If you can't find a group, start your own!
What do knitters love about their knitting club?
If you join or start a knitting group, you'll get much more than what you anticipate. What we found in all three groups we interviewed, that what they love about their clubs actually has nothing to do with knitting. They love the relaxing time they have, and the stories they share while they are together. The knitting strand that brings them together, allows them to knit through life's ups and downs: marriages, children, divorce, job challenges, children, and even death's of loved ones. Getting together with a group of like minded individuals allows you to share and work through life's challenges and create friendships that last a lifetime.
Share your story! Are you part of a knitting group? How did you find it? Did you start your own group and what do you love about it?