Gathering with women and girls of all ages to knit, share projects and patterns, and talk while knitting is a much different experience than knitting alone at home on your couch. There is a shared bond that exists in a knitting group that is very special. To gather such a diverse group of people in one place and to have everyone agree that the very old traditional activity of knitting is cool enough to warrant the learning of a new skill, the researching of patterns, the purchasing of yarn, and the actual knitting and wearing of the garment still fascinates me every month.
Hip to Knit is approaching its fourth anniversary at Greenwood Public Library. The first Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7:30pm a group of knitters or want-to-be knitters gathers for an informal knit night. Usually there are some newbies there just to learn how to knit or be reminded of how they learned in years past. The rest of the group is a mix bag of women of all ages, teenagers, and little girls all working on their project of the moment.
I learned how to knit by obsessively watching YouTube videos four years ago when I needed a topic to present on in one of my classes in library school. Why I didn’t just choose something I already knew how to do is still a bit of a mystery. I am so glad I went overboard back then. In the four years since then I have knit a whole lot of scarves, some shawls and hats, countless wash rags, and a few baby blankets. I have given loved ones gifts that they have treasured and created my own favorite wardrobe pieces from scratch.
I have had the opportunity to teach hundreds of people to knit (only one so far has been a guy). Some catch on right away and still return to knit night from time to time, some have given it up, and others have sought additional guidance and are now more advanced knitters than I will probably ever be. I don’t really do challenging projects – the fun in knitting for me is a distracting hobby that I don’t have to work too hard at. That isn’t what makes it fun for everybody, and that’s okay.
Hip to Knit generally has between 10-20 people in attendance each month. I love meeting new people this way. Tonight I met a paramedic who caught on right away, despite this being her first time picking up knitting needles (confession: she is an avid crocheter). She was sitting next to a regular patron who is a busy homeschool mother who only really gets to knit during her two hours away from home each month for Hip to Knit. It took her about six months to finally “get it.” That was three years and several shawls ago, however. I also had a pretty involved conversation with a third grader about the benefits of sparkly pink yarn and learned that she knits at recess now with several other classmates.
Knitting can be a wonderful community activity. That’s what makes it such a great library program. It’s the part of my job that I absolutely love.