Knitting and Love

The most amazing things have come into my life in the last month and half as a result of (or in conjunction with) my decision to knit again. I’m not an expert or long-time knitter, but last winter I knit three sweaters, two of them Elizabeth Zimmermans under the influence of Kate over at Fabrickated. Then I put down my needles. I was somewhat tired of knitting endless rows of stocking stitch, have no desire to get into complicated stuff, and wondered how many hand-knit sweaters I needed. Three seemed like enough to me.

But in September I found I had two desires — one to join a “knitting circle” as a means of having some sort of social life. All four yarn shops in Vancouver have an evening when they host anyone who wants to knit and chat. The second desire was to try out Colourmart (again I have to say under Kate’s relentless promotion of them in her blog). Just kidding about the “promotion” part Kate.

When I discovered Colourmart had no-fee delivery(!!) I jumped on it, and ordered some chocolate brown merino wool ostensibly to match one skein of red/purple wool I bought last year. I’ve since discovered the red/purple is too bulky, so I’ll sub left-over cream wool from one of my sweaters of last year. I’m using a free top-down vneck pattern I found at Ravely a few years ago.

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While waiting for the wool to arrive I started attending a knitting circle at Baaad Anna’s Yarn Store. There’s so much positive about this that I almost don’t know where to begin — but they all have to do with “community”. Every week there are between ten and twenty-five knitters (most, but not all, women) of all ages. I’ve had conversations with various of them about a whole slew of topics. Some have been knitting for 50 years, so there’s a wealth of help and advice available.

Since I couldn’t start my sweater, I spent the first few weeks swatching (see the pic above). But I’ve now discovered that the yarn store hosts some knitting for charity events. If I should want, I could knit purple hats for newborn babies (yarn supplied). Every second Sunday they have a charity knit and chat. They also knit stuff for other causes. I believe right now people are knitting socks for homeless people.

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If you look past the reflections in the window, you can see the knitters inside.

I want to keep attending, which means I have to plan several projects. LOL.

I checked out what the yarn stores had on offer for a fingerweight wool, because I think I might prefer handknits made of lighter weight wool. I found something gorgeous at one of the stores, but they only had two skeins. I went back a week later because I hadn’t found anything else, either there or at Colourmart. I was possibly a little pushy with the sales clerk. I “demanded” she call their head office to see if the yarn was available at their other store in another province, and to see if it could be ordered. No luck.

BUT while I hung around the store sorrowfully looking for something else I might like, the sales clerk was busy on her cell, checking out Ravelry. She found someone selling four skeins of that exact yarn out of her stash!! Can you imagine? I went home, contacted Heather from some place in England, confirmed she still had the 4 skeins and they were in perfect condition, and ordered them.

Then my introductory package arrived from Colourmart. They included a sample pack of yarns of various weights, plus some samples I had asked for. I knit up two of the samples and decided I wanted to order them. They’re a fingerweight blend of merino, cashmere, cotton and silk, one in Khaki green, and the other in burnt orange. I had put them both in my shopping basket but by this time (a month later) they had expired. Unfortunately they appeared not to have any of the khaki left in stock! I contacted them and asked if they by any chance had a cone of it kicking around anyplace. In response, they went through their warehouse and informed me they’d found a cone for me. So I’ve placed my second order with them. But again I’m struck by the helpfulness of people, and by my luck (?) in finding what I want.

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So I now have three projects lined up. That should take me through to the summer.

I’m wondering if knitting circles happen in other cities/countries? No blogger I’ve read has mentioned anything about them, but they’re such a resource. A couple of years ago I heard about them by way of a newspaper article about a retired woman who attended several every week and unravelled sweaters she bought at thrift store to knit for charity. It struck me that she was finding a way to get together with other people and do something she found meaningful.

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14 thoughts on “Knitting and Love”

  1. Felicia, there are actually more than 4 yarn shops in Vancouver! At least a half-dozen that I know of. Anyway, check out the Terminal City Yarn Wranglers group on Ravelry for all the current meetups in the Lower Mainland. There’s also the West Coast Knitters Guild who meet on the first Tuesday of the month at the Oakridge Seniors Centre.

    And to answer your last question: Yes! There are knitters’ meetups/social circles everywhere!

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    1. I just googled, and discovered the two shops I missed. I’ll have to go visit them. Thanks! I’m trying to find out if there are yarn shop knitting circles in London, Barcelona, Rome, Paris.

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    1. I admit I haven’t tried to find sewing groups. Though I have thought it would be nice if there were an annual sewists meetup. *probably* there are enough sewists with blogs and/or on IG in Vancouver.

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  2. we have a meet up where we knit crochet or embroider – and I have even brought small home mending along. It started as a few loose groups, some interested in yarn bombing and some in upcycling….. but when it came down to it, we all just wanted to have a social context to our crafts.
    It was hard to find ‘the right place’ – with good lighting and a place that didnt mind a mix of numbers. We used meet in a cafe – but they used to want us to book a table and then if only 2 turned up we then feel we wasted a table. We now meet in a pub – its a mixed clientele, and has good lighting and they seem to like us coming along as it gives a bit more diversity (I am basing this on the fact we are occasionally not charged for tea!).
    A lot of times there are just 3s and 5s and sometimes we can have 12 – 15. we do a facebook page so people can see who is going along of a Wednesday.
    I will always try and make it as I find I know so few makers and its so encouraging just to meet up and chat

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  3. Yes, knitting groups abound, particularly in winter and/or colder climes. When I lived in Chicago, 2 blocks from a wonderful yarn shop, they had events every day of the week, including a men-only night & Sunday afternoons. Alas, I was a bit too busy then to attend much, and didn’t quite have as much interest in knitting. The yarn shop in Georgetown (D.C.) has many groups, but it was a bit far for me to travel when I lived there. Down here, the seasons aren’t cold enough for me to wear knits, and I wish sewing lent itself more to group activities. Still, there’s at least one group – no, make that 2, no 3! – that get together once a month or more to sew. One in Ireland, one in U.K., and one up in Virginia. Am delighted you’ve found a nice group close to home, and look forward to seeing how you progress. (Am eager to see that green yarn, too!)

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  4. Good to see you’ve got plenty of projects ahead, and a lucky yarn star to boot! I’m very impressed by your even stockinette. We have sewing and knitting circles in the village, which I don’t have time to join… I usually knit while waiting during the children’s swimming/singing/dancing classes, or at the playground. I find it’s easy to be social with other waiting parents, compared to hiding in a book or smartphone 🙂 As long as they don’t disturb when I’m counting 😉

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