Library group combines learning and knitting
January 8, 2009
By Laura Geggel
Knitting is only a stitch away, especially for the knitters young and old who frequent Snoqualmie Library with their yarn and needles.
The library plays host to two groups — Purl One, Listen Too and Knitting for Boys and Girls. The first group started in spring 2008 when Managing Librarian Irene Wickstrom and Snoqualmie resident Jann Glisson put out the word that knitters could cast on their stitches at the library the first Thursday of every month from 1-3 p.m. The next meetings are Jan. 8, Feb. 5, and March 5.
Purl One, Listen Too met with plans of listening to knit-lit books on tape, like Debbie Macomber’s “A Good Yarn,” whilst knitting in the library’s meeting room. But the women had such a good time talking with one another that they put the tape idea on hold.
“It’s a great group of women and our abilities are all different,” said Ann Acton. “You see what other women are doing. It’s a great learning tool.”
The women, who come from all over the Snoqualmie Valley and from as far away as Kent, plan to knit an afghan together and hold a drawing for it in the spring to raise money for Friends of the Library.
Purl One, Listen Too was so successful, the women decided to mentor the next generation of knitters by starting the group Knitting for Boys and Girls for children in grades three through eight.
“As soon as we advertised it, we were overwhelmed with people wanting to participate,” said Managing Librarian Irene Wickstrom.
Glisson connected with the Helping Hands Foundation, which supplied yarn and needles for 25 students. In return for the free supplies, each student knitted a 5-inch square. The foundation will collect the squares and stitch them together into afghans for people in need.
Each of the 10 mentors taught the students in groups of three. Acton, a mentor, said she learned how to knit from her mother and only recently picked up the craft again.
“There’s so much fun yarn now,” Acton said, referring to the multitude of colored and textured yarn available in stores.
Many of the students had never so much as knitted a scarf before attending the six-week class. Acton and the other mentors taught them how to cast on, fix dropped stitched, purl and cast off, among other tricks.
“It’s a little frustrating to begin with, because you just have these two sticks — how do you hold them and keep the loop?” Acton said. “It’s a dexterity issue to begin with. Once they get that rhythm, away they go.”
Marci Nicholson enrolled her 9-year-old daughter Halle in the class after unsuccessfully trying to teach her daughter how to knit.
“I taught myself to knit when Halle was a baby, so I could knit her little fruit hats,” Marci said.
As soon as Halle began clicking needles in the class, she couldn’t stop. She made a purse, a bookmark, a headband and now she’s working on a turquoise scarf.
“(The mentors) were really nice and they really helped you when you were stuck,” Halle said.
Other girls made lip-gloss covers, blankets and fingerless gloves.
“They loved it,” said Children’s Librarian Jenifer Loomis. “They were really eager each week with the show-and-tell to show everybody what they had made.”
The last Knitting for Boys and Girls meeting is in the Snoqualmie Library from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Jan. 8. If there is enough support from the mentors and students, the class will continue. To learn more, mentor or donate knitting supplies, e-mail Jann Glisson at email@example.com.
Glisson learned how to knit as a girl in Australia.
“Knitting was just a constant thing,’ Glisson said. “Everybody knitted. They were more practical things: garments, sweaters, cardigans — things that you could wear.”
Knitting may be more for fun these days, but participants — and their parents — are glad the library made the classes available.
“I think that all of those needle crafts and cooking skills skipped a whole generation,” Marci Nicholson said. “I think it’s really important for my daughter to learn these skills.”
Reach reporter Laura Geggel at 392-6434 .221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.