Yarns About Knitting at Plumb Library

Is your yarn taking over your house? With this question in mind, Joseph Plumb Library Director Gail Roberts organized a “yarn swap” last Friday afternoon at the library.

The yarn swap table was loaded with bags of yarn, magazines, books and lots of patterns to choose from. Some of the magazines had titles including: Knit’n Stitch and Knits. Books included titles such as Knitting Without Tears and Weekend Knitting. Patterns were graded, having levels from beginner to experienced. In between were easy and intermediate.

The topic of old yarn came up and its possible purchase at a yard or church sale was discussed.

“Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours and that will kill moths, if any,” said attendee Terrie Arruda.

The knitting patterns ranged from a cat bed and a pair of socks to Christmas wreath balls, gloves, mittens, sweaters, afghans and hats with tassels. “Look at this (old) pattern for a teen ski hat,” said Ms. Roberts. “Good luck getting a teen to wear a hat these days.”

The various attendees said they enjoyed knitting and found it relaxing. It turns out that knitting is such a big hobby that there are major conventions, including Stitches East, which is a four-day affair offering 159 workshops including a “sock summit”. The number of knitters in the United States is unknown, but is estimated at 1.3 million.

Ms. Roberts said that she and her knitting friends go on a “knitting retreat” each year, which is basically a mini-vacation with friends who knit, eat out and enjoy each others’ company.  The trip also includes a visit to a local yarn shop.

“When I’m on vacation, I like to visit yarn shops and see what they are featuring and browse,” said attendee Linda Ruell, who learned to knit from her mother at age 8, forgot about it then picked it up again 12 years ago. “A friend got me back into it and I’ve been enjoying it very much.”

In discussing vacations, Ms. Roberts said that she went to Edinburgh, Scotland and visited a yarn shop while there. “I was surprised by the reasonable cost of the wool yarn…until we continued our tour and I saw how many sheep were there…they were everywhere,” she said.

Diane Nunes told the group that she had attended a “Sheep to Shaw” event in Westport, MA several years ago. The event includes shaving the sheep’s wool coat, spinning it on a loom and weaving it into a garment and have it all happening at once.  “It was lots of fun,” she recalled.

Ms. Nunes said that she learned how to knit in sixth grade in the Dartmouth school system. “From sixth to eighth grade we had, on Fridays, a one and a half hour period where we could choose to learn carpentry, photography, knitting, cartooning and other skills and a teacher taught me how to knit,” she said.

Ms. Ruell suggested the web site, knittinghelp.com, which has a search option that can answer just about any question from a beginner or experienced knitter.

All the knitters agreed you never, ever, throw out a knitting magazine, regardless of its age.  “There are patterns in there…quilters are the same way,” said Ms. Roberts.  “Even for our book sale, we don’t take magazines but the only exception is knitting magazines because they always sell.”

For the last annual library silent auction fundraiser, Ms. Roberts made a Gryssindor Illusion Scarf, which is a Harry Potter item which, when looked at straight on, appeared to be just a stripped scarf, but when looked at from another angle, images appear.  “It was a hit,” said Ms. Roberts.

After the swap, Ms. Roberts talked about starting a knitting club at the library. “The Lakeville Library has a ‘knit night’ and they display work completed by the knitting group in their lobby. We’d like to do that here…the hard part is picking the date and time, which must be during library hours,” she said.

Stay tuned for more yarns from the Plumb Library.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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