Knit and Natter
Knitting is not a new activity. It has been around for centuries but it has been in and out of favour and fashion since it was invented.
The word' knitting' is derived from the word 'knot' which is thought to be from the Dutch verb 'knutten'. 'Knutten' is similar to the Old English word 'cnyttan', to knot.
Originally, knitting was a male-only occupation and it is surprising that today it is predominantly a female leisure activity, although some men still involve themselves in the activity.Credit: flickr.com
As early as 1527, a Knitting Trade Guild was formed in Paris but when knitting machines were invented, knitting by hand became a less essential craft and was seen as a leisure activity.
Since the beginning of this century knitting has become popular again. In the USA women knitters between the ages of 25 -35 have increased by 15% and have adopted a more social approach to this resurging leisure activity.Throughout the USA and the UK, knitting groups have sprung up, named, 'Stitch and Bitch' or 'Knit and Natter' or 'Knitting Circle'. There is developing a real sense of community between knitters, not only by the meeting of groups of knitters in local areas but also through podcasts and blogs.Credit: Terrie Plowman
Knitting Groups are a great way to meet new people, particularly if you're new to the area. There will be all levels of knitting skills at the knitting group so it is the ideal environment to develop and improve your knitting skills. The knitting groups are also excellent platforms for getting creative and bouncing ideas off each other.
Exchanging patterns with fellow members is a good opportunity for you to try out a new pattern without having to pay for it.
The knitting groups, ultimately, allow you to meet friends with a common interest and have a good natter.
Knitting Groups meet in coffee shops, libraries, community centres, wool shops, craft shops and private homes.
If you are interested in joining a knitting group near you then go to the knitting club directory at www.knittogether.info/
Knitting Groups for Children
Knitting Groups for children are now becoming popular as well as Mother and Child knitting sessions, even including finger knitting! There are groups being formed as after-school activities to help children learn a new skill and, after several sessions, go home with a finished product.
One such group was formed because a teacher wanted to find an outlet for students who needed support. Students attended the knitting groups and bonded well. The knitting group now continues to thrive as a popular leisure activity and numbers are swelling.
Often, the Knitting Groups will be working on somCredit: flickr.come kind of project for charity, either in the home country or for a Third World Country. Squares to sew together to make warm blankets are popular and bind the group together in a common task. Similarly, baby clothes or soft toys are made for baby units or other items of clothing for children's homes. In recent years, many groups have made warm woollen caps for the servicemen out in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But there are also winter warmers like snoods [neck warmers], scarves, hats and gloves that are popular to knit as are bags, or toys. Some people like to knit individual small flowers and link together in a small and delicate posy. By contrast there is always the teapot warmer, the tea cosy. And there are so many different yarns and colours to brighten up the dullest days. There are even neon wools for that brightly coloured sweater!
Of course, when birthdays and Christmas come around you may have the perfect and personal gift for your loved-ones. That little cardigan with duck motifs for a grandchild, a brightly coloured scarf and gloves for a friend or a sweater for a partner are now achievable. The ideas will be endless and you will save money.
If you are particularly interested in knitting toys then look at Jean Greenhowe's designs. She designed fashion garments in the 1960's for Vogue Knitting before working on Woman's Weekly magazine for 24 years, producing hundreds of designs. She wrote books about designs for soft toys. In thes books she leaves nothing to chance and gives detailed instructions and illustrates with colourful photographs of the finished product.
Some examples of her work show a 60-piece, 48cm high Golfing Clown called,'Binky Bunker', with its 11 pages of carefully described instructions. Even the beginner would have a confidence boost from following the instructions! There are even accessories for Binky Bunker including golf clubs that have both a flat and rounded side and their own individual covers, a golf bag, an umbrella and golf shoes. The designer has a brilliant eye for detail.
Jean Greenhowe gives all her soft toys or groups of soft toys names like Red Nose Tradesmen, the Dumpling Dolls, the Storybook Dolls, Young Alf's Pals, Traditional Favourites, Mascot Dolls, Snowtime Friends and Dolly Mixtures. These toys are ideal for charity fund raising events. Binky Bunker is so tall that he would be suitable to raffle off for a special fund-raising event.
Take the Plunge
If you join one of the many Knitting Groups you will learn many of the hundreds of different stitches and intricate patterns that are available today. Just pick up one of the Knitting Magazines, like 'Simply Knitting' or 'Knit Today' to see the breadth of designs available.
Take the plunge, search for your needles and join a Knitting Group today. You'll love the friendship and be surprised at how much you will learn from the enthusiastic knitters.
If you have been inspired to start the knitting craze or continue a hobby that you once were interested in but have neglected for some time or if you are a knitting enthusiast with skills you can pass on, then why not start your own group?
You can e mail a few friends and meet in someone's house to start or put a note on Twitter or Facebook or write a blog. If you feel confident with the internet then try developing a website. It doesn't have to be a complicated website.
Alternatively, look at the nearest knitting group to you. It may mean you have to travel further than you wish but, at least you will have taken the plunge. You are sure to find there are people in the Knitting Group who can help and who may become good friends.