A diverse group of local women engage in conversation and connection as they knit, crochet and stitch.
Knitting in Public (KIP) was formed over a decade ago by Kathleen Bennett. She did it with the intention of creating a friendship club.
For several years it had a following of six to 10 members.
In 2012, it started to grow exponentially and now has around 40 enthusiastic knitters from all over the world.
When Kathleen left, the group’s responsibilities and leadership fell on four ladies.
One of these ladies, May Smith, says this fun and informal community knitting group has positively affected the lives of all of its members. “Most of us are retired,” May says. “Our children are grown. Knitting is a wonderful place to meet and connect.”
The group alternates between meeting at Botany Town Centre Library and Howick Library every Tuesday from 10am to 1pm. They take a small donation – coffee, tea and a biscuit are provided.
KIP creates a range of clothes to donate to charities and those in need. Blankets are given to tiny babies, dementia units and nursing homes. Child-sized blankets are given to Foster Hope, Pro Love and the SPCA.
Fingerless gloves, scarves and hats are generally delivered to the City Mission.
In May, they donated 40 hand-woven blankets and Teddy Bears to “Give a kid a Blanket” as a part of a Rotary Appeal.
“We’re looking for new areas of charity,” May says. “For avenues that seek clothes and gloves and all the other wonderful items we make.”
Additionally, KIP celebrated World Knitting Day on June 12 at Botany Library. Several members shared photos of themselves knitting in public places.
May says that KIP keeps her hands busy, is fun and is a wonderful for sharing ideas.
Another member, Diane, agrees. When she arrived at the library, she could hear the members chatter and enthusiasm through the door. “I wanted to go in there.”
“It’s the best group to make friends,” she says. “It saved me.”
KIP isn’t restricted to experienced knitters. Some members have been taught and mentored by other knitters. “We’ve very open to any kind of knitter,” May says.
Each week KIP has a show-and-tell to display the incredible work by members before donated pieces go to the various charities.
Long-term member Lindsay – who helps with the day-to-day running of the group – says it’s a celebration of the work they do.