Better Living Through Stitching Together

World Wide Knit in Public Day is Saturday, June 13, 2020. This largest knitter-run event in the world started in 2005 and is now celebrated in at least 57 countries. Volunteers all over the world host events to bring knitters together to socialize, learn new skills, and share the joy of knit and crochet with the general public.

Our library celebration couldn’t take place this year, so I thought it would be fun to look back at past events.

Yarn bombing is a type of knit and crochet graffiti or street art and we’ve had some exceptional examples at the library.

All ages are welcome to participate in the activities. There is a lot of talking and laughter while working on a current project for all to see.

Knitting competitions can be fierce with trophies for the winners!

Library staff enjoy knitting displays for the Children’s Department and Circulation Office.

I’m looking forward to World Wide Knit in Public Day 2021 when we can all get together again. In the meantime, check out these ebooks and magazines on OverDrive/Libby for inspiration and to improve your skills.

Hope to see you next year!

Knitters Unite, Together they Stitch

knittedtree (3)They’re out there and they are coming to a location near you! Wielding and working their needles, knitting communities worldwide have been gathering annually on the second Saturday in June since 2005. The occasion has been dubbed World Wide Knit in Public Day. Unaware of this phenomena and taken quite by surprise,I shot the photo above while on a trip to Richmond VA.

spud and chloeThis happening event has sparked staff at the library: from the hands that brought you the knitted Royal Family, Everett Public Library knitters have been at it again.Their inspiration primarily comes from library books such as Spud and Chloe at the Farm and Knitted Nursery Rhymes. This  industrious group of knitters has been stitching away for months on break time and after work hours. Cute characters and creatures are shaping up to make their debut in June at both locations. In addition, to commemorate World Wide Knit in Public Day, the Evergreen Branch will host a gathering “Drop everything and knit”, at 6:00 pm on June 18th.

Not a knitter myself, I thought it might be interesting to learn a bit about the knitters behind the needles. I posed the question to a few staff knitters, “How long have you been knitting and what got you started?” I’ve enjoyed each response and thought you might as well.

Linda told me it was the Vietnam War that got her started. She explained that during the war her mother had generously opened up their home, inviting her friend and family to stay with them while her husband served overseas — in effect their household size doubled. Linda in turn sought out tranquility and became friends with an elderly neighbor who welcomed her company and taught Linda how to both knit and crochet. This lifetime skill has led to placing her work and winning awards at the Evergreen State Fair For the past 7 years Linda has volunteered several evenings a month at the Evergreen Branch where she leads a Crochet and Knit group.  ‘Spud and Chloe at the farm’, currently on display at the Evergreen Branch, gives tribute to her talent and most recent work.

Kim shares that around the time she finished college and started her first “real” job at the Everett Public Library 25 years ago, she began to knit. Considering knitting to be a fun hobby, but with no experience, Kim began taking classes at Great Yarns just north of 41st on Rucker Avenue. The instructor was pleased with Kim’s lack of knowledge and told Kim “You won’t have to unlearn anything.” I found it interesting to learn that Kim uses the Continental style of knitting which means in knitting language she is a picker not a thrower. In this method one holds the yarn in the left hand compared to the majority who hold the yarn in their rightSince her early years at the library, Kim has always managed to connect with other knitters and is the person behind the collaborative display that will be in the children’s display case at the Main Library.

veryhungrycaterpillarNalmes grandmother’s enthusiasm for knitting, not shared by her own mother, got passed down to her. Influenced by her grandmother she learned basic technique; terminology would come later since she was just 9 years old. After a decade or so Nalmes picked knitting back up last year inspired by the many knitting books here at the library. Today she is self-taught. Between how-to-books and YouTube videos she feels confident and believes she can pretty much do anything she puts her knit and crochet needles to. Recently she made a Seahawk scarf as a birthday gift and a newborn sleeper designed to look like the Very Hungry Caterpillar. You can see her contribution to the knit display at the Evergreen Branch Library.

knittingstitchesJulie wanted to try something no one else in her family had mastered, so at the resourceful age of 12 she visited her local library and borrowed a children’s picture book on knitting. Through trial and error, mostly error, Julie taught herself. The most challenging project Julie has taken up was the knitting of a fisherman sweater.The process took a months time and involved managing multiple needles, converting a pattern to do ‘in the round’ and an additional four months to knit. If you are up for the challenge Knitting Stitches Visual Encyclopedia is good  resource. Subsequently, Julie has successfully taught her mom to knit dishcloths and has helped out many others along the way. She confides the process of knitting is more rewarding than the final product. Currently she has been working on features that will be on display at the Evergreen Branch library as well as dishcloths as a wedding gift for her cousin’s wedding.

Chris says she has been knitting for as long as she remembers, at least 45 years. It was so long ago she cannot recall the learning of it but remembers a mustard-colored yarn, strange as that sounds. She credits her mom who taught Chris at 8 years old how to sew along with her two sisters. Consequently, her mom had to create a schedule so the girls wouldn’t fight over who got to use the sewing machine while making back-to-school clothes. You can see her contribution to the Knitted Nursery on display at the Main Library.

Leslie admits she hasn’t had much time to knit lately. She was about eight when her god mother bought her some blue plastic needles and some furry black and white yarn. She made a scarf and has been knitting ever since. She typically knits more in the winter months than the summer. Leslie is currently working on Christmas stockings for her granddaughters.

toystoknitEven though I don’t know one needle from another or the difference between crochet and knitting, I must say that the books on this subject seem endless. I browsed over a few that looked inviting. Learn to Knit Love to Knit is by Anna Wilkinson who is a leading designer among a new wave of young knitters. She offers basic illustrations and instructions for the beginner. The book then dedicates the last half to serious skilled knitters with beautiful designs. If you would like to try something along the lines of what library knitters are creating, you might find some ideas in Toys to Knit, by Tracy Chapman or Amigurume: Make Cute Crochet People, by Allison Hoffman.

These are just a small sampling of the many books available on crochet and knitting at the Everett Public Library. Who knows, I may start stitching myself one of these days. 

World Wide Knit in Public Day

When you think of a knitter do you picture a gray-haired granny sitting in her rocking chair with a cat in her lap and her  needles clicking? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong and I can prove it. On Saturday, June 9th the Everett Public Library is hosting World Wide Knit In Public Day. The day was started in 2005 as a way for knitters to come together to enjoy each others company and to show the general public that knitting can be a community activity.

This year there are over 1,000 events around the world. Check the World Wide Knit in Public website to see where they’re being held. Participating countries include the U.S., Italy, Canada, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Venezuela, South Africa, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia and many more.

Joining a knitting group has become a great way to make new friendships with people sharing a common interest. Interestingly, the communal nature of knitting has become a popular theme in books recently.

The Shop On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber has cancer survivor Lydia Hoffman opening a yarn store in Seattle to begin a new life. She offers a knitting class to improve business and three women join the class for very different reasons. Every week they discover more about each other and form a bond helping each other through the obstacles in their lives. The Blossom Street series has eight books. Each book includes a knitting pattern. The library also has The Best Of Knit Along With Debbie Macomber which includes projects inspired by the novels.

The Friday Night Knitting Club, Knit Two, and Knit The Season by Kate Jacobs spans a seven-year period in the lives of friends who met as regular customers at a yarn shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They help each other recover from a tragedy that occurs in one of their lives. A knitter herself, Julia Roberts will be starring in the movie version of the first novel that is scheduled to come out in 2013.

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is about a mother who takes up knitting as a way to fill the empty hours of loneliness while coping with the loss of a child. She joins a knitting circle and is eventually comfortable enough to talk about her grief and find hope in life again.

The Beach Street Knitting Society And Yarn Club and Needles And Pearls by Gil McNeil feature Jo Mackenzie, a newly widowed British mother of two boys who decides to take over her grandmother’s wool shop.

Maggie Sefton writes a knitting mystery series  that begins with Kelly Flynn coming back to Colorado for her aunt’s funeral. She suspects the death wasn’t an accident and with the help of the knitting regulars at her Aunt’s shop, the House Of Lambspun, she sets out to solve the murder.

The seaside knitters mystery series by Sally Goldenbaum begins with Isabel “Izzy” Chambers dumping the corporate life and opening a yarn shop in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. When there is a murder in the apartment above the shop the Seaside Knitters take on the case.

Knitters come in all ages. Teen Knitting Club  by Jennifer Wenger, Carol Abrams, and Maureen Lasher includes 35 patterns, a guide to selecting yarn and accessories, and advice on starting your own knitting club.

Chicks With Sticks : It’s A Purl Thing and Chicks With Sticks : Knit Two Together by Elizabeth Lenhard are young adult novels available as downloadable audio ebooks. Four teenage girls from different high school cliques become friends after forming a knitting club.

Knitting For Peace by Betty Christiansen includes everything you need to know to start a knitting -for-charity group. Read about 28 charities and knit the patterns for each of them.

June 9th is also the second annual Yarn Bombing Day. Yarn Bombing by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain is a guidebook to the covert world of textile street art. It’s a fascinating look at an international movement of graffiti knitting.

The Snohomish Knitters Guild (“Home to all fearless knitters in Snohomish County Washington”) is a terrific group to join if you are looking for others to knit with. They have monthly meetings with KnitLab for help with a project, speakers on various topics, and a show and tell of knit projects. The Guild encourages members to find new friends at smaller, less formal knitting groups. They provide the means to find these groups through their website, online newsletter, Facebook and Ravelry Group.

So grab your knitting needles and yarn and come to the library on June 9th. Be sure to stop by the Children’s Room display case to see the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and Humpty Dumpty scenes made by the Library Knitters.

Kim