Jun 14, 2023

Yarn work: Knitting club gathers weekly

Assistant Editor

What happens in knitting club doesn't stay in knitting club.

It grows and spreads as knitters share their talent with one another and with others outside of the group.

Four to five women gather to knit and chat on Monday afternoons at the Lebanon Public Library, but anyone who wants to knit or crochet, or bring other needlework, is welcome. Mary Emrick of Whitestown knits some days and crochets on others.

The women help beginners improve their skills and welcome tips from newcomers. The informal group founded by Assistant Library Director Yvonne Welty has been meeting for eight years, but members come and go as they learn what they wanted to or move away.

Welty's fingers wrapped blue and green yarns around her needles Monday. She was making a tea bag cozy. Small projects, such as cozies, are enjoyable between the big ones, she said.

Ginger Sanders of Lebanon worked with a circular needle to complete the sleeve of a soft blue-green cardigan she's making for herself.

Dana Ford of Lebanon worked with four needles she connected with yarn as she made a small hat. She makes all of her husband's hats too.

And Emrick knitted round and round a striped hat she intends to leave on a Christmas tree where donations may be dropped off for those in need this year. She got the idea from a tree at the library last year. Donations went to The Caring Center to distribute.

Mary had some blue yarn left from another project and blended it with a cream colored yarn to make a close-knit cap that should keep the wind out. She carefully counted the stitches and rounds and knew when she didn't have enough blue for another stripe.

The others marveled at Mary's ability to accurately calculate stitches and yardage.

Ford said that at first she just bought the number of skeins of yarn she thought a project would take.

"And then I wouldn't have enough, or I’d have way too much," she said with a laugh.

Projects can become expensive, but they don't have to, Welty said. Beautiful things can be made from department store acrylic yarn, she wants newbies to know. The hobby doesn't have to be costly.

Sanders told the group about a woman who tested yarns from discount stores all the way to yarn that comes from South American llamas who are shorn only once every three years. The prices ranged from less than $2 to $300 per skein. And the women agreed that $2 yarn makes great projects.

"It doesn't pay to be a yarn snob," Welty said.

"The only thing I splurge on is yarn for my husband's hats," Ford said. "He wears them until they wear out. So I need something washable. And he shaves his head and wants his hats nice and soft. But I make them for under $20."

No matter the cost, knitting enriches the knitters’ lives and those of others, the women agreed.

Welty remembered the late Char Giddings of Lebanon.

"She was just a wonderful knitter," she said. "And if she liked you, she would knit you a Christmas stocking with your name on it ... The girls’ stockings had an angel, and the boys’ had a little drummer boy."

Another acquaintance learned to make the stockings after Giddings passed away to continue the tradition. And she also showed Welty how to make pearl knitting stitches, which had baffled her before. But being able to pearl opened a new world of fun projects.

Ford said she had a friend whose grandmother knitted Christmas stockings for everyone in the family before she passed. But then a nephew was born, and there was no one to make one for him. And the friend asked Ford to replicate one.

"I said ‘I don't think I can make what your grandma did, but I can make a striped one,’" Ford said.

The women accept yarn and related tool donations. They can be left off at the library's main desk on the second floor. The women knit in a comfortable conference room on the third floor, sitting in padded rolling chairs and spreading out their yarns on large tables.

Knitting takes place from 1-3 p.m. Mondays at the library, 104 E. Washington St., Lebanon. For more information, visit the library's events calendar online. Knitters of all skill levels are welcome.

Assistant Editor

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