An­nual event cel­e­brates knit­ting, help­ing oth­ers

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON news@cb­post.com

An­nual event high­lights pop­u­lar craft.

Some of the best yarns at Satur­day’s KnitFit Com­mu­nity Knit-a-thon at the McCon­nell Li­brary were the sto­ries that came from the event’s par­tic­i­pants.

For ex­am­ple, Anne Sav­age of Mira learned how to knit from her mother, a com­mon enough oc­cur­rence un­til Sav­age ca­su­ally re­veals a few more de­tails about her par­ent.

“She had one arm — it didn’t stop her from do­ing any­thing,” said Sav­age as she worked on two pairs of wool socks.

The 76-year old has been knit­ting for more than 70 years and to this day, she cre­ates hun­dreds of items each year. She es­ti­mates that in the past year alone, she made 200 pairs of mit­tens to give to oth­ers.

The pink pair and a rust-coloured men’s pair she cre­ated on Satur­day will be do­nated to one of the nine lo­cal char­i­ties that ben­e­fits from the items made dur­ing the an­nual event.

While it’s a great hobby and a good way to re­lax, Sav­age says knit­ting keeps her healthy as well.

“It re­lieves stress for me,” said Sav­age. “My (blood) pres­sure was way up over 200. I took up knit­ting again — I had stopped for a few years — and my pres­sure dropped right down.

“And I have to knit be­cause of my hands, to keep them mov­ing. That’s my doc­tor’s or­ders — four dif­fer­ent doc­tors

have told me not to give up knit­ting to keep my hands mov­ing. I have arthri­tis re­ally bad in my hands, they’re all swollen up, and the knit­ting keeps them lim­ber. As for the pain, you just knit through it. It does help — I’m still mov­ing my hands. It’s a good stress­re­liever, it re­ally is.”

Barb Landry of Syd­ney also learned from her mother and has since turned it into a ca­reer. In univer­sity, she knit­ted afghans and sweaters for friends to earn ex­tra money. To­day, she’s a pro­fes­sional knit­ter who not only cre­ates one-of-a-kind items but she also cre­ates pat­terns so oth­ers can make their own gar­ments.

She has do­nated one of her shawl pat­terns to the li­brary and it will be sold to raise money for its chil­dren’s and teens pro­grams.

Landry is also a spin­ner, tak­ing large pieces of wool and turn­ing them into eas­ier-towork-with yarns. It’s some­thing she learned while work­ing at the Fortress of Louis­bourg.

“We have sheep and no­body was mak­ing use of the fleeces so the fortress sent me to Prince Ed­ward Is­land,” she said. “I was taught by a pro­fes­sional spin­ner and I came back to the fortress and I’ve been spin­ning at work ever since.”

While Sav­age knit­ted and Landry spun, Dar­lene Cle­ments of Syd­ney Mines pre­ferred to cro­chet be­cause “it’s quicker.” She spent the day cre­at­ing tiny pairs of baby booties and says she likes the porta­bil­ity of her craft.

“Started it on the bus on the way over and I fin­ished it here,” she said, adding she en­joys cre­at­ing items that will be do­nated to oth­ers who need them.

“Give to those who need it.” Like the oth­ers, Janet Daw­son learned to knit from an older rel­a­tive, in her case, her grand­mother. Over the years, her love of wools has led her to knit­ting, cro­chet­ing, weav­ing and even her own busi­ness, My Fair Ladies in Syd­ney. While yarn plays a big role in her life, she says it’s the peo­ple who keep it in­ter­est­ing.

“I love it be­cause so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple come to­gether who have some­thing in com­mon and it’s a re­ally fab­u­lous way to sup­port the li­brary. There’s a lot of like-minded peo­ple here and fi­bre peo­ple are al­ways fun.”

Or­ga­nizer Chris Thom­son said Satur­day’s event was the most suc­cess­ful one yet.

“I’m pleased with the turnout,” said Thom­son. “We’ve had to spread out into the chil­dren’s sec­tion this year — we were crowded last year just in the pro­gram room. This is our 10th an­niver­sary so we’re hav­ing a good time. Peo­ple are div­ing into the yarn and peo­ple have good ideas what to make with it. It goes to char­i­ties who give free cloth­ing to fam­i­lies and chil­dren and men.”


Barb Landry shows an in­tri­cate shawl she has cre­ated. Landry has do­nated the pat­tern for this shawl to be used by the McCon­nell Li­brary in Syd­ney as a fundraiser for its chil­dren’s and teen pro­grams. The pat­tern is for sale at the li­brary and will be also avail­able on Ravelry, an on­line knit­ting com­mu­nity.


The cov­ers on the park­ing me­ters out­side the McCon­nell Li­brary in Syd­ney leave a hint where the 10th an­nual KnitFit Com­mu­nity Knit-athon was held on Satur­day.





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