A CELEBRATION OF KNITTING
Annual event celebrates knitting, helping others
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.