Knit, crochet and be sociable!

Gill Sherry

Knitting was, at one time, a solitary pastime. These days, however, it’s considered a much more sociable activity, particularly if you find yourself at one of the many Knit and Natter community groups held across the country.

One such group is Knit and Natter (Kilwinning) which takes place every Thursday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm at Kilwinning Library in St Winning’s Lane. The group was set up ten years ago by Margaret Campbell. Margaret tells me what led to her setting up the group.

“I had a stroke and I couldn’t do anything for about two years. I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t walk. Knitting saved my sanity. That’s why I started the group.”

Thankfully, ten years on, Margaret has physically recovered from the stroke, although, she admits that her words can sometimes get jumbled up if she feels excited or anxious. But there’s no mistaking her words when she describes knitting as “a life saver”.

Knit and Natter (Kilwinning) attracts between eight and twelve attendees each week but the group is keen to attract new members of any age and ability. And although the group currently consists entirely of women, men (and boys) are also welcome.

“A wee boy, he was about eight or nine, once came to the library and asked how to knit, but his teacher put him off. He was keen to learn but he never came back.”

Knowing how therapeutic knitting can be and how it can boost mental health and wellbeing, Margaret was understandably upset when the teacher insisted that “boys don’t knit”. But with high profile knitters such as Tom Daley now promoting the activity (he even has his own brand, Made With Love by Tom Daley), she is hoping men and boys will be brave enough to pick up some needles and try it.

“There’s a box with odd knitting needles and wool that people have donated. And it’s free to attend. You just bring your own cup and we have a cup of tea or a cup of coffee, and everyone has a turn in bringing in a packet of biscuits. In fact, you don’t even have to knit, you can just sit and chat if you want to.”

The group has knitted and crocheted many items which have since been donated to charity, but attendees are also welcome to knit something for themselves. And the great thing about it is that there’s always someone on hand to give advice. You can also swap patterns, learn to crochet, and share tips and hints over a cup of tea.

There are many benefits to community groups such as this, some more obvious than others. As well as learning a new skill (or improving an existing one), it can combat isolation and boost confidence. New friendships are also formed and there’s a great sense of community.

What are you waiting for?

If you’re interested in joining the Kilwinning group, why not pop along on a Thursday afternoon? If you’d like to donate some wool, donations are accepted at Kilwinning library any time. And for details of other Knit and Natter groups in Ayrshire, please enquire at your local library.