How many times have you seen a person knitting on a park bench, or on a beach, or anywhere in public? Chances are, not very often.
That’s going to change this Saturday, June 10. You’re likely to see quite a few people knitting in groups outdoors as knitting stores all over Massachusetts, including Adventures in Knitting in Harwich and A Great Yarn in Chatham, usher their flocks of knitters out into the open. Why? It’s the 13th World Wide Knit in Public Day.
The day’s motto is “better living through stitching together.” The event began in 2005 in the United Kingdom as a way for knitters to meet each other. That first year 25 local events were held. Last year, in contrast, people participated in 882 knitting-in-public groups in 57 countries, including Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United States. The day is billed as “the largest knitter-run event in the world” with local events put together by volunteers.
In 2016, for the first time, both local knitting stores participated.
“It was a lot of fun last year,” says Cathie Hammatt, owner of Adventures in Knitting. “We had people from Sandwich to Provincetown. It brings knitters together.” Hammatt’s group will sit in the grass between her parking lot and the entrance to the shopping plaza that includes the East Harwich Stop and Shop and Talbots at the corner of Routes 137 and 39. It’s a busy, visible spot.
“Knitting in public encourages other people wanting to knit,” she adds. “It’s also a way to see what other people are knitting.”
The group at Adventures in Knitting will knit in public for two hours, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. What should you bring? A knitting project, of course, a chair or a blanket, water, snacks, and whatever would make you comfortable. The store is offering refreshments and prizes. Knit with the group for 15 minutes or more and receive a 15 percent off coupon for the store. In case of rain, the event will move inside. For more information call Adventures in Knitting at 508-432-3700.
“What could be better than knitting outdoors with a pair of knitting needles, laughing with old friends and new ones, wearing big floppy hats and waving at cars going by?” asks Ron Weishaar, who with his wife Mary owns A Great Yarn.
Last year’s event at A Great Yarn drew more than three dozen knitters. Motorists passing by on Main Street responded with a blast of their horns to signs like “Honk if you love a knitter!”
Marty Koblish of Chatham was among those at the event last June. “It was fun to knit in a group outside and have cars honking their horns and waving at us. It helped the community to know that knitting is alive and well in Chatham,” she says. The event, which brought about a sense of camaraderie among knitters, met Koblish’s expectations.
Koblish has been an on-again/off-again knitter since she was 14. “I started out making socks and I think all my boyfriends in high school had a pair,” she recalls. “Then came sweaters for my children and then eventually grandchildren.” When A Great Yarn opened in March 2015, Koblish got serious with her knitting “as I knew I could get help if I hit a sticky spot in the instructions.” Both A Great Yarn and Adventures in Knitting offer informal drop-in sessions run by experienced knitters as well as formal classes covering new techniques.
The Knit in Public Day at A Great Yarn, 894 Main St. will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shop will provide refreshments and cookies, tables and chairs. A Great Yarn will also give participants 25 percent off any single item in the shop. For more information call the store at 508-348-5605.