The art of knitting unveils its social side at the Carlingwood Library

Story and photo by Judith van Berkom – 

As we knit, our stories merge with the colours, patterns and textures we work with, and become a thing of beauty, a gift to ourselves and another, and we become lighter for it.

Knitting Club takes place every last Thursday of the month at the Ottawa Public Library’s Carlingwood branch, on the second floor from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Some come from as far away as Barrhaven although most live in or close to Kitchissippi. What’s important is threefold: it’s a social event that is open to women and men (although it’s reported that the latter has yet to appear) it’s free of charge, and the only requirement is a desire to learn and/or share your knowledge with others.

The club, initiated by Kelly Wojnarski, first met last year after Wojnarski approached the Carlingwood branch with her request.

Carlingwood Library Knitting Club founder Kelly Wojnarski. “I’m hopeless with needles,” she explains as she demonstrates the two knitting machines she’s using to make socks.
Carlingwood Library Knitting Club founder Kelly Wojnarski. “I’m hopeless with needles,” she explains as she demonstrates the two knitting machines she’s using to make socks.

A keen group of 15 to 18 knitters gather in a circle upstairs on the last Thursday of August, each with a project in hand, enthusiastic, interested in what others are making and always prepared to help one another. No knitting experience is required and all skill levels are welcome.

Wojnarski is a landscape architect during the day, who says she “likes to be busy.” She also belongs to a book club with five other women.

“I’m hopeless with needles,” she explains as she demonstrates two knitting machines she’s using to make socks.

“I went online and learnt [how to use] the machine. It’s just repetition and you get better at it as you go along,” she adds.

“You can knit two pairs of socks on circular needles,” says Barbara, one of the knitters. She’s working on a pair of socks for her granddaughter.

A few women, gathered at 6:30 p.m. to knit, became 15 women by 7 p.m., some bringing home-made cookies with them to share, others leaving chocolates on the table for everyone. With winter approaching, they are starting to feel the urge to knit for Christmas presents, or church bazaars, for family and friends. In the winter, depending on interest, they may increase knitting nights to twice a month.

Knitting is as much a creative as a social event – a chance to relax and let your mind be free to imagine and see what’s possible. It is an opportunity to get to know new people and build friendships, and to indulge in the making of something new – to play with colour and texture, to watch a piece of art evolve.

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