The Orion, September 19, 2011

 

"Knitting with Spirit"

by Kayla Wohlford,

 

 

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With needles, yarn and imagination at their fingertips, knit-enthusiasts gathered at the Age of Aquarius to hone their creations during a weekly gathering of Knit with Spirit. The group serves as a way to bring together people who share a joy for knitting and want to learn more.

 

It's a way of knitting that prevents you from getting bored because you're doing it along with a group, instructor Margaret VanLaanMartin said.

"In the class you discuss what's normal, whereas people outside of the group may think it's abnormal," she said. "This class could be taken over and over, because it's something new and fun."

 

As they sat in a circle in a brightly lit room, the sound of needles tapping together were intertwined with banter and storytelling. They shared different knitting techniques and new material they discovered while exploring in knit shops.

"Everybody shares," VanLaanMartin said. "That's another reason why this group is amazing."

 

Each person had varying pieces of yarn with them that spanned different sizes and colors, from charcoal gray to baby pink.

Member Rayna Ravitz passed around her new mink yarn that she discovered while traveling. Ravitz travels all over the world, including Israel, England and Alaska, and collects yarn.

 

"Other people have pictures," she said. "I have yarn."

 

Ravitz also taught her daughter to knit, who was constructing a basic blue scarf for her nephew.

 

Though taught by her mother, she still has a lot to learn, Brittany Youngman said.

"I had friends that used to knit in class," she said. "They would listen to the lectures with their notes printed out and just knit."

 

Knitting can be great for focusing on things like that, because your mind does not wander, VanLaanMartin said.

 

"The practice of knitting can really help us in our everyday liv es," she said. "We can take the therapeutic aspects and apply them elsewhere."

 

Knitting started with just making socks and has now branched out to become something decorative and fun, VanLaanMartin said. With a lot of different products now available, there is an abundance of options for yarn-lovers. There are yarns made from soy and sugarcane to possum and bamboo.

 

"One of our favorite things to do is go to yarn shops," said Sydney Thompson, who regularly attends Knit with Spirit.

 

She began knitting when her children were young and she had nothing to do at home, Thompson said.

 

"I knit for the therapeutic reason as well," VanLaanMartin said. "Knitting is one of the easiest meditations you can do."

 

While she spent the group session working on a long green coat for herself, other creations being knitted were a purse, a scarf and an infant hat for a baby shower. The group discussed the myriad different knitted designs that are out there, including jewelry, blankets and clothing. In a modernized twist on knitting creations, Vickie Johnson made herself a cover and sling bag for her Kindle.

 

"It makes it easier to carry it when I travel," Johnson said.

 

The group began about a year ago as a get-together at a friend's house and then moved to a friend's local yarn shop where VanLaanMartin began teaching classes. The group now meets every Friday.

 

VanLaanMartin will be traveling to Zambia after Thanksgiving to teach crochet to kids in an orphanage. Her goal is for them to eventually learn to "plarn," or knit with plastic bags, as a way of recycling.

 

"Plastic bags are a problem in third-world countries," VanLaanMartin said. "I want them to have a huge success."

 

 

(left to right) Knitting instructor Margaret VanLaanMartin

chats with Rayna Ravitz and her daughter Brittany Youngman

as they all knit various projects.