With one of the coldest winters in recent memory upon us what better time to learn the art of knitting? I joined some of the ladies of the Ottendorfer Branch knitting circle on one blustery cold Saturday afternoon to chat.
Who here has been knitting the longest?
Louise: I have. I started when I was eight.
Have you ever taught others to knit? You seem to help out the group a lot.
Louise: I tried teaching my kids but it didn’t take. Now I have more patience.
Mary this is the first time you’re here. How did you begin?
Mary: I started learning how to cast on watching a YouTube Clip.
That is how I learned at first too. How did you learn about the group?
Mary: I found out about it through the book discussion club here.
Louise: It’s a really good reason to get out of the house and it’s free. I told work I won’t work Saturdays because I am here.
Louise and Laura, when the knitting club first started here at Ottendorfer, you two were sometimes the only ones who came over the summer, were you ever discouraged?
Laura: Not at all, at one point I was the only one who went to Tompkins Square for the club. I just sat in the children’s room and knitted. Several kids came up to me and talked to me about it. It was fine.
Now the knitting circle has become a family affair.
Laura: Louise is my sister.
Guillermina: My daughter comes too.
Louise: My daughter and granddaughter also come.
What do you do with the items you knit?
Laura: I give them away as gifts. When I went to visit my family in Rhode Island my grandson had draped one of the scarves I knitted him on a snowman. I am glad it’s being used!
You guys knit some cool stuff. I have seen mittens, scarves, sweaters, hats.
Guillermina: Since I came here I have already finished three scarves. Oddly enough it was my daughter who saw the flyer for the knitting circle as she was passing by one day. She thought it would be nice for us to join, she didn’t know that I used to knit a lot. Since then she is still working on the same scarf she started over the summer. How is your scarf coming along?
It’s coming along... So a short lesson on knitting right now: You were talking about Continental and American style. What’s the difference?
Mary: In the continental style you hold the yarn with your left hand, in the American you hold the yarn on your right.
If you'd like to learn how to knit you can join the Ottendorfer group every Saturday at 2:00 pm, or find another group in your neighborhood. You can find books about knitting in the NYPL catalog.