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East County Wednesday, Apr. 7, 2021 1 week ago

A common thread in Lakewood Ranch

Shared interest makes for a close-knit group at the Greenbrook Adventure Park.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

Lake Club’s Kathy Wright hadn’t knitted in 10 years until she saw on Nextdoor that a group of East County women were meeting to knit.

On April 1, she grabbed her yarn, needles, a folding chair and other supplies and drove to Greenbrook Adventure Park.

As she entered the pavilion, she saw six women joyously chatting away. 

She saw Lake Club’s Jo Jadin admiring an afghan blanket Lakewood National’s Nancy Skibinski was in the process of knitting while Silverwood’s Sarah Montemarano chatted with Lake Club’s Laurie Riehm about the projects they were working on at the time.

The women are part of a group called the Common Thread that Jadin created a month ago because she missed having a knitting group like she did when she lived in Wisconsin. She would meet with friends at a coffee shop to knit.

Country Club East's Shelly Hopkins uses her giant knitting needles to knit her large projects such as afghan blankets.

Jadin posted on Nextdoor and was surprised to see dozens of women saying they would be willing to meet.

“I was thrilled to get that kind of response,” Jadin said.

So at the beginning of March, Jadin invited women to her home to start knitting, and 16 people showed up.

Due to the large group, Montemarano suggested moving to the park.

The club has been a place for people to share their patterns for different projects.

Riehm had made an intricately knit, cream-colored shawl that caught Jadin’s eye, so Riehm shared the pattern with Jadin. Ten days later, Jadin had her own blue-gray shawl.

The knitters can also share tricks and tips to help one another on whatever project they’re working on at the time, whether it be a sweater, shawl, afghan blanket or pillow cover.

Lake Club's Jo Jadin shows the group the sweater she finished for her 5-year-old granddaughter.

University Park’s Laurie Roshfeld learned how to sew a sweater from the neck down rather than her usual strategy of knitting from the waist up.

The group has bonded over the fact that all of them have moved to Florida within the past 11 years.

“Moving to a new area, you don’t know anybody, so it’s nice to have a group like this to form friendships with people,” said Shelly Hopkins, who lives in Country Club East and moved to the area two years ago.

Skibinski, who is from Naperville, Illinois, was surprised to find out Riehm was from St. Charles, Illinois. The two suburbs of Illinois are about 30 minutes away from each other.

Riehm said coming to the group every week “feels like coming home.”

Montemarano agreed.

University Park's Laurie Roshfled is knitting a sweater in a method she has never tried before. She's knitting the sweater from the neck down when she usually works from the waist up.

“It feels like we’re all old friends even though they’re new,” Montemarano said.

Montemarano moved to Lakewood Ranch in October 2020 and wanted to find someone to help her with her knitting. She posted in Nextdoor, where Jadin found her and mentioned the knitting group.

“I said I need someone who can pick up my dropped stitches,” Montemarano said. “When I moved here, I had mahjong and pickleball set up. The only thing missing was knitting.”

Eagle Trace’s Cindy Wasko went to the knitting group for the first time April 1.  Wasko told the group she’s interested in making small projects as she pulled a small fluffy purple bunny from her bag.

“I’m into little things,” Wasko said.

East County's (back) Nancy Skibinski, Shelly Hopkins, Cindy Wasko, Laurie Riehn, (front) Jo Jadin, Laurie Rosfeld, Kathy Wright and Sarah Montemarano gather at Greenbrook Adventure Park to knit while socializing.


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