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East County Thursday, Jun. 11, 2009 8 years ago

Knitters plan public performance

by: Pam McTeer

LAKEWOOD RANCH — It’s not out of the ordinary for Valerie Strange and Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club resident Sally Waldo to meet at a coffee shop and pull out their yarn and knitting needles as they chat over coffee.

But the ladies may be turning heads at their next meeting. The women will be knitting in the lobby of Lakewood Ranch Cinemas during World Wide Knit in Public Day June 13.

“It’s a matter of sharing,” Strange said. “Knitting is an isolated solitary activity. This is a way for people to get together and share.

“This is like comfort food,” she said. “It reminds people of a good time in life. And, it’s art. You’d be surprised how many people knit or want to.”

The event will last from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive, Lakewood Ranch. The women will be knitting for the public to see as well as showing off some of the pieces they have made. Knitters of any age and skill level are welcome to join them.

Some of the participating knitters have enjoyed the hobby for their entire lives. Others, like both Strange and Waldo, learned at an early age but abandoned the craft until years later.

Although the popularity of knitting has waned since its peak in 2002-2003, the craft is still popular. The creation of a Web site called has spurred the excitement for knitting and crocheting, allowing crafters across the world to connect with each other about knitting related topics, among other things.

Two weeks ago, Waldo and Strange formed a knitters group in Bradenton through, and more than 30 individuals already have joined.

As a former yarn store owner, Strange also said the variety of yarns available for knitting has changed, particularly in the last 10 years. In addition to wool, cotton and acrylic, stores now offer novelty yarns and sustainable yarns made from resources such as corn, soybean and bamboo.

“You can knit something that costs two to three times more than it would if you bought it,” Strange said. “But it’s more of the journey. You end up with things that you created with your own hands. People find a part of themselves in it. It brings out your creativity.”

For those who say knitting is too difficult, the women say it’s a craft anyone can do. The key is to know your first piece of work will not look right and to find which knitting technique is best for you.

World Wide Knit in Public Day started in 2005 at the hand of Danielle Landes. The event sought to give knitters a chance to meet together and spend time with one another because knitting tends to be a solitary activity.

The event has grown from 25 events worldwide in 2005 to more than 200 in 2007. It occurs the second Saturday of June each year.

Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].

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