Knitting attracts different crowd

Forget the mental picture of granny sitting in her rocking chair knitting the hours away by herself. Knitters have now crossed the age and sex divide, and according to Kristin Ledgett, the co-owner of The Knit Café, more and more people are doing it as a group.

“I think what has made knitting so appealing now, more than ever is the community vibe that has been injected into it.” Ledgett says.

Knitting enthusiasts in the city don’t have to look very hard to find this community. As with several other newly established knitting venues, The Knit Café boats a relaxing atmosphere for knitters desiring social time, and also provides lessons for those looking to hone their skills.

“We have all types of people with all levels of skill coming here,” Ledgett says. “I even have people coming here that are new to the city and want to meet new people.”

Ledgett runs a program run every Tuesday at the Knit Café called "Stitch and Bitch", billed as a night of chit-chat and knitting. The weekly get together attracts many newcomers to the city.

“I think they enjoy stitch-and-bitch night so much because it is a core group of people they can hang-out with once a week.” Ledgett says.

The ultimate calm

Jessica Horsburgh, fourth-year Ryerson student, said although the social aspects of knitting may entice many into picking up the hobby, she finds the soothing qualities of it just as beneficial. “Knitting could be that ultimate calming, and centering activity.” she says.

Horsburgh said she first discovered knitting through her peers, many of whom knit during classes. As a result, she recently became inspired to do the same.

“I like the repetitive hand movements,” Horsburgh says. “It’s not like you zone in on the knitting; it becomes something that just happens in the background.”

Being a novice knitter, Horsburgh decided to check on-line to see where she could find the tools and guidance she needed. When she saw the Knit Café’s website, she wanted to pay a visit right away.

“I really like the atmosphere; it seemed like a friendly kind of experience so I figured I would start here.” Horsburgh says.

Appealing to the masses

Ledgett says since opening The Knit Café two years ago, she has noticed that 20-something females such as Horsburgh generally make up 95% of the clientele. However, Ledgett says she witnesses more and more men wanting to learn to knit also.

“I have young men coming in wanting to knit something for their girlfriends,” Ledgett says. “But I also have men just wanting to learn how to knit for their own enjoyment.”

Of course, Ledgett sayss older people visit The Knit Café as well. Ledgett says she especially appreciates seeing the older generations share expertise with younger knitters. “Sometimes we’ll see three generations in here knitting,” Ledgett says. “It’s really nice to see people carrying on the tradition together.”

Practice makes perfect

Ledgett says learning to knit simply means a lot of practice because of the repetitive nature. However, she said some people catch on more quickly than others.

“Some people just have that natural aptitude for it, others don’t.”

Apparently age has nothing to do with skill either. Ledgett says she has seen children who pick up knitting with speed, and adults that sometimes struggle and take a while before catching on.

However, Ledgett points out that knit venues such as the Knit Cafe don’t ask for a perfect finished product, only that knitters enjoy themselves.