Knitting together a new social fabric

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2013
Knitting group
KIRK HARGREAVES/FAIRFAX NZ
A STITCH IN TIME: Librarian Claire Brocklehurst has discovered a sense of achievement when attending her knitting group.

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Hollywood star Ryan Gosling thinks it's the perfect way to relax and mums and grandmas have done it for generations.

Knitting is enjoying a renaissance in Christchurch and around the world, and knitting circles could become the new book clubs.

Avid knitter Christchurch Polytech librarian Claire Brocklehurst is running knitting sessions in the CPIT library this week, in conjunction with World Wide Knit in Public Day, to bring together long-time needle experts and to introduce others to the craft.

"People will be able to learn to knit from books, websites, and each other," she says.

"We're knitting both our own things and winter woollies for less-advantaged children [scarves, beanies, and slippers] for KidsCan."

"Knitting, as an art form or a craft, is easy for people with little training or experience to make something that you can use or wear or display as an artwork, unlike a lot of other arts where you need some sort of artistic ability."

Brocklehurst has been knitting since she was about seven years old, following her mother and both her grandmothers who were all keen knitters.

Much like book clubs, knitting circles bring people together with a common interest.

Brocklehurst goes to a weekly knitting group she formed with friends she met in university back in 2005 or 2006. Some of the members have moved overseas but sometimes they "attend" meetings via Skype. "It's a chance for us to socialise and it's the social cohesion as much as knitting in many cases," she says.

"[Apart from knitting], we have food. Most of us like to bake so we share baking. On occasion we watch a movie or a TV show that we're all interested in."

Knitting is a great way to de-stress after a tough day, she says.

"Personally, I find it gives me a sense of achievement. There are those days when nothing's gone right at work, but you can sit down and knit a couple of rows and you've achieved something."

Brocklehurst's house is full of half-finished knitting projects.

"I will not be terribly dedicated to [a project]. I knit other things in the meantime. The thrill is in starting something. Once you've started it's like, ‘OK, I've tried this now and it's not fun any more'.

"Socks and gloves and sleeves are the worst because you have to knit two of them. The second sock is always a struggle." Her hobby has provided her with plenty of warm socks for winter, and this time of year is always great for starting new projects.

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