When I shared with a fellow Board member that I knit, she immediately invited me to join the Thomas Memorial Library knitters’ group that meets every Monday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the library.
“I would love to come”, I replied; and I would have loved to attend, but I feared that my knitting skills were not good enough to allow me to sit with a group of experienced knitters. So for three months, I continued to knit at home alone pulling out stitches, trying to find drop loops and regretting that what tangled from the left and right needles looked nothing like the pattern on the page.
Finally on a cold Monday in January, I decided to join the group and see how good knitters knit! As I walked into the room, clutched in my hands was my best effort to date. I knew I could proudly share what I had accomplished over my months of struggles, but I also knew that I could not knit in a group. As I sat down, I marveled as beautiful socks, sweaters, and penguin hats came to life around the table. As the needles clicked so did the voices of the women. I sat in my chair, needles poised, yarn wrapped around my left finger and listened to tales of winter illness, searches for new homes, and the explanation of “paper streets”. I found out the best place to browse for beautiful yarns or where to get a great cup of coffee.
Everyone asked about my knitting project and was truly interested in the block-by-block afghan that I was creating one square at a time. No one seemed to notice that I only was able to knit two rows in the three hours I sat with them because I needed to recite the stitches in my head ‘pick up the yarn, yarn over, draw through, slip off the needle.’ I marveled as they were able to talk and knit never missing a stitch.
Suddenly it was time to go, and I realized that this group was not about the quantity of knitting; it was about the cables of community. Here on a cold January day, a group of knitters came together to check in on each other. They shared stories, caught up on the news, and encourage each others’ projects. It did not matter if you had been coming for years or a new drop-in member.
Yes, I would have gotten more knitting done at home, but what I received, sitting with these women, was worth more than the extra rows completed for a blanket. It reminded me that public libraries offer more than books, videos, lectures; they offer community and friendship. This is not something you can find alone at home. My afghan when done will keep my family warm, but it will also remind me of stories, laughs and friendships. I encourage all knitters to come join this group who are weaving more than strands of colorful yarns. They are spinning their stories and inviting others to join the community of Thomas Memorial Library.
By Mary Capobianco
The knitting group is only one of the many small groups that encourage dialogue and builds a stronger feeling of community at Cape Elizabeth, The others include two book clubs, the Democracy Cafe discussion group, Writer’s Accountability Group, Senior Tech Time and lecture series. Check the TML website for more interesting opportunities.