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Knit and natter at the local Knit4Charities group meeting

Are you a nifty knitter or an avid crafter? Well, there’s probably a crafting group in your area just waiting for you to come along.

I myself am a dedicated quilter, but my crafting social circle is limited to just my mum. However, having reached out to the ladies at Knit4Charities, I was invited to come along to one of their meetings in my local area.

NowUC has published another article on Knit4Charities, for readers who are interested in learning more about the specific work they do within the community.

The meetings occur twice a month, each time in the Southern Cross Club Jamison, from 10 am to 12 pm.

Arriving at 10 am on the dot, I was greeted by the lovely receptionist at the club, who adamantly believed I couldn’t have been older than sixteen. Luckily, thanks to my ‘baby face’, I am always prepared to whip out my ID and prove that I am in fact, an adult.

As I am not a member of this particular club, it was necessary to page the group leader over the PA system, which made me feel even more like a child lost in the grocery store.

All in all, it was an interesting and quite funny way to start the morning, definitely removing some of the nerves I had going into the meeting.

I was then greeted by the group’s leader, Lesley, who welcomed and guided me to a table full of lovely, older women.

I was introduced to Dawn, Di, Dorothy, Keely, Susanne, and Sharon, each with their own projects and knitting needles laid out in front of them on our long, cafe table.

The meetings occur in the bistro of the club, the ladies having a standing reservation every 2-weeks for the ten members of the group, though a few were absent this week around.

Settling in, I was shown some of the projects being worked on.

Keely was in the process of finishing a large, intricate white blanket that had been donated with only a quarter of it having been made. When it was shown to me, she only had about a quarter left to go.

Another lady, who is fond of knitting and crocheting detailed plush toys, brought along two of her creations. One was an adorable puppy dog, and the other was a colourful parrot. Both of which seemed extremely complex to make, and were described fondly as ‘fiddly’.

From my experience as a volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Canberra, many of the toys we receive from Knit4Charities are creative and detailed, each being unique. They definitely go a long way to cheering up the families in the house, as well as sick children on the wards.

There were many projects going on around me, like bird nests, animal pouches for ACT Wildlife, and clothes for babies for charities like RMHC and Roundabout Canberra.

What really caught my attention was the social aspect of the meeting. The members would move around the table, helping each other with their projects, and offering suggestions.

One member had even brought along two magazines she had purchased for another member, featuring designs and ideas for crafting plush toys out of yarn and wool.

Having spoken to the Knit4Charities ladies, they all agreed that the group challenged them to attempt things they’d never tried before and how they encouraged and taught each other.

Susanne herself joined the group in 2009 and had never knitted a beanie before then. However, after learning from her companions, she now often and eagerly crafts them for local charities.

The group is heavily based on sharing. They shared their patterns, their project ideas, their supplies, and even discussed specials for yarn and wool at local craft hotspots like Spotlight and Lincraft.

But, the natter wasn’t always about crafts or the like, in fact, the ladies often brought up topical issues throughout the 2-hour session and I found myself heavily engaged in discussions about the housing market and tax concerns.

Despite the group members all being pensioners, they were deeply aware and concerned with the current economic situation in Australia, as most of them were worried for their children and grandchildren who are currently having to navigate the growing housing crisis.

As the members are retired, they don’t have day-to-day interactions with work colleagues, so the groups definitely fill that void.

A more heartbreaking aspect that was mentioned, is that some of the members are widowed, in this group and in other circles, and can no longer get their social fix in their home lives.

The group offers a social haven for them and gives them a space to be creative, discuss topical issues, and form deep friendships.

Knit4Charities means that the members are able to do and craft the things they want to, but now have a purpose to do so that is worth it.

The variety of charities that are helped by Knit4Charities allows for each member to find something they are interested in creating, whether it be a known favourite or something new and challenging.

The group hadn’t been what I expected when I first thought of attending a knitting meeting, having pictured a table of little old ladies knitting away, discussing mundane day-to-day things. But, this was not the case.

The group had a strong social aspect, and members claimed the Knit4Charities group ‘enhanced the experience of everyday knitting’. And I completely agree.

Having gone to just one meeting, I can honestly say I would be interested in going back, and possibly bringing my own projects with me.

Potential members are invited to reach out via the Knit4Charities website if interested in joining the organisation within a group or as a solo crafter.

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