By Barbara Knowles
COVINGTON -- For the second year in a row, Covington Knitters is joining crafters throughout the world Saturday and hosting Worldwide Knit in Public Day on the Square.
There promises to be a contingency for folks just sittin' and knittin' under the shade of the magnolia trees from 10 a.m. to noon, enjoying their craft and the fellowship of like-minded individuals. And if knitting is not your thing, bring your crochet hooks, counted cross stitch or whatever type of handwork that turns you on and join the crowd.
"The event is for any and everybody," said Ann Wood, founder of Covington Knitters.
"Our group is also open to crocheters, and we have a number of members who do both. Worldwide Knit in Public Day is for any fiber artist who would be interested or people who are just curious."
Wood pointed out that knitting is usually conducted in the privacy of a living room or den, and until recently there was very little chance of getting feedback on projects, sharing tips and meeting others who love the craft.
Now there are Web sites, blogs and groups like Covington Knitters that share the hobby.
Worldwide Knit in Public Day, or WWKIP, was founded in 2005 by Danielle Landes of St. Louis. She said the inspiration came from the fact that most people knit alone.
"Knitting is such a solitary act that it's easy to knit alone somewhere and sink into your work without thinking about all the other knitters out there," Landes said in a printed press release. "This is a specific day to get out of your house and go to a local event (with your knitting in tow) just for you and people like you ... (It's a way of) getting all of the closeted knitters out into fresh air.
And those "closet knitters" will be knitting everywhere from the U.S. to England to Australia to China to South Africa and everywhere in between.
Since its inception with 25 local events around the world, WWKIP has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year there were more than 750 informal events just like the one held in Covington. Knitters simply bring a comfortable chair, their needles and a hank of yarn and knit ... in public.
Wood began Covington Knitters in December 2007 at Town Center Breads Coffee House in Clark's Grove (off Clark Street near Turner Lake Road) courtesy of owner Linda Skrobot.
"I just came and sat with my knitting," Wood recalled. "People started coming in January. It's sort of like that thing, 'Build it and they will come.' We just came on Saturday mornings and knitted and people joined us."
Now, a typical Saturday morning sees anywhere from six to 16 knitters who drop by to knit and chat over a cup of coffee and maybe a scone or muffin.
The group swaps patterns and ideas, solves knitting conundrums, donates some of their wares to charities, and talks about the best places to buy yarn. But one of their most important functions is simply sharing the joy of knitting.
Town Center Breads Coffee House is located at 4171 Raphael St. in Clark's Grove. The group meets from 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday and knitters are invited to drop in and share their craft. Adults only. No children, please. For a map to the coffee shop, go to www.towncenterbreads.com.