It’s a warm, late-summer night and people outside are in shorts and T-shirts. Inside a coffee shop, a group of women are already thinking about winter. In fact, they’ve been thinking about it all year, since January.
Members of the Chilliwack Common Threads Knitting Circle are knitting and crocheting up a storm. Their hands and fingers are a blur as they hook and wrap yarn around needles.
Sally Jones is straight knitting four rows, then on the fifth row she wraps the yarn around the needle twice to make the piece look fluffier.
Sheila Hershey is doing a garter stitch on a bias.
Sarah Beaton’s pattern is knit two, knit one back, purl one.
Jeanine D’Addario is crocheting hers.
And Angie McDermid is knitting something called a ‘waffle’ scarf.
Each item is different, and that’s one of the goals of the project.
The women are knitting scarves for the Salvation Army. The project is called Green Heart Warm Heart and the scarves will be given out to those in need during the annual Christmas dinner hosted by the local Sally Ann.
“We want to share our craft, and it’s how we show we care — through our knitting,” says McDermid.
They chose to focus on making scarves because it’s the one of the most basic and easiest articles of clothing to knit. They also want other people in the community to make scarves and donate as well.
“It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be handmade,” says McDermid, adding that they welcome knitters and crocheters of all abilities to join them.
Even Mayor Sharon Gaetz is making one, she adds.
So far, they’ve made and collected about 60 scarves. Ten of those were brought in that evening by one member who says that the woman who made them is visually impaired. She knit all ten scarves in just one month.
The club’s goal is to donate 150 to 160 scarves to the Salvation Army.
“At Christmas, there may be people who are forgotten and we want them to know that they are not forgotten,” says McDermid.
A large, green tub sits on the floor beside the group, overflowing with scarves. They are a rainbow of colours. Some are bright and fluorescent, some are fluffy and soft, others are thick and chunky.
The knitters use words to describe them, like: comforting, warm, cozy, caring, giving, kindness, friendship, hug, and “gemutlich”, which is a German word meaning “pleasant and cheerful.”
Much like the scarves they’re knitting, the members themselves are warm and welcoming. The club has given yarn and needles to people, and they encourage them to take part in Green Heart Warm Heart. After a bit of time, those people do, in fact, return with scarves.
The club has a wide variety of members. It is made up of about 25 people ranging in age from 19 to 64, all with different talents.
“It’s not your grandma’s knitting,” says member Diane Neufeld. “It’s the modern, new-age knitting.”
And she’s right. They make everything from Canucks scarves to bright, multi-coloured sweaters, baby pants to monster dolls, fingerless mittens to cup warmers, and more.
Anyone is welcome to join the club. If you drop in to one of their sessions, they will even teach you how to knit at no charge.
The Chilliwack Common Threads Knitting Circle meets every Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Starbucks at 45800 Promontory Rd.
If you have a handmade scarf that you’d like to donate, you can drop it off during one of their Tuesday meetings, or at one of their four drop-off locations: Chilliwack Wool and Craft Shop (45717 Ontario Ave.), Chilliwack United Church (45835 Spadina Ave.), The Play Room Toy Shop (7592 Vedder Rd.), and Allenby’s Farm and Home Hardware Store (41924 Yarrow Central Rd.).