These Leasiders are knitting pretty

These Leasiders are knitting pretty. Photo Anna Carr.
These Leasiders are knitting pretty. Photo Anna Carr.

The knitters at the Leaside Library are a faithful bunch. (Full disclosure: I’m one of the faithful.) We even managed to stay together, thanks to Zoom, during the various Covid lockdowns. 

There have long been book groups based in libraries, but about nine years ago, the Leaside Library set about to see what other types of groups might enjoy meeting in the community room, under the supervision of a library staffer. Knitting turned out to be a winner. Zoe, our current staffer, is the latest to learn to knit on her Thursday morning shift with us. Floro, one of her predecessors, after learning to knit, was making cushion covers with a variety of fancy stitches, and then branched out into crocheting hats for his wife and friends. He’d show up each week with another marvellous creation for all to ooh and aah.

Meet the knitters

Ida, one of the originals in the group, can be counted on to have a pair of socks on the go. Not just any socks, mind you, but ones with a hard-wearing double sole in a technique she’s perfected. But on a break from socks, she’s tackled projects as diverse as a Christmas stocking with a zillion (no exaggeration) little pieces to embroider, a knit cowl with a seven-page pattern and a quite-large tea cozy in the form of a tennis player, complete with wobbly racquet.

Raila is also a sock-knitter, using a pattern in her head so she can chat at the same time, and knitting like wild fire in the continental (left-handed) style. Mila is another quick continental knitter, who is determined to show the rest of us how easy it is – but that’s only the case if it’s the way you were originally taught.

And then there’s Cathy and her beagles! She loves beagles. Understatement. Right now, she’s waiting for a time when she’s bored as well as motivated – as something went wrong with the beagle stuffed toy she was trying to make. So, she’s switched over to a pillow cover, with, of course, a beagle face.

When you’re a knitter, you also inevitably acquire a “stash” – all the balls of yarn you thought were going to turn into something, but didn’t, or the leftovers from that item you actually did make. Jane had acquired a synthetic Phentex yarn, in a particularly drab grey, and was determined to use it up. Success after many weeks, but the finished product did cry out for the addition of a pink flower as decoration.

This past week, there was a crochet cellphone case, a shawl, three sweaters, four hats, a headband, and a sock in production, along with an intense discussion of how exactly to do “Judy’s magic cast-on,” with at least four participants.

Lately we’ve seen a spate of baby sweaters in different colours and designs. These, along with assorted hats, scarves and mitts, will be donated to charity before the end of the year. Sometimes, the joy of knitting is enough – and you don’t need to know who the recipient will be.

All are welcome – whether for a few weeks, like Agnes from France, on a gap year and working here as an urban gardener, so she has no time for daytime knitting – or as an occasional knitter. You can find us on Thursday mornings, all year long, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Leaside Library where we’ll be knitting pretty.

About Lorna Krawchuk 179 Articles
Lorna Krawchuk is publisher of Leaside Life. She is actively involved in St. Cuthbert’s Church. Her volunteer activities with the Leaside Property Owners’ Association led to her being elected a Councillor in the Borough of East York for 9 years before amalgamation in 1998. She also held a variety of volunteer leadership positions with the Girl Guides of Canada for over 30 years. Lorna has been a Leasider since 1968.