Unwinding with some wool

By Rhonda Dredge

When you go to a Stitch & Bitch session you’re known by the patterns you choose to knit but it’s the stories that you hear that make their mark.

There’s no use being modest about your choice of pattern or too philosophical about what keeps you going on a project. 

“This is your chance to be egotistical,” says Fiona, at the regular Thursday group meet in Collins St. 

Knitters don’t bother to introduce themselves. One lady has a round needle and her jumper is beginning at the neck. She’s a confident knitter with an eagle eye on the work of others.

“They’ll teach you, if you’re stuck making things in an old-fashioned way with back, sides and sleeves,” she said.

Four people are knitting and the conversation focuses on hair dyes then settles on tattoos. Knuckles are prominent in a knitting circle and they capture the attention of the group. What better place for a tattoo? 

A knitter with mauve hair has a tattoo of a cup on one knuckle but is sick of people asking for a coffee so she’s getting a tattoo of a teapot on an adjacent one so there are no more mistakes. 

Knitting is part of her identity as well and friends are beneficiaries of the garments that come off her needles. 

She shares a picture of a recipient who looks like a young Philip Seymour Hoffman wearing an oversized camel jumper. 

This jumper is legendary in knitting circles. When she first started, she couldn’t be bothered decreasing for the sleeves.

“She had to unpick them,” said the confident knitter. “They looked like bat wings.”

Craig Burnett is sitting quietly at the table listening. He used to be an astrophysicist. Now he works in Morris & Sons wool shop teaching crochet and likes to stay for the Stitch & Bitch session if he doesn’t have anything on after work. 

“A friend taught me at uni,” he told CBD News. “He was doing math and I was doing physics. He thought knitting would appeal to me.” 

Complex patterns require thinking power but colours define knitters. Craig said he was worried that he was in love with the model for his pomegranate jumper.

The bat wing lady girl is going for a muted green for a quick-fix shawl and the confident knitter has multi-hued wool dominated by a vibrant watermelon.

A new knitting project is a pleasure, but the danger is that it could become duty. Those long stretches between band and armhole can be tiring. Perhaps pledges could be made between meetings.

“No way,” said Fiona, who intervenes to keep the pleasure of knitting culture alive.

Stitch & Bitch, Thursdays 5-7 pm, Morris & Sons, Collins St

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