Knitters take needles out in public

Vivian Ortiz knits a hat for a friend Saturday at the local celebration of World Wide Knit in Public Day at the Mesa County Public Library’s central branch in downtown Grand Junction. About 16 knitters displayed their skills with needles and yarn at the vet.

Knitting can be a solitary pursuit, a knit-and-purl reverie generally done at home with the accompaniment of one’s own thoughts. Perhaps the reasoning is that a knitter is less likely to drop a stitch or botch a pattern without the distraction of conversation.

But here’s the thing: Stitches get dropped. Despite best intentions and laser concentration, it’s possible to glance back 15 rows and see that awful hole. And want to cry. And ponder throwing the dreadful thing across the room.

In that situation, the company of other knitters is a blessing. Only they would understand.

So, the knitters brought their knitting to the front lawn of the central Mesa County Public Library on Saturday morning to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day.

They brought bags bursting with a rainbow of yarn, a selection of needles and an hour or three to sit and knit.

“There’s a big local knitting community,” said Jennifer Murrell, a librarian with the Mesa County Public Library who organized the local World Wide Knit in Public Day. “So, I thought we could set this up and give knitters a chance to meet each other.”

Carrie Fleming brought soft ecru yarn to knit a tiny hat to donate to St. Mary’s Hospital’s neonatal unit.

“Knitters are nice people,” she said. “They’re productive people, and they’re helpful.”

She took up knitting when she was a teenager and even knit a sweater for a boyfriend in college. He broke up with her soon thereafter, which she can laugh about now.

“What is it they say?” she said. “Don’t knit something for a man until you have a ring on your finger.”

About 10 years ago, she took it up again and now works one day a week at Tangle in downtown Grand Junction to support her yarn habit.

She knits sweaters and hats for grandbabies, and Saturday she wore a vibrant scarf she had made. She knits on road trips to make the time go faster.

Vivian Ortiz of Grand Junction knits for relaxation. Saturday, she worked on a hat in shades of purple that will, when she’s done, be topped with two ears.

She’s making it for a friend, and inventing the pattern as she goes.

Sitting next to her, Mary Vaughn also invented a pattern for a strawberry-themed baby hat and cocoon.

“It takes a lot of math,” she said, scrutinizing her equation-like calculations. “You have to know what your gauge is, factor in the size of your needles.”

It is, she said, all part of the fun. And coming together as knitters and other fiber-arts enthusiasts is a particular joy, she said, finding friendship and support in what can become an old-fashioned knitting bee.

Because only another knitter can understand not only the frustration of a dropped stitch, but, more importantly, the joy of a beautiful finished project.


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