As part of a Social Enterprise, Wool on the Exe funds projects to promote well-being through knitting. We believe that knitting is beneficial to individuals and communities. Our Community Outreach Coordinator, Nicki, runs our Knit Stop programme that teaches knitting in local schools and sets up accessible knitting groups for adults throughout Exeter.
One of our Knit Stop group participants, Emma, wrote a heart-warming blog post about learning to knit. We enjoyed it so much that we asked if she would like to tell us a little more her Knit Stop experience.
On your blog you talk about how knitting became an almost unexpected hobby after your friend, Nicola convinced you to join a Knit Stop group. Could you tell us a little more about your background with knitting, your ideas about knitting before you started the course, and also what convinced you to give it a go?
If someone had told me a year ago I would be knitting I probably would have fallen about laughing. Actually that was the reaction I got from some of my mates when I told them about my new hobby. I always thought knitting was for older people. Now I’m a knitter.
Earlier this year Nicola asked if I would like to join her next course at The Boatyard Bakery for 6 weeks to knit a cushion. Initially I thought she must have text the wrong person but she assured me it would be fun, laid back and most importantly the tiny human (then 3 months old) was more than welcome. Before this I hadn’t knitted for probably 30+ years when my Nan taught me to knit.
With some free time on a Thursday morning I thought I’d give it a go. Not believing I had it in me to actually produce the goods I liked the idea of catching up with her, supporting her on this course and eating cake/drinking tea in a cafe with company.
What were your initial feelings about the Knit-Stop course; how did you find the location, and the way that the course was run?
When Nicola explained the purpose of the course to me it sounded like a fantastic idea. A great way to draw people together in the community and to try something new to bring out their inner creativity.
The Boatyard cafe is wonderfully accommodating of our little group of knitters and especially so because there were two babies in the group.
Nicola is a fantastically passionate teacher. If I’m honest I was convinced I was going to be rubbish but her calm and patient approach means I’m now the proud owner of a cushion (albeit a bit wonky) and some other knitted goods of my creating. The course is pitched at exactly the right level for beginners. Challenging enough in that you produce something more than just a scarf but not so difficult it puts people off coming.
As the course progressed how did you feel you were benefiting from learning to knit in this way?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with my ‘friends’. We stay in touch via a Facebook group and also continue our weekly meetups. Now that my small human is extremely mobile I don’t get much knitting done during the group, if any!, but I still enjoy meeting up with the girls. Most of my knitting occurs during the evening now but I know if I get stuck I can message Nicola or take it along to the next catch up.
Have you felt like the Knit-Stop course made a difference to you, and if so what were the immediate and longer-term effects?
I’ve found the knitting extremely therapeutic. I still have to think about what I’m doing but I’m also able to switch off and get into the rhythm of repeating a pattern. If I’m feeling a bit edgy or wound up before bedtime, out come the needles. There’s then the satisfaction from the finished product and knowing you’ve created that. There’s also the social side to the group. I’ve also made some great new friends and really look forward to seeing them.
Oh and then there’s the cake!
Your blog post reads like a beautiful journey starting out with some apprehension about knitting and ending with the discovery of new skills. Have you continued knitting and, if so, what is it that has inspired or motivated you to keep knitting?
Yes I have continued knitting. I don’t do it on a daily basis but I have my current project on the table in the lounge and pick it up in the evening. Nicola gave me a pattern for a cardigan when Chloe was 3-6 months old. I knitted it in a size 6-12 months. Good job because it took me a while and at the rate she’s growing she only just fits into it. I won’t take all the credit for it though as it was an ambitious project and Nicola helped me out sewing the sections together. I’m currently knitting a scarf and another cushion for my mum.
I keep knitting because it’s therapeutic, satisfying and you end up with a beautiful tangible knitted something.
Thank you so much to Emma for agreeing to share her story here and for use of her beautiful photos.
You can find Emma's blog here: lightboxblogger.co.uk
For more information about our Knit Stop programme see our website here: theknitstop.co.uk
Thank you also to all our customers who help us to fund this work when they choose to shop with Wool on the Exe!