Photo: Meg Huff
Knitting circles, a pursuit once deemed as being for grannies has been given a new lease of life thanks to a group of local women. Twice a month, Walthamstow Knitters take over a quiet corner of The Bell pub, and convert this lively venue into a knitted paradise.
It really is like a scene from the Winona Ryder film ‘How To Make An American Quilt’. A small group of women, all huddle around a table, bags of wool spilling out everywhere, and compare their life stories, whilst effortlessly creating knitted masterpieces. Someone is trying to console the other’s broken heart, and there is always a story about so and so’s daughter off in some far flung corner of the country studying bio mechanics or another equally intense degree. However, despite this, there is a real feeling of heritage in what is going on. The handing down of skills and the idea that these women are responsible for helping keep craft alive is an incredibly heart warming feeling.
“Bringing people together through knitting is just incredible.” says Debbie Bliss, a local knitwear designer. “It is a way for people to switch off and there is something nice about knowing the provenance of an item- you know where it has been made and you know no one else owns it.”
Knitting has been a social hobby since the 3rd century, arriving in Europe in the 1200’s. During The Great Depression, women turned to knitting out of necessity, making knitting groups even more popular. Today Walthamstow is home to a range of knitting groups to suit every ability, earning itself the name Woolthamstow amongst knitting enthusiasts.
Here is a selection of knitting groups that take place across the town. Let us know which social knitwork you prefer
This friendly and low key knitting circle meets at The Bell, Forest Road on the first and third Wednesday of the month. Run by two women, Larissa and Emma, the group welcomes people of all ages and skill set.
This knitting and crochet club held at The Mill on Coppermill Lane every Friday at 10am-12pm and every Wednesday 6.30pm-8pm is an all levels knitting group. Bring along a project you are working on or try your hand at producing something for Age UK, a charity the knitters work closely with.
This creative meet up is hosted by the Hornbeam Café. The class takes place every Thursday between 2pm-5pm and there is no need to book in advance. Just bring your needles and wool and enjoy the friendly and relaxed atmosphere. If you are a beginner, make your knitting experience even sweeter by sampling their delicious selection of cakes if things get to tangled.
Featured Image: Stephalicious
Words: Grace Molan