VENTNOR – Knit one, purl two. It’s been 26 years since the Jersey Shore Knitting Guild started sharing their skills to help others.
The 26th annual Knit Out was held Saturday, March 9 at the Ventnor branch of the Atlantic County Library on Atlantic Avenue. About 30 women showed up to knit hats, gloves, scarves and lap robes for those who need some warmth.
Co-presidents Liz Slater of Ventnor and Beverly Bromley of Atlantic City were busy arranging dozens of the knitters’ handiwork on one table, while door prizes, consisting of donated knitting items, were being handed off as raffle ticket numbers were drawn.
“We are working on hats, mittens and scarves today,” Slater said. “They will be donated to schools in the Atlantic City and Pleasantville areas and to nursing facilities at Meadowview and AtlantiCare.”
One of the beneficiaries is Linda’s Hats for Hope Initiative of South Jersey, which is located at the United Methodist Church on Pitney Road in Absecon. The organization also makes and collects hats for the homeless.
Guild members usually meet in February for the knitting and crocheting marathon.
“We might change it next year to October so the people can have them for the winter season,” Bromley said.
The women, and a few children, sat around a long table set with cookies. Jackie Reese of Ocean City was spinning yarn using black and brown alpaca wool that was carded for spinning. She will later use the yarn to make something toasty warm for the wearer.
Carol Waters of Margate is a regular member of the guild.
“This is therapy for me. And I’m doing a good deed helping people who need hats,” she said.
Leslie Elero of Galloway Township was using a circular loom that reminded older members of their youthful days making yards and yards of knitted rope they would use to make placemats and table runners.
“I made tons of those little cords when I was a child,” she said. “Now, I use this larger loom to make hats, scarves and even slippers.”
Nine-year-old Lilith Myers of Linwood attended the knit out with her older sister Alyn and mom Catherine for the first time.
“I started knitting when I was 8,” she said as she fashioned necklaces for her friends using a technique she called “thumb knitting.”
The necklaces were composed of a single row of casting with ties in the back.
Now a teenager, Alyn said she learned to knit when she was her sister’s age and practices her skills on and off over the years. On Saturday she started knitting a new scarf that when completed she will give to her mom to bring to the guild for the next Knit Out event.
Slater said the women will deliver their handiwork this week, and any leftover yarn will be donated to the ARC Thrift Store on Ventnor Avenue.
The guild meets at the Ventnor Community Center 7-9 p.m. on the first Thursday every month. The meeting usually includes a speaker, she said.
“The next meeting in April, we will have several learning stations, where our knitters can learn specific techniques and skills, such as how to make granny squares, different cast-on methods, cable stitching, etc.,” Slater said. “We will also have Dr. Knit, where problems can be solved.”
The guild attracts knitters from around the region and some come from as far away as western Atlantic County. They come not only for the skill-building, but for the camaraderie.
The guild also has several sub-groups that meet regularly.
There’s one group that meets at the Ventnor Library 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday, and another that meets at Margate’s Bloom Pavilion 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays. Occasionally, students in the Knitting Club at the Margate public schools visit the knitters for lunch and learn.
Yet another sub-group meets at Yanni’s Cafe in the Ocean City Aquatics and Fitness Center 2:30 p.m. on Fridays.
To join or for information, see Jersey Shore Kitting Guild on Facebook.