Women knit together over yarn and a beer

Keen knitters and crocheters stitched in unison and watched the world go by from the veranda of the Harbour View Hotel recently to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day – and demonstrate the old-fashioned handicraft has made quite a comeback.

Spare yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks were on hand for any who felt inclined to join the group of 10 or so women as they chatted and stitched together over the odd drink, their colourful rugs draped over the veranda railings for all to see.

Children’s beanies were also given away to parents passing by with toddlers and babies. They’d been handmade by local enthusiast Anne Carter, who rallied fellow Raglan crafters to celebrate an annual day that’s the largest knitter-run event in the world.

The event – held on the second Saturday of each June with the aim of making knitting more of a community activity – has grown to include 40-odd countries from the Antipodes to Venezuela since first being organised back in 2005.

In Raglan it brought women from the town’s long-established knitting circle and the newly formed crafters and hobby group together in a public setting. 

Both groups also pooled their talents earlier this year to knit and crochet about 25 knee rugs for residents of Raglan Rest Home and Hospital in Manukau Rd.

The project got a “phenomenal response”, says a proud Sue Webber, a volunteer worker at the rest home. 

She came to live in Raglan last year, and not only got involved in the knitting circle – which has been meeting weekly in the daytime for 18 years now – but also started up the crafters and hobby group which meets in the evenings for those who work during the day.

While women knit and crochet together at the knitting circle, everything from doll-making and  paper-making to macrame and quilting is tackled at the evening group.

Both lots of enthusiasts – and others in the community – got behind the rug-making project, she says, working individually at home and at meetings.  The wool had been donated to the rest home. 

Sue says she simply saw a need and everyone got behind her. 

“I can’t take all the credit (for the project),” she laughs. “It was a real community effort.”

Edith Symes

*Raglan Knitting Circle meets every Wednesday at Orca, 9am-12pm.

*Raglan Crafters and Hobby Group meets at Orca the second and fourth Mondays every month, 6.30-8.30pm.