GREENVILLE – Skeins of brightly-colored yarn decorate a table at the Greenville Public Library (GPL).
The Knitters Group meets there twice a month. The members are Jane Agne, Janet Wenning, Vicki Byram, Jan Fitzgerald, Mary Ebey and Betty Miller, who share about 400 years of experience between them. Knitting has long been a part of their lives. Most commonly it came in through their mothers.
Byram’s mother was Maxine Katzenberger, who owned the Yarn Dome, in Greenville. Later, Byram took over the business for several years. They sold supplies and taught knitting lessons. She and her sister attended about 10 yarn shows each year, showing casing their patterns and designs.
“We went to some big shows in Philadelphia and Atlantic City,” she said.
Agne was a student of Katzenberger. Her sister-in-law took knitting lessons, and Agne thought it looked like fun.
“I had just gotten my driver’s license and my dad allowed me to borrow the car to go to the Yarn Dome, as long as I took my little sister with me,” she said.
Agne’s mother, Jean McGlinch, taught her how to crochet. Agne also quilts and embroiders. She has returned the favor by teaching her granddaughter and some Versailles High School students to knit, where she was a teacher.
“Several of the students saw me knitting socks and they wanted to learn how to knit,” she said. “I gave them passes and they came down to my room during free time. I even taught one of their mother’s how to knit.”
Wenning’s mother was Barbara Westfall. Maxine Katzenberger and Westfall were friends.
“My mom would go to Maxine and they would sit around the table just like this and knit,” she said. “My mom entered the fair and a couple times her work was sent to New York to be judged. She usually won first prize at the fair. Way back when, I knitted a mohair sweater and I entered it in the fair and mom entered her’s too. Someone wrote a little story about it – I still have the picture. She left me some nice memories.”
In addition to learning the craft and creating things, knitting can be beneficial to one’s health. Agne said it is the sound of the clicking of the needles and the repetition that is calming. Wenning sits down after supper and knits.
“I love loves the the feel of the yarn and seeing the colors,” she said.
With all of the positives, knitting supplies are pretty expensive, according to Byram.
“But $10 worth of yarn goes a lot further than $10 worth of bowling,” she said.
She is knitting a shawl for a friend who makes hand-died yarn at $25 a skein. There are some projects that are too difficult to work on during conversation and are kept at home.
“But we all enjoy coming together – it’s the comradery ,” Byram said. “I have my idiot knitting and I have my complicated knitting. It’s good for your blood pressure.”
The Knitters Group always seeks new members. It meets the first and third Tuesdays from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Greenville Public Library. This is a helping group, but not a teaching group. For more information, visit www.greenville-publiclibrary.org