We’re kicking off our first 2017 knitting group feature with a bunch of knitting-fanatics in south-east North America.
So far we’ve featured three knitting groups; beginning in Ireland with I’ve Got Knits, we then crossed the Equator to Malawi with Jeanie and last month saw us catching up with the Scottish students of Aberdeen University. For our fourth knitting group feature we thought it was time to head across the pond and hear from some avid American crafters.
As Super Bowl Sunday of 1993 approached four neighbours decided to get together to combined their two hobbies of American football and knitting and haven’t looked back since. It was January 31st 1993 when Stitch and Bitch Damascus MD was born. Beginning with the tight-knit four Kunni, Terri, Debbie and Mary they stitched and hooked along to the annual championship of the National Football League. Having had so much fun the ladies decided to meet (armed with needles and yarn) on the first Friday of every month. Super Bowl Sunday 2017 is fast approaching and the ladies of Stitch and Bitch Damascus MD will soon be celebrating their 24th knitting group anniversary.
Since the first session in 1993 the group has increasingly grown and now steadily sees on average 15 to 20 crafters attend each month. We think it’s fantastic to see the longevity and comradery of the knitting group and member Kathy McLaughlin tells us how they now have some regular traditions in place; from fieldtrips to country fairs to needlepoint shows to grand openings of yarn shops the knitters of Damascus MD travel across the country as friends with their WIPs visiting a plethora of exciting events. The roaring success of this group is undeniable – a love for craft has not only brought these knitters together to create but encouraged them to enjoy every day life together.
“Beside the commonality of our stitching, what keeps us together is the non-judgmental attitude of the group, no skill is too weak or too professional, no individual is left out because of their personal background or history.”
A welcoming and friendly group who meet at one of the original founders, Kunni’s house; these crafters have an array of different skill sets and are always looking to teach and build each other’s techniques. Gathered around Kunni’s dining room table and more often than not overflowing to her kitchen, porch, stairway, basement or anywhere they can fit, these ladies love to give each other a helping hand, whilst having hours of laughter and fun at the same time.
Raise your needles and say cheese, every anniversary that goes by Stitch & Bitch Damascus MD take a group snap, keeping the printed photograph in an album, this is a tradition the group aim to continue for the entirety of club’s existence. A brilliant idea other knitting groups across the globe could take on and a fantastic tradition in which both current members and knitters of the future are able to watch the organisation grow. As Stitch and Bitch Damascus MD’s 24th anniversary approaches the group are eagerly preparing to perfect their smiles, get all things yarn together, celebrate the outstanding success of the group and have a big catch up, whilst watching the annual Super Bowl game and are ready to add the 2017 group photograph to the album.
“The companionship of other knitters inspires me.”
Stitch and Bitch Damascus MD is an informal group, come by when and as often as you can. Members who have moved out of the community stop by when they are in town and new faces are always welcome. As Kathy says above, the companionship of knitters is inspiring, as a community we stick together. Over the years the members skills have expanded and they’ve watched each other grow in the craft and in their lives, with children being born, raised and married. Although there’s no set agenda, in-between charity projects and all round fun makes, the stitchers work on a themed group project for the local fair entry. The current theme is Party with the Animals (and what a fun theme to have!), the ladies are working on creating knitted taxidermy heads to creatively capture the topic. We’re sure the theme will transpire perfectly and together the group will create wonders to be proud of - on behalf of us all at Deramores HQ, good luck!
Kathy herself began knitting as a little girl, stitching a trusty scarf. For Kathy, knitting is about creating pieces that are unique, something a little different to what we can purchase off the high street readymade. We think all crafters are able to relate to this, we certainly can and along with Kathy enjoy the challenge of creating a one off garment. We asked Kathy if she could only knit with one yarn for the entirety of her life what would it be, she replied with the strong answer of cashmere – and what a scrumptious choice, there’s nothing we love more than adding a touch of luxury to a project and cashmere yarns are a sure and fine way to create a lustrous garment.
When we asked Kathy for some words of wisdom her answer was simple yet spot on - “Do it for your own enjoyment!” We all get stuck in a knitting rut from time to time and more often than not it’s best to take a break and go back to your project when you feel ready to tackle it again. Whether you’re knitting by yourself or alongside friends it’s always important to ensure you are getting the most from your project and enjoying each and every stitch, after all it’s the only way the true benefits of stress relief, relaxation and pride will reap through.
It’s been a ball finding out about this longstanding knitting group and we hope the ladies of Stitch & Bitch Damacus MD have inspired you to continue crafting as they have for us. Next month we’ll be catching up with a group closer to home, in the capital of England. So be sure to join us this February to hear about the knitting and crochet scene in the big smoke. Don’t forget to share your very own knitting group story with us via firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to be featured and win a £100 yarn bundle.