From the Peloponnese in Greece, Stitch n Bitch in Mani meet every Thursday in a blissful location within a stone’s throw of the Mediterranean Sea. Crafts, coffee, cake and sunshine; sounds perfect right? Read on to find out more about this Greek group…
Registered with the global organisation Stitch n Bitch, crafters from the Mani began their knitting group adventure with a selfless project for a man who had lost his home in a fire. The community came together appealing for supplies for the old man, which was the impetus for the group to get going and the local resident received the first creation by the group, a handmade granny square blanket. With over 50 members throughout the year the group has 10 – 20 core crafters who meet every Thursday 11am to 1pm. The crafters in the group represent a variety of different countries; Greece, England, Germany, Holland and Canada all with the love of creating in common. In the summer you’ll find the crafters searching for the shadiest spot to knit, crochet or sew and in the winter they’re huddled in a taverna, chattering away with their crafts.
The local area has a website - The Parea sti Mani, encouraging activities that bring different nationalities to come together for both social and philanthropic purposes and it was on this site that the group was born. After the group’s initial meeting it was clear they all welcomed the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge in knitting and crochet with like-minded crafters. When it comes to inspiration these crafters create for charity. From clothing to novelties to blankets the yarn based garments are donated to those in need within the local area and sold to raise money for their yarn bank or to buy food supplies for the SOS Child and Family Centre in Kalamata. Over the years Stitch n Bitch in Mani have spent €1575 on supplies for the SOS Family centre and given them and an old people’s home hundreds of knitted items of clothing and blankets. It’s clear to see this group is made up of such kind hearted and caring crafters who love to create and help towards supporting the community around them. Not only do the group knit selfless creations, but they seek pleasure in teaching too! Together the crafters supported a man in learning cross stitch to enable him to complete a present for his friend’s 60th birthday – a gift that truly meant the world, we’re sure.
We’ve learnt about what the group do and where, now it’s time to find out about some of the characters behind this inspiring society! Freda and Christina are key members in the group ensuring delicious handmade cakes are baked for the occasion, and of course when there’s a birthday the crafters celebrate with extra treats too. The eldest member of the group is Mari, aged 94 she hadn’t knitted since her children were small, but in no time she was a whizz on the needles again. Every group has a perfectionist and in Stitch n Bitch in Mani’s case its Freda, who they call the knitting police, as she’s always encouraging a better finish. Founding member Claire keeps the group updated with a monthly newsletter, Elaine is the stash keeper, Steph the pattern keeper, Antonia the holder of all buttons, Lyn the one with enough animals to create a knitted zoo and Sandra the one who gives a helping hand when anyone drops a stitch. Then we have Mar a talented crochet designer, Val who persevered to learn crochet to help contribute to charity projects, Janet who has a special talent of making amazing cardigans from an unbelievable mix of oddments and last but definitely not least there’s Anatasia who only speaks Greek, but with the power of sign language and the group’s odd Greek word they easily communicate for the love of craft and friendship. Of course the group sees a variety of other crafters attending from holidaymakers to those a little farther afield and together they form a friendly group of creatives who tea and cake and make.
It was the stash keeper, Elaine from Stitch n Bitch in Mani who got in contact to tell us all about their diverse group and we’re so glad she did, we love hearing how different groups around the world function and what keeps their needles a-clicking! Steph’s grandmother taught her to knit at the age of seven; making some table mats for her mother (who still has them to this day)! Lyn knitted through her childhood and re-engaged with the craft when she began attending Stitch n Bitch in Mani. Like a lot of knitters one of the highlights for the group is seeing the garments they've made worn by their grandchildren, along with teaching others to knit and watching them become accomplished knitters – there’s no better feeling than the sense of achievement and knitting certainly provides that. When the group was asked why they enjoy knitting – along with it being totally absorbing, finding it calming and keeping them busy, we loved this answer…
“I find it relaxing….and it keeps my hands out of the biscuit barrel.”
Over indulging in sweet treats is something we know only too well here at Deramores HQ and if craft can prevent that we best get knitting more (any excuse, hey!).
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Elaine and Stitch n Bitch in Mani for getting in touch, it’s been a pleasure hearing about their craft group and all their wonderful projects and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them too! We couldn’t finish without leaving you with Steph’s whimsical words…
“You can never have too much yarn in your stash, despite what your husband may tell you.”
Next month we’ll be setting sail across the North Atlantic Ocean, so be sure to stop by and meet June’s knitting group! If you’d like the chance to win £100 worth of yarn and get your knitting or crochet group featured, then simply drop us an email at [email protected], telling us all about your crafty circle, for more information click here.