The clicking of needles and chatter in Filwood Library on Wednesday afternoons brings a welcome buzz – caused by a Knowle West knitting group which provides an important social hub.
Now Knit and Natter, which has been running since 2016, has been recognised for the role it plays in the community – by appearing in a national publication.
The group featured in the April edition of Simply Knitting magazine – with the article describing how it has helped tackle social isolation and brought local people together to share skills.
Started by Claire McNeill – an Inclusive Community Facilitator for Bristol City Council – Knit and Natter has now been handed over to members to run themselves, although Claire still pops in from time to time.
She says: “This group was originally set up after a community event generated interest with local residents, who wanted to meet up and do something crafty.
“…Over the years many local residents have joined. They now have a regular group that meet up every week, to work on their own projects, as well as knitting for various charities…
“This has been so much more than just a knitting group, as it has brought together, different generations and cultures, living in the area, some who were previously very isolated. They now share knitting skills as well as building lasting friendships that extend beyond the groups weekly meetings…”
Some of the charities supported include making tiny clothes for the Angel Babies, hats and blankets for the Special Care Baby Unit at a local hospital and jumpers and hats for the Fish and Chip Babies of Africa – as well as Twiddle Mats for dementia patients and poppies for the Poppy Appeal.
Claire adds “They will happily turn their hands to anything in aid of others and use up odd balls of wool donated by the community… It is lovely to now have the appreciation to go in the magazine, and for the group to have recognition…”
Knowle West resident Kelly Hunt (41) who calls herself a learner has only been attending for a few months and has already produced a cardigan.
She says: “I’ve got an illness so this gives me an outlet, I enjoy the social side of things.”
The group had also branched out to include lace making and embroidery at the sessions, taught by older members.
And experienced knitter Joan Roberts (69) is only too happy to share pearls of wisdom about both knitting and life.
She says: “It’s very sociable and if anyone has a problem they talk about it. We all work together and bring in cakes. We’re looking for new members both knitters and non-knitters, everyone’s welcome….”
Knit and Natter meets on Wednesdays at Filwood Library from 1-3pm. To join just turn up or contact the library on 0117 903 8581. No experience necessary and wool and knitting needles are provided.