Other than the fact that there will be wine, coffee, food and knitting, you never really know what the Knit Knook's monthly Wine and Cheese night will be like. Last month, the shop was standing room only and it was a raucous party; last night there were just a handful of us. While sales-wise, a larger group would have been a good thing for the shop, personally I’d had the kind of week so far that made a small group of friends and a relatively quiet evening incredibly appealing. As I sat around the table with my most-excellent cappuccino, noshing a bit, talking a bit (ok, talking a lot for those of you who actually know me), and making slow but steady progress on my current project, I also found myself thinking about the Knit Knook and what it really is.
Three and a half years ago, it started out as a rumor - a yarn shop was coming to Conifer! I didn't knit yet, but had a garage full of alpaca fleece that I had to figure out what to do with, so even as a non-knitter I was pretty excited there would a be a place with yummy yarn and I could learn to knit. Several of us would drive by the soon to be open shop and peek in the windows, checking progress, waiting for the grand opening. I came from a long line of knitters and crocheters, and my mom and grandmothers had tried to teach me many times over the years to no avail. My thoughts as a kid and teenager were, "It's boring," or "I don't have the patience for this," and assorted other reasons as to why I would never be a knitter. Of course, this was also in the 60's and 70's when yarn choices seemed to be really scratchy wool or yellow, green and pink acrylic - very scary granny square afghans were all the rage. For me, the shift happened when I started raising my own fiber animals and the opening of the Knook.
For my first class I made a friend go with me for both moral support and laughter. (There was enough laughter and poking and swearing that the teacher very kindly suggested that perhaps we shouldn’t sit next to each other in the next class.) Since then, there have been many, many classes and now I’m even teaching a couple. I could easily go on for quite a bit about the yarns, the colors, the textures, the stress relief, the joy of creating something, and all the other things that surround the art and craft of knitting. And the Knook is a business, it’s there to make a profit, and many of us do our part to make sure that happens. (There can always be more, though, so do your part to support the local economy and stop by and buy something – you’ll feel better, trust me.)
But, really? It’s about the women. I know there are men knitters out there, but we don’t see many of them, so for me, it’s about the women of the Knook.
First, there’s Diane, the owner and her big, beautiful laugh. Whether you’ve been coming to the shop since it opened or it’s your very first visit, whether you’re a lifelong knitter or never held a pair of needles in your life, you’re greeted like an old friend and immediately made to feel at home. Because of her example and warmth, whoever else happens to be in the shop greets newcomers the exact same way: Hi! Pull up a chair, introductions, etc. and the next thing you know, you’re now a part of the Knook. Once you’ve been there a few times, it’s like the Conifer version of Cheers and you’re always greeted like Norm. There’s always someone to help with a problem, whether knitting or life-related, and you soon learn Diane’s known for her catchphrase: Rip it out! And there’s nothing like seeing the burst of energy and love that occurs when Diane’s grandkids explode through the door on a Saturday morning just to get a hug from Grandma and maybe a strawberry smoothie.
Then there are all the others. I’ve met amazing new friends and reconnected with old friends I hadn’t seen in years. There’s one who, while barely old enough to be my mother, reminds me so much of my grandma with her flirty blue eyes that I just want to squeeze her every time I see her. There’s another who makes me laugh so hard it’s a wonder I don’t pee my pants regularly. (I’m considering wearing Depends now, just on Saturday mornings, to be on the safe side.) I wish I had the time and space to describe them all. They come from Conifer, Bailey, Evergreen, Littleton, Golden, Aurora and even Arizona, just to be a part of the Knook.
The conversation around the table at any given time ranges from the mundane to the profound. We’ve supported each other through the joyous occasion of the birth of a child and wept with each other over the devastation of a son lost much too young. We’ve cheered each other on over accomplishments large and small, and consoled over a grandchild’s profound health challenges. We’ve watched toddlers take those early steps and helped others deal with aging parents. We’ve had conversations that solve all the problems of the world and then move on to what’s on sale at the grocery. We’ve had times of tears and times of laughter, times of non-stop talking and times of companionable and peaceful quiet. These are strong, funny, and compassionate women – they are a force of nature.
All my friends there know I’m currently going through a challenging personal time – it’s an inevitable part of life, but sad and stressful nonetheless. Last night one of those friends gifted me with a beautiful sweater she had made. It’s one of those soft, cushy, warm cardigans, exquisitely made, and just meant to cuddle up in. As I was carefully folding it, she gave me a squeeze around the shoulders and said, “Just remember, everytime you wear that, it’s a hug from me.”
It may seem to be about the knitting, and that started out as our common thread, but what we have there now is so much more than sticks and string. And that is what Diane has created at the Knit Knook. It's a community, and I'm so glad to be a part of it. Hope to see you there.
"I knit so I don't kill people."
- - seen on a t-shirt