By Tiffany Merlo Phelps
Dorothy Flannery loves to knit, so about three months ago she decided to see if anyone else shared her interest in Ponte Vedra Beach. Turns out quite a few people responded to a message she posted on Palm Valley Next Door, and a knitting group formed. Now, every Wednesday night at Panera Bread in Ponte Vedra Beach, a group of ladies gather to knit, share patterns and socialize.
Flannery learned to knit from her mother and still references a 1979 copy of the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework” when she has questions about patterns. It is complete with an inscription from her mother that she holds near to her heart: “A treasure found and put to good use by Dorothy. Love, Mer.”
“Knitting is timeless. It hasn’t changed. The fibers have changed, but the technique is the same,” said Flannery, who is also a longtime travel agent.
Mary Beth Goodspeed saw Flannery’s post right before she moved to Ponte Vedra Beach from Denver, Colo. She learned to knit from her mother and grandmother, beginning in the first grade.
“I thought this would be a great way to meet new people and socialize,” said Goodspeed, whose current project is a child’s sweater.
Knitting group members say that most of what they create they give away as gifts, and the best part of knitting is the “zen” feeling that it creates.
Member Elaine Lacy, who learned to knit as a child, is currently working on baby afghans using a bamboo cotton blend, which tends to be softer and easily washable.
“It’s fun because you get to work with so many colors,” said Lacy, referring to the grid pattern of the afghan. “You don’t get bored.”
Lacy is from New Hampshire where she said everyone would knit because of the long winters. When she moved to Florida four years ago, she found very few fellow knitters in the area.
Maria Carletta, who knows how to crochet, always wanted to learn how to knit, so she joined the group right away. Carletta, originally from Portugal, moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1996 after living in Connecticut and New York.
“All my friends in Connecticut used to knit, and I always wanted to learn,” said Carletta.
Flannery started Carletta with a classic “My first knit sweater” pattern, and Carletta quickly took to it. Flannery went with Carletta to the store to pick out the pink yarn.
Flannery said that she prefers buying her yarn in person as opposed to online, so that she can see the yarn clearly.
“You really want to see the yarn in daylight, and you want to feel the fiber,” she said. “When you consider the amount of time you will invest in making something, you want to make sure that you don’t knit with cheap yarn.”
Club member Robin Stetler said knitting provides her with relaxation as she normally knits throws. “It is mindless the way that I do it. I love to knit on long drives,” she said.
Anyone interested in joining the knitting group should email Flannery at email@example.com.
Photo courtesy Tiffany Merlo Phelps
Knitting group members look at a baby afghan that knitter Elaine Lacy made.