Nothing can knit a group of people together quite like—well—knitting.
For nearly a decade, Maureen Tavernaro and her friends have met every Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. to talk, laugh, and create woolen accessories. The knitting gatherings began in spring 2006, shortly after Maureen became the owner of With Ewe in Mind, a former knitting and needlepoint store in Paducah.
She says the knitting club happened naturally.
“It was mainly people—customers—who came in through the store,” she says. “We all met each other through that, and I would always offer it up to new knitters.”
After all those years, the club is constantly in a state of flux. The gatherings can vary in size from roughly six to 18 artists, with a vast age range from 20 to 70. But, all attendees love to craft and laugh. Maureen says most prefer to knit but some crochet and some bring needlepoint work. Others have hauled spinning wheels to the group so they could work on balls of yarn. During Paducah’s annual American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek, a few quilters have even dropped in.
Every Thursday, this haphazard assembly of artists fashion all kinds of gifts and crafts—expertly creating scarves, hats, socks, and more—but mostly, they socialize and support each other.
“We give pattern ideas and project ideas,” she says. “We motivate each other to keep going when you want to pull your hair or burn your yarn.”
Over the years, the knitters have grown so zealous about their beloved hobby that they’ve taken their needles and yarn to unusual locations. Maureen says they have celebrated the Worldwide Knit in Public Week by knitting in places like the Texaco Station in Lower Town, on a Broadway Street sidewalk, and in Etcetera Coffeehouse. They even bring their needles to movie theaters for “Knit and Flick” nights.
But, despite this enthusiasm, Maureen says, members stay connected to the group mostly because they enjoy each other.
“We’ve all become good friends through the knitting … and we’ve just seen each other through a lot of different things … weddings and births of babies and deaths of family members and divorces—you name it,” she says. “We’ve kind of bonded through all those life events.”
Sadly, With Ewe in Mind closed in July 2015, so the group has changed locations. Ephemera opened its doors to the group for a while, but for now, they meet at the local Panera Bread restaurant. She says any Panera patron is welcome to grab a chair on a Thursday evening and pull out a pair of needles.
Joining the group is easy, she says. Potential members just need passion for crafting, desire to socialize, and enough confidence to knit in a movie theater.