Knitting Communities TogetherJun 01, 2021 11:28AM ● By Gayle Morrow
There are some things you may not think about doing in public—knitting, for instance. Why might a person want to do that? Well, if your mission is “better living through stitching together,” then taking the time to “knit one, purl two” with a group of friends in a park—John J. Collins Park in Galeton—on a nice day in early summer—June 12—is an excellent reason.
Just ask Linda Voss-Plummer. To say that Linda, a life-long knitter with family firmly rooted in Galeton, is enthusiastic about all kinds of fiber arts is a bit of an understatement, just as it is to say she is community-minded. She’s managed for the past nine years to weave the two together, helping communities in and around picturesque Potter County celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day.
A designer named Danielle Landes (you can see some of her work on ravelry.com) started World Wide Knit in Public Day in 2005, “as a way for knitters to come together to enjoy each other’s company.” Copenhagen’s Astrid Salling has been the organizer since 2011. Knitting, like other creative endeavors, can be a solitary activity if the folks involved don’t make some effort to find like-minded people to share the fun. Each event is hosted by a local volunteer or group, and is meant to be inclusive for all fiber lovers (and those who might want to be). There were twenty-five in various locations on the first Knit in Public Day (always the second Saturday in June, everywhere) or KIP, as they are affectionately known. The most recent tally shows over 1,000 KIPs in over fifty countries.
Having read about WWKIP, Linda decided to try her hand at organizing an event under the auspices of the Galeton Public Library. There were eight people at the first KIP. By 2019 there were about eighty-five. There are guidelines, but event organizers can plan their KIP how they like. Linda, with her love of community, has made it her mission to involve all kinds of folks and to support fiber businesses and shepherds. The service projects for this year are knitting hats for school children and shawls or lap robes for residents at UPMC Cole Extended Care.
“It’s a community event, not just about knitting,” she says. In 2019 the event included a baker, Nancy Lubera from Crossfork, who Linda says “bakes as an avocation,” to make a special cake for the day—it was a bunny cake with a knit blanket; a youth group from the Pine Creek Valley United Methodist Church in Gaines; Cinco Cs, an alpaca farm in Roulette; Nistock Farms from Prattsburgh New York (with a focus on endangered species of sheep); Glenfiddich Farm near Mansfield; Stephanie Cornell of Genesee and The Wool Collectors’ Shed brought her angora rabbit whose wool was spun. Local businesses provided refreshments.
At these events, she continues, “it’s wonderful” to see people enjoying the company of others they hadn’t seen “for ages.” There are old friends and new friends; history lovers, even laundry lovers (read on for more on that). Of course she hopes they’ll all show up for this year’s happening, which will make the 2021 KIP even more poignant, as the 2020 event, like so many others, couldn’t happen as planned.
“We had to cancel, but we wanted to do something,” Linda says. That “something” was Laundry Camp—it came to the event via Zoom. Laundry Camp’s host was Patric Richardson, AKA the “Laundry Evangelist,” star of HGTV’s The Laundry Guy, and author, with Karin B. Miller, of the book Laundry Love. Karin, as it happens, grew up next to Linda’s parents in Horseheads, so that’s one more community connection for Linda to notch on her knitting needles. Karin and Patric will be back on Zoom on Thursday, June 10, at 7 p.m. Find the Zoom link on Galeton World Wide Knitting in Public Facebook page. Ever mindful of local history (she lives in the home her great-grandparents built in Galeton in 1902, so there’s that), Linda asked Julia Kolat and Donna Batterson, volunteers at the Potter County Historical Society, to choose some pieces from their fine collection to highlight. They chose a gorgeous wedding dress and a child’s romper. Patric will talk about how to safely clean these treasured antiques.
As a second precursor to Galeton’s KIP, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is offering a virtual program on (what else?) laundry in Pennsylvania’s lumber camps. Josh Roth, museum site administrator, and Josh Fox, museum curator, stepped up to the plate and designed this program for the event. The Lumber Museum’s program is set for Friday, June 11, at 7 p.m. To register for that virtual event, contact the museum via email at [email protected] or call (814) 435-2652 or visit their Event page or that on Galeton’s WWKIP Facebook page.
World Wide Knit in Public Day is from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 12, at the pavilion on Park Lane in John J. Collins Park. Access Park Lane from either West Street or Germania Street. They are banking on good weather, but the virtual events will be held regardless.