HORICON — Although many indicated they had tried their hand at knitting in years past, it was not until the four-week sock knitting class at the Horicon Public Library that a group of local
women became addicted to the art.
Deb Antony did some knitting back when she was a 4-H member and Jan Pahl did a little knitting about 20 years ago.
And then there is Alex Harvancik, who with Shannon Barniskis, instructs the knitters and has knitted for more than two decades. As she put it "I can knit any time anywhere."
On Jan. 26, 2004, 15 women from Horicon, Beaver Dam, Juneau and Mayville gathered for the four-week sock knitting class at the library. Since that time, an average of 14 knitters gather on Wednesday mornings to wield needles, learn new techniques, correct knitting mishaps share patterns and ideas, and catch up on what's going on in the community.
The sock-making class involved using four double-pointed needles rather than the more traditional two needles.
With the basics of knit 2, pearl 2 under their collective belts, the women turned out scarves and tank tops, ultimately evolving into a social gathering with each knitter doing her own thing and checking with the teachers and peer knitters for new patterns and techniques.
New techniques included the art of creating felt items by knitting a purse or a hat and washing it in hot water until the stitches disappear. Day-long knitting retreats have been held that included the technique of hand-painting multicolored yarns, turning wool into yarn using a CD spindle, and learning to work more complicated textures than seed stitch and rib, flat-felting and needle-felting. The group has also done a number of community projects, including hats, scarves and mittens for Cloths 4 Kids. A four-week class for children was offered in 2006. Yarn shopping tours are taken once or twice a year to Madison and Mount Horeb.
The knitters meet at the Horicon Public Library on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
New knitters are always welcome. Additional information can be obtained by calling the library at 485-3535.