Knitting clicks with a new generation
Her knitting needles rhythmically click as she makes a sweater for Red Hat, her little stuffed monkey.
She learned to knit curled up in the lap of her grandmother, who started to teach her at around the age of three.
“She held the needle and I put it through and wrapped and then she did the scooping,” explains the precocious knitter, who already talks about the craft with the aplomb of a veteran.
Nearby, her grandmother, Francesca Pagliotti, and her mother, Zoe Gee, are helping customers navigate through the maze in the store. Every corner brims with colour. The walls are lined with cubbyholes containing neatly stacked balls of yarn of every description. It’s like a candy store for knitters.
Pagliotti and Gee co own the shop, whose homespun feel conjures domestic images of motherhood and apple pie.
Under this roof, three generations ply a craft as old as the hills. Here, the circle will not be broken. It is stitched together in one family by something as simple and supple as a ball of yarn.
While knitting is generally associated with grannies in rocking chairs, the venerable craft seems to be acquiring a modern spin.
Internet sites like Ravelry, a kind of Facebook for knitters and crocheters, have spun out, with Ravelry alone connecting over four million people around the world. It has become a great resource for things like patterns and shared tips.
Kids everywhere seem to be putting down their computer games and taking up knitting needles. Every Tuesday at Lord Strathcona elementary, Tso goes to a knitting group with her friends. Like lemonade and cookies, knitting and friendship seem to go together.
When Tso was in kindergarten, she taught her friend Paige, who was in Grade 1, to knit. Now Paige is teaching others. The art gets passed from generation to generation, from friend to friend.
Lord Strathcona is not alone. From Surrey to Vancouver, there is a far flung web of knitting clubs in schools.
There are no hard numbers to verify whether there has been a resurgence of what many think of as the granny art, but Gee senses there has been.
“There is definitely a huge difference to how it would have been thought of 30 years ago,” she says. Since she and her mother opened the shop in 2006, she has seen the clientele growing younger and more diverse with many teenagers and some men taking up the art.
In her family, the circle had to start somewhere. That was with Pagliotti, who learned to knit as a child from her grandmother in Southern California, where she was born and raised.
But it was only after she married a Canadian, moved here in the 1970s and had her two daughters that her knitting needles started to flash with a passion.
She loves the feel of the fibre in her hands; she loves creating beautiful shawls, scarfs and sweaters for her two grandchildren or samples for the store or gifts.
In this era of crazed communications, knitting is like comfort food for the soul.
Now 65, the former nurse midwife admits that she and her daughter knew little abo Burberry Outlet Online ut operating a small business when they opened the store, but it felt right.
“It was just a whimsy, I guess,” she says with a smile.
At the time, Aija was just a baby tucked in a crib in the back among the yarn bins. As soon as she c Burberry Outlet Online ould sit up, they set her in front of a little basket of yarn a swirl with colour, a feast for infant eyes.
“It’s not something that makes you rich and it’s a big commitment, but we love it,” says Pagliotti.
Working in the store, the mother and daughter team can’t possibly knit everything they would like to, so “we knit vicariously through ou Burberry Outlet Online r customers.”
Sometimes, the customers come in with an artistic vision but they often need guidance in the choice of materials. Many return to the store to show off the finished product.
Gee, who is 35, says she took up knitting in earnest with the birth of her two kids, who are now eight and five. “I think it’s primal. There is something that happens then. You want to keep your baby warm. You want to wrap your baby in a handmade blanket.”
She smiles as she fondly recalls knitting a vintage sweater for one of her sister’s children in Chilliwack. Some of her most treasured possessions were knit by her mother. Knitted garments aren’t just objects. Embedded in the stitches is plenty of heart and sou Burberry Outlet Online l.
In the store, you can hear the gentle repetitive click of Tso’s knitting needles, sounding like tiny hammers hitting a metal floor. Every so often, her mother and grandmother pause from their work to look over her shoulder or answer a question from her.
The sweater for Red Hat is one of her easier projects. The granny squares she recently undertook were an entirely different story.