Strangers become friends through knitting

A hobby as simple as knitting has established bonds and friendships for a particular group of women

Every Wednesday beginning at noon women bring their yarn, needle gauge and crochet hooks to meet at Crescent Moon to knit time away and catch up in a stress-free environment (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

Retired women grabbed their crochet hooks and yarn, and sat down in a local cafe to create hats, gloves, scarves and lifelong bonds.

Each Wednesday at noon, several retired women convene at Crescent Moon from various towns in and around Mullica Hill to knit, meet new people and talk about nearly everything that comes to mind.

“We were in a post office and we saw someone come in with a hand-knitted hat,” said Jean Mccaw of Salem County. “We said ‘oh, where did you get your hat?’ and she said ‘I kind of learned to knit,’ and we told her we’ll teach her how to knit.”

The group first met in Woodstown at a local coffee shop before coming to Mullica Hill. There, Mccaw said they “have lunch, sit and yap all afternoon.” She added the group has pulled in other women after seeing them sit at opposite ends of the cafe and inviting them in.

“We have people who come here who don’t knit at all, and we start them off,” Mccaw said. “Then they’re knitting socks, sweaters and all sorts. It progresses along, and we give everybody help if they need it, and off they go.”

Mccaw said the group is there to offer support to everyone who joins and to boost morale.

“You’re not allowed to complain about your husband, not allowed to rattle on about what medications you’re on, we generally try to avoid politics and religion,” said Carol Winchell of Salem. “We just try to keep it neutral and upbeat.”

“Some of us live on our own, so it’s nice to come out and get to know someone,” said Mccaw. “Even if you’re married, you’re not supposed to talk about that much here, so it’s nice to yak all afternoon.“

Despite the list of rules, the two agreed that if a member is going through something, they’ll work it out with one another and be supportive of the decisions they make.

Mccaw said many of the women will knit hats for various charity organizations while there, such as St. Jude, but they can’t do more due to the amount of discussions occurring.

“You can’t do Fair Isle and all of that good stuff, so we keep that at home and we do a lot of baby stuff here,” Mccaw added. “Some of it is quite complicated and it has holes all over the place. We don’t need unregulated holes, so we leave that at home.”

Winchell added that while the group hopes to get the kids who stop by interested in knitting, it’s difficult due to their sport and school schedules.

“They usually have a lot more going on already and we’re kind of settled in our lives,” she said.

Rosemary Mennouti of Philadelphia said, from being a part of the knitting group, she’s learned about the knitters who can “spin their own yarn and sheer their own sheep,” and how diverse everyone is and to appreciate the diversity.

The group meets on Wednesdays at noon at Crescent Moon. Those wishing to join can do so by attending one of their meet-ups with their knitting tools and asking them to join. The knitters are open to newcomers.