Knit and natter groups are everywhere, with dozens in our area alone. Sometimes the natterers knit just for themselves or for fun, but Features Writer Rob Bullock discovers that often they knit for some extremely good causes…
You could call it a phenomenon, but you could never call it a fad. Knitting and crocheting has never been more popular than it is at the moment, and sharing the joy of these pastimes with others in our local communities can make creating all the more fun.
These days people of all ages, ladies and men, novices and expert knitters regularly get together to knit and chat and unwind over a ball of yarn, tea and cake!
The natterers don’t just get together in our country either, I’ve discovered that knit and natter has gone global. There are knit and natter groups in places as far distant as Willetton, Western Australia and Angers, France, from Jerusalem to Barcelona, from Geneva, Switzerland to Santa Cruz in California – knitting and nattering is now a truly global phenomenon driven by the opportunity to be creative, doing something for somebody less fortunate and having a nice chat and a cuppa. More often than not delicious cakes are provided which makes the meetings even more enjoyable.
Clapham Knit and Knatter
Starting with just five members ten years ago, Clapham Knit and Knatter group currently has nineteen members, who are all ladies, with ages that range from 50s to 80s. The group meet on a Monday afternoon once every two weeks and everyone is welcome to drop in. Sometimes they go out for lunch together and sometimes they go out for afternoon tea, all the while knitting and nattering.
Making a difference
Meeting every two weeks in the local Bethal Chapel in their sleepy Dales village, the ladies of Clapham’s Knit and Knatter group sometimes knit just for pleasure but more often than not they like to make a difference with their clickety clacks.
“We raise money for a local children’s hospice, Derian House,” explains chief knit and natterer Rosie Hull, who has been knitting and nattering in Clapham for over ten years, “natterers pay their twice yearly subs of £10 and then £2 every fortnight. All the profits from our group go to Derian House, but we also knit hats to go into Christmas boxes for needy children around the world.
We knit squares that help make up much needed blankets. Last year some of our knitting went to Syrian refugees who live in the most terrible conditions. Our knitting always goes to help those in need. It’s good to make a difference to those who are less fortunate than us.”
She’s modest about her endeavours but for over ten years Rosie has been organising knit and natters, baking cakes and making delicious jams and chutneys to support Derian House; “for the past two years I’ve raised over £1500 each year, so I suppose over the last ten years I’ve raised more than £10,000 for the children’s hospice.”
The children’s hospice needs dedicated fundraisers like Rosie. For more than twenty years Derian House Children’s Hospice has provided palliative and end of life care for children and young people with life limiting or life threatening conditions.
They have a catchment area that covers the whole of Lancashire and the South Lakes. Currently Derian House is supporting more than 300 families who have a child or young adult suffering from a life shortening condition, as well as providing bereavement support for a further 200 families so each year Rosie’s hard work makes a big difference.
As you might imagine running a children’s hospice is expensive. As a charity, Derian House receives very little statutory funding, so they rely almost exclusively on knit and natterers like Rosie and the other eighteen ladies in Clapham to help raise the £3.85 million they need this year to continue to meet the needs of children and families throughout Lancashire and Cumbria!
Please see https://www.derianhouse.co.uk for ways you can help this good cause.
Like to see more male knitters
Everyone is welcome at your local knit and natter group, and our Clapham group for one would like to see any men in their community drop in and show them their knitting skills; “we know of at least one excellent male knitter in our village and we’re trying to persuade him to join in.”
But you don’t even have to knit!
“It’s true,” chuckles Rosie, “you don’t have to knit to come to a knit and natter meeting. If you like cake and a cup of tea, then you can just come along for a natter!” Whether you can knit or not, a knit and natter group is a good way of making friends and finding out what’s going on in your community and there’s always delicious cake! Please see http://www.knittogether.info for details of your local knit and natter group.