Bowness knitting, crochet event has attendees hooked

Needles in hand, Calgarians from across the city came out for a good, old-fashioned knitting bee

By: Jacey Conway, Federation of Calgary Communities

Good conversation, meeting new people and learning new skills, all while giving back to those in need, sums up the Bowness Yarn-a-thon.

The Bowness Community Association’s (BCA) first Yarn-a-thon event on July 25, attracted knitters and crocheters from across the city.

Brenda Ault and Lee-Ann Baines chatted about the lack of summer activities for older adults in Bowness and beyond.

“It’s a time to come and meet your neighbour and enjoy fun and conversation,” said Ault.

The two ladies planned the event in May. They got help from members of United Way of Calgary and Area and the Carya Society of Calgary.

The biggest obstacle was getting wool for the event, as that cost was not feasible for the community to cover.

The ladies rallied together, and, with the help of United Way and several anonymous donors, they gathered enough wool for the event. The quality of wool ranged from gently used to brand new. All of it was greatly appreciated and put to good use during the event.

A group of ladies knit and crochet while enjoying good conversation. CONTRIBUTED

Most who attended the event were seasoned knitters or crocheters, but the event was set up to cater to all ages and skill levels, including those who were just learning. Hat patterns, needles and hooks were made available for anyone who was just beginning or needed to refresh their skillset.

‘The yarn is only a tool to the conversation.’

Between the clicking of needles and hooks, a hum of conversation filled the event as neighbours met each other and made connections.

“The yarn is only a tool to the conversation,” said Shannon Keetch, a knitter who drove out from Crossroads for the event.

A wall of hats made by attendees during the Yarn-a-thon, ready to be donated, 2019.

Hats, mittens or scarfs made during the Yarn-a-thon could be put in the donation bin set up to help people in need. The donation bin was an idea from Ault who has often seen young kids and teens playing at the park in the middle of winter without proper winter clothes.

Prior to moving to Alberta, Ault had donated her knitted goods to her church in British Columbia. The cold winters inspired her to do the same here in Calgary.

“The yarn we have today is donated so we might as well donate the finished product,” Ault said.

The BCA will work with partner organizations this winter to find good homes for donated scarfs, mitts and toques.

More knitting across Calgary

Baines, who works with the BCA, encourages other neighbourhoods to put on community actions like this. Events such as a Yarn-a-thon are low budget, involve community members, and can make a difference in the community.

“We forget how easy it can be,” she said. “All you need is some posters, tables and chairs, and a little bit of food.”

The Yarn-a-thon was a big hit and there’s already talk of putting on another one in a few months. Several ladies from other communities are also hoping to put on more events like this. They want to involve members of the community and make more knitted goods to donate to those in need.

“It’s been a slice!” says Ault.

Donations for the BCA Yarn-a-thon. CONTRIBUTED

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