Thursday, November 14, 2013

I've Caught the Knitting Bug

I learned to knit when I was about 12 years old. Haven't since and now I am, well, 50 something. I do remember some of the basics though.

I have my heart set on making a throw for my bed like the picture above. My dream may never be realized as the yarn for this costs $198 a skein!

When my dear friend Bonnie started a prayer shawl ministry I wanted to participate to take up knitting again and learn to make that throw. Bonnie is an accomplished knitter and has the patience to teach others also. I was about to learn a few things from her, and not just about knitting.

Her love of knitting together with her desire to serve the Lord led her to want to start the ministry. As we all can be when stepping out into a new venture, she was hesitant to take that first step. A powerful visual message at our church about breaking down barriers and fears prompted her to step out. Once she did the doors starting opening.

There is a cute café in Williamson, New York called the Firewall Coffee Hall. It is a community sponsored not for profit coffee house. It used to be the headquarters for the Williamson Fire Department and in keeping with that, the inside and outside is decorated with a firemen theme.

Anita volunteers at the coffee house and once Bonnie told her about her ministry, she was happy to open the doors to the ladies.

Anita with her granddaughter Grace who has just learned to crochet.
Every other Saturday morning a group of knitting ladies meet there to knit and chat and drink coffee. They have named themselves The Knit Wits.

The cafe serves Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters coffee, which is locally made and a treat in itself.

 Marcia volunteers serving coffee and goodies and also knits with the ladies.
As I questioned Bonnie about how it all worked, I quickly realized that this was not the place to go and knit what I wanted, but to knit as a ministry for others.

A prayer shawl is a knitted wrap for around your shoulders or legs, a handmade gift covered in prayer. Those that knit pray over the stitches, that they give comfort, peace and warmth to someone who is sick, recovering or downtrodden. They are also nice to give to mothers of newborns, and men who are ill appreciate them also. Bonnie hears wonderful stories about how they are used. One woman takes hers to chemotherapy to keep warm during her treatments. Others have been passed on to the family members as a remembrance of someone who had been in hospice.

A nice discount on yarn at a local craft supply store helped Bonnie supply the yarn at the beginning. Another open door. The knitter supplies the needles. For a beginner, like me, Bonnie casts the stitches on and then you knit. Or, like for me, she had to rip it out twice and cast new stitches on before getting it going because I kept messing it up!

I was so excited to get a couple rows done that I had to take a picture!
After a shaky start I started making headway and my shawl started to show some inches! Obviously I have a long way to go! And that is the part of the draw to join in with these ladies. You don't have to have any experience with knitting, just a desire to serve in this ministry. There is no time frame or pressure to get a shawl done. You just have to reserve every other Saturday for the Firewall Coffee Cafe to sit and knit and chat and drink coffee with other sweet ladies for a couple hours!

Bonnie (right) is helping Carrie (left) get started as Arlene rolls her yarn into a ball.
My daughter Jena joined me the first time I was able to go. She is a knitter herself, since about 12 years old, having learned from her grandmother. She fit right in. I was busy taking notes for my post and knitting in between.

I went around the table asking the ladies how they started knitting.....

Marcia learned to knit  at a women's retreat and has been knitting for 8 years. She makes scarves and socks.

Arlene taught herself to knit from an encyclopedia at 8 years old!

Bonnie learned to knit at 5 years old from an Italian lady in her Philadelphia neighborhood. She made blankets for baby dolls.

Anita started knitting at 17 and made sweaters. She learned to crochet for finishing borders and prefers it over knitting. She has taught her eleven year old granddaughter Grace to crochet. Grace wanted to make a prayer shawl for friends and is learning to make prayer squares and phone cases.

Katherine has been knitting for 7 years and crocheting for two. She knitted and knitted and gave everything as gifts. I have received a knitted poncho, a prayer shawl and a blanket from her. She also has donated baby items to a local co-op shop.

And me, I have been knitting for almost two weeks now and I think I am close to being done with my first prayer shawl! I've got the knitting bug! I've already bought the yarn to start my next one!

 This is a permanent fixture at my couch every night....

The yarn actually matches my bag, a gift from Bonnie!
So pretty, isn't it?

Soon after my time with the Knit Wits I had the opportunity to visit the knitting ladies at a local independent senior living community. Bonnie visits each week to knit and chat and help ladies with their knitting. I was warmly welcomed and asked to come back soon. These two ladies, Carolyn and Peggy were a delight to chat with.

Bonnie is my sister in Christ and like a real sister to me. I truly believe the Lord closed the door on a ministry I was a part of for over 8 years and just couldn't physically do anymore, and opened the door to this prayer shawl ministry. I have already been blessed by my first time with the Knit Wits and my visit to the independent living community. I am looking forward to continuing to make prayer shawls to bless others. I get to share this with Bonnie, my daughter and the other ladies.  I can sit and knit and chat, all things that are not too physically hard to do.

Bonnie and Me.....she is beautiful inside and out

It took me a few months to finally go to the Saturday morning knitting in Williamson....things just kept coming up to keep me from being able to go. I had been struggling with what to do with the ministry I was in and then, in one morning, the doors opened wide to a new ministry while they closed shut on the past one. It's all God's timing and I am happy to step out and obey.

Have you caught the knitting bug yet?

AnnMarie :)

I am linking up to these great blog parties!

Tuesday Trivia
Open House Blog Party
Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop
What's It Wednesday
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Thursday Social Media Roundup Blog Hop
Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Be Inspired
A Bouquet of Talent Linky Party
Raising Imperfection Link Party
 Sweet & Savoury Sundays
Amaze Me Monday
Marvelous Mondays
Make It Pretty Monday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday


  1. I was a part of a knitting group meeting at a coffee house when I lived in Ohio for several years and they taught me to knit. We did knit for charity occasionally but mostly our own projects. I know how HARD the knitting bug bites! What a fun, fun, fun time it is to get together!

  2. Oh how fun! I am sure it is lovely meeting with other ladies while creating beautiful items :) I would love to learn how to knit....maybe someday :) Happy weekend!

  3. What a great post! I wanted to be at the coffee shop too! Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a great ministry and a fun way to be with like minded ladies. I don't knit, but this sounds like so much fun, I love it!

  5. As a recipient of a prayer shawl at one point in my life, I can attest to the comfort & healing power they can bestow upon you. If someone didn't believe.....they certainly would after putting such a shawl around their shoulders! What a wonderful calling you have found, AnnMarie. I wish you much luck in your knitting venture & in this lovely group who has found a way to combine good will & spirituality with great fun!! ♥ AntiqueShopGirl

  6. Hi, I am so happy for you! I love knitting and crocheting! I belong to 2 groups and it is so much fun to sit talk and be creative and have fun! I belong to 1 group that meets in NYC at a coffee shop and we knit/crochet in public and get so many smiles from people. TFS this on life on lakeshore drive.I am going to follow you and I hope you follow me back too, we have a craft we LOVE! Julie at

  7. Oh what a lovely group that you are part of, and meeting in a coffee house, with the aroma alone I would be happy. I can't knit or crochet but my mom does and she loves it. I'm going to tell her about your prayer shawl, what a beautiful idea, I'm sure it's been around but I have never heard of it.

  8. This is a great ministry. Love the shawls. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  9. I have never learned to knit myself, but my mom is very active in the prayer shawl ministry at our Church! So many people have been blessed with a gift of a cozy shall during a period of illness or just in need of comfort and warmth. Maureen from Red Cottage Chronicles

  10. I like to crochet more than knit but they are both so nice for the winter time. Looks like you've made some wonderful friends and you're learning a lot, too. Enjoy your week!

  11. wonderful news and so glad you found this place to share your ministry
    knitting is powerful stuff!

  12. I've been knitting and crocheting since I was a child and my aunts taught me. I have a degree in textile design, but as an adult mostly sewed until I moved near another aunt who reignited my passion for yarn arts. We've just started a crafting group here and hope to make things we can give along the way. I've heard a lot about prayer shawl ministries and think they are wonderful, but have never participated in one. Blessings to you and you group and happy knitting! (Your shawl is looking beautiful!)

  13. Hello, visiting from CAST team on Etsy.

    It was an absolute delight to read this post. I am inspired by this. I learned basic knitting skills from my mom, in high school, but I am more drawn to crochet, which I occassionally still do and sell scarves when the bug hits.

    I love love love your project bag, what a treat!


  14. That first picture of the throw is fabulous I have never seen anything with that huge yarn
    I know what a prayer shawl is and would love to have one sometimes
    I have never knitted or crocheted well I tried to crochet and never got my tension correct
    when i can quit working for a living I want to join a group like your knitting group and learn
    I better be saving my money up for that huge yarn because that is what i want to use LOL

  15. Your shawl came out beautiful. I love the colors in the yarn. It's a wonderful ministry and you'll never know how many people will be blessed by the work of your hands.

  16. AnnMarie this is a wonderful ministry you are involved with. What a blessing this must be to anyone going thru many of lifes challenges. God bless you and these precious ladies!

  17. grandma and i read your comment we loved how you created the blog and put our knitting group. from grace


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