Meeting keeps these ladies in stitches

By Regina Villiers. Originally published October 13, 2004 in The Suburban Life, added October 15, 2020.

The Extremities Knitting Circle meets each month at Madeira Library. Members of the circle include: front row – Pat Revis of Kenwood Julie Robinson of Indian Hill, Lois Weitzel of Madeira, Anita Campbell of Blanchester and Brenda Hug of Indian Hill; back row – Patty Shryock of Madeira, Robin Dunkin-Chadwick of Wyoming, Jan Avedissian of Versilles Ind. Laura Bauman of Madisonville, and Cathy Czubek of Batavia.

     Lois Weitzel of Madeira has been knitting since World War II.  That’s a lot of knitting and purling, a lot of years ago.

     “Well, I started early,” she said.  “I learned to knit as a pre-teen.” And an impish smile lit up her face.

     Actually, Lois was already working at a job during World War II, and she knitted for the Red Cross in her spare time.  She lived in Chicago then and worked in industrial labs.  The items she knitted for the Red Cross to send to World War II servicemen were scarves, V-necked sweaters and Navy watch caps. She has no estimate of how many she knitted.  “There were lots of them,” she said.

     Lois is a member of the Extremities, a knitting circle that meets once a month at Madeira Library.  Thirty-five to 40 members meet the second Wednesday evening of each month.  They begin showing up about 6p.m. and stay until the library closes.

     According to group leader, Laura Bauman, the purpose of the group is two-fold.  They’re serious about knitting, but it’s social too.  Much like women at Colonial quilting bees, they enjoy getting together.

     “We help each other, and we trade patterns,” Laura said.  “We just have fun.”

     There are expert knitters in the group, and there are beginners.  “We welcome beginners,” Laura said.

     Patty Shryock barely looked up as I tried to interview her.  A fellow knitter sat beside her, over seeing her work.  “ I don’t mean to unfriendly,” Patty told me, “but I have to finish this before the library closes, while I have help.”

     Although they insist that they welcome beginners, I did not notice “beginner” projects, as I circulated through the group.

     Anita Campbell was helping a knitter with a complicated pattern that had “expert” written all over it.  Anita’s mother, Bonita Davis, is vice president of the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati, where she teaches tatting classes, among other things.

     The Extremities is an outgrowth of the Weavers Guild.

     Brenda Hug, from Indian Hill, taught me something new before I’d even whipped out my notebook, she taught me about felting and the making of felted hats.  She was knitting a huge, oversized hat on large needless. It looked as if it might fit a gigantic basket instead of a human head.  She explained that the finished hat would be washed in extremely hot water, which would soften and shrink the woolen fibers.  Then the soggy mess would be shaped over a hat form, where it would dry in the shape of the form.

     She had a hat already finished, a dark green felt one, with an upturned brim, which fit perfectly and looked smashing.

     Laura Bauman was also working on a felted hat.  Laura lives in Madisonville.

     The knitters hail from all over the area.  Jan Avedissain, a retired teacher, comes all the way from Versailles, Ind. She comes for the knitting and then spends the night with her daughter who lives in Madeira.

      It’s a loose group, a beehive of activity and chatter.  As they knit two, purl two, they visit and laugh.  They come, and they go.  It was impossible to get the all in the room at one time for a photo.  Patty Shryock insisted she didn’t have time to get her picture taken.  She had to finish that sweater, she said.

     The group does have one serious project. During the year, each knits a pair of mittens, which are donated to a school at Christmas.

     Mostly, though, they just knit for fun.  They’re a group of friends who gather each month to knit one, purl two.  They are “girls” who just want to have fun.