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Knitting circles, knitting clubs, and knit cafes have been around for a while. They’re part of what makes knitting meaningful for many fiber enthusiasts. People joining knitting circles meet in places like libraries, local yarn shops, workplaces, cafes, friends’ homes, and online platforms.

Social knitting conquered the online world

For knitters craving social interaction, the internet just made it easier! Social media and event platforms expanded the chances for people to find local needlecraft gatherings close to home or while they travel. Then, opportunities for online connection opened up new communal spaces in challenging times, e.g., the COVID pandemic, where many found a sense of community and a source of well-being.

But back in the day…

Knitters have been gathering for ages to combine knitting with other purposes. Building friendships, exchanging knowledge, getting mutual help, enjoying the kindness of strangers, activism, or charity—all these meld together in knitting clubs. Since at least the 1940s, social knitting gatherings were labeled Stitch ’n’ Bitch clubs, in a not very flattering nod to the needlecrafts and chattering performed predominantly by women.

old photo of women knitting while a man stands in the middle of them
Photo by Harris & Ewing(circa 1921-1923), source: US Library of Congress

Circles, clubs, cafes… and knit nights

Nowadays, many knitting circles are called Knit and Natter. The first local yarn shop opened by Aimée, the founder of yarn brand La Bien Aimée, was a knit cafe in Paris called L’OisiveThè. A cozy place where taking your needles out was as normal as ordering a double expresso or a rooibos tea. In the wonderful memoir Handywoman, the knitwear designer and author Kate Davies reminisces about her Edinburgh-based Thursday night knit group and how it deepened her craft enthusiasm and enjoyment of knitting many years before the turn of her career into becoming an entrepreneur. If you’ve participated in a knitting group or circle, you’re part of continuing a practice that has an important place and meaning in the history of craft and fiberfolks.

hands knitting and cup of tea on a table surronded by yarn
Knitting and a cup of tea at L’OisiveThè.

Much more than a night of knit and natter

So, knitting circles exist today in many formats, from walk-in groups meeting regularly in a fixed place to membership-based clubs that support closer connections. Meetings in public spaces are typically open to different needle and fiber arts, and many local yarn shops host weekly or monthly knit nights.

Some clubs started online during the pandemic and have grown until today, like the Portuguese-speaking Clube de Tricot da Maria founded by Maria (MariaG Knits), based in Portugal and open to the world. Maria hosts weekly sessions over Zoom and runs workshops and different collaborations with yarn dyers and local yarn shops.

Other membership groups are building design-interested communities with regular virtual meetings, like the Spanish-speaking YedraKnits community founded by Soraya (Yedraknits) based in Amsterdam. But Sori, a knit designer and publisher of Yedra magazine, also hosts knit-alongs (KALs) for her designs, as recently for the lovely Cadigan Anemone, where everyone is welcome to join. For those wondering whether to join a knitting circle, a KAL is a perfect way to start!

What else? Designer and teacher Cecilia Losada organizes the vibrant online Spanish-speaking club Club de Tejido. In Brazil, you can find friendly online communities in Casa da Vivi, a Vogue Knitting Live host and instructor, and in Rosiene Dilly’s club Tricô e Tal with workshops and KALs. Portuguese knitters can also meet in person at the Malharia Leiria, which happens every third Saturday of the month at the Afonso Lopes Vieira Library in Leiria, Portugal.

The creative impulse to bring knitters together is unstoppable in the fiberverse. So tell us, what’s your favorite knitting circle on your side of the globe?


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