A tight-knit community: A new pastime many are taking up during the COVID-19 pandemic

A hobby can be a big mood booster and during a lockdown, it’s a great time to pick one up and try something new.

So, why not weave.

If you’re looking to pick up a pandemic pastime, how about knitting. All you need is a ball of yarn and a pair of needles, which can be purchased for less than $20.

"Knitting is a lot of fun," says Judy Enright-Smith, owner of Wabi Sabi, which has all the essentials required to knit, crochet, rug hook and a seemingly endless range of yarn colours to choose.

"You don’t want to start with something plain because you’ll get bored really quickly. We suggest starting with some cotton yarn, which is about $4 a ball and some thicker needles because you are going to make mistakes."

Enright-Smith suggests a washcloth is a good choice. It’s small, square, will not take too long to complete and feel a great deal of satisfaction when it’s complete.

The shop also offers a free learn-to-knit tutorial online and once you get the hang of a 'cast-off' and 'pearl stitch', there are a variety of online courses from beginner to advanced. There is also a virtual knit-along, where everyone joins a virtual conference to make items such as socks and sweaters.

Knitting, as well as crochet, has increased in popularity throughout the pandemic. Enright-Smith says since its onset in March 2020, her store has seen a bump in sales.

"It wasn’t so much new knitters, it was people who were getting reacquainted with knitting," says Enright-Smith. "They had knitted as younger people and thought this might be an interesting time to take it up again but we can’t forget the crochet people out there, we also offer those classes."

Avid knitter Heather Crysdale says there are an abundance of patterns online. Ravelry.com is a popular website which offers a variety of free projects and as virtual community groups to show and share creations, and talk, which can be comforting as well.

"It’s very meditative and relaxing," says Crysdale. "I’ve made a few things during the pandemic, three sweaters. I made some COVID-19 viruses, I made 19 of them as a fundraiser for Cornerstone and I’ve made Easter eggs out of cotton. I made Christmas balls with a knit-along from Norway, all kinds of fun stuff. As long as it requires needles and yarn, I’m in business."

Enright-Smith says practice makes perfect, lessons definitely help and to not give up.

"Yes, you will get better," says Enright-Smith. "Don’t get disillusioned at first, just keep on trying and you’ll do great."