Originally from India, Santosh Ralhan has been part of the group for several months now. Her face lights up when she shares why she likes being part of the CRC Knitting Club.
“I enjoy knitting. This group is very good, the leaders very helpful, and since I retired, this is a good skill for me to learn.”
She adds, “I have learned much about new things. I knitted a little when I was young, but it has been good to start again.”
Emalda Xavier, originally from Sri Lanka, enjoys coming to the club because she loves spending time knitting with others. She has developed a reputation for using the most colours in what she makes for herself and her grandchildren. “The teachers are very good; I love meeting other people from other cultures, and I have been able to make new friends,” she remarks.
“I originally started a knitting club at CRC in June 2005,” explains Eleanor Heinz, one of the group leaders. “Michael Blair asked me to come down and help out as a volunteer in the meal program. After a while, I learned there was a sewing group in the community. I asked these women if any of them would be interested in knitting… and that is how it started.”
During the Regent Park redevelopment, the Knitting Club was housed at Yonge Street Mission, and sometimes even at the public library. But once the CRC was in its new space, it seemed right to come back to where it all started.
In June of 2012, the CRC Knitting Club began operating again out of 40 Oaks.
“It’s nice to be back,” Eleanor smiles. “CRC’s new building has lots of space, is bright, and everyone is so friendly. It’s great to be able to meet here.”
Most of the knitters come from the surrounding community and some are tenants from 40 Oaks. Most are women, but a few men have also shown up.
“Although many start as beginners, most progress quickly and soon enjoy creating things for their grandchildren and themselves. It’s exciting to see the pleasure the people experience in their completed projects,” Eleanor adds. “Jan Richards and I offer technical skills and our co-leader, Mary Dayton (who recently followed in the footsteps of Marion Boyce), offers the soft skills that are so needed for keeping the club engaged and in conversation.”
Some knitters are regulars, some come for a while and then leave, but the club as a whole loves their weekly meetings. “They would meet every week of the year, if they could. They don’t want to take summers or holidays off,” Eleanor laughs.
“It is fun being part of all of this. I was a public health nurse in this area in the ‘60s but a lot has changed. I really enjoy the people and don’t have to travel far to experience the diversity of so many different countries,” Eleanor shares.
The CRC Knitting Club is always open to new members.
The Knitting Club welcomes volunteers who can assist in teaching knitting and crocheting.
And the Club appreciates any donations of yarn.
By Bruce Voogd, May 2013