If you’re looking for something fun and social, a craft group may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the secretary of the Northern Tablelands Group of Knitters’ Guild NSW, Ingrid Chaku, wants people to know that their group is different.
The Knitters’ Guild of NSW has been around since 1986, with a chief aim to encourage people to get involved in the craft of hand knitting and crocheting.
Since its early days, it has expanded to 26 separate guild groups. The Northern Tablelands Group is one of these and is currently calling Armidale home.
“Our branch came about because a couple of knitters and crocheters had nothing to do one night in the middle of the week,” Ms Chaku said.
They have stuck with this night-time meeting schedule, with currently around 8 regular members attending. Ms Chaku has high hopes however, that their group will begin to grow, as many others have across NSW.
“We are an evening group so people who have commitments all day can come and have a drink or a meal and talk about their craft, but we hope to grow like some of the other 25 branches of the Guild which have split and cater for day and night groups, knitting and crochet groups.”
This is where Ms Chaku feels that the Knitters Guild of NSW offers a strong point of difference to other knitting and craft groups. The Guild offers its members not only the opportunity to learn or improve their knitting skills but also the chance to be a part of a highly social group.
“We’re not your average craft group – we can take part in the state-wide Guild’s activities, such as conferences, Zoom lessons, an educational program, a cruise and a camp.”
As a collective, the group also has some proven skills, taking out first place in their category at the Armidale show for three years in a row. This year’s winning entry was a teddy bear’s picnic-themed display, but previous years have featured vegetables in a barrow, and fish in an aquarium.
Ms Chaku says these kinds of activities are vital to the group’s success and provide and hone skills that are highly applicable to everyday life.
“We’ve learned so much about working together – listening to ideas, choosing the best option, quality control and managing tight timeframes.”
It’s not all about just making pretty things either, the group is also known for its charitable work. Knitters have come together in the past to donate hats to sailors, rugs to flood victims and ANZAC poppies to feature in commemorative events.
The real joy in it all according to Ms Chaku is the reaction from the public.
“We love seeing people’s reaction to the finished items – especially the reactions of children.”
When asked what plans the group has for the rest of 2024, Ms Chaku tells us that planning is already well underway for next year’s entry for the Armidale Show.
“The vision for next year’s Show entry is developing nicely.”
She also says that they are hoping to plan some more dedicated activities outside of the regular meetings, with a workshop, and some guest speakers in the planning stages for later in the year.
If joining the guild spikes your interest, Ms Chaku tells us that new members of all ages and abilities are always more than welcome.
The Group’s regular monthly meetings occur on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 6 pm at the Armidale Services Club.
Locals can also keep an eye out for the group at a prominent local café in Armidale on June 10, when they will once again participate in Worldwide Knit in Public Day.
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