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It’s about stitching together

 

The women enjoyed shaded comfort under one of the Sleepy Hole Park shelters on Saturday afternoon. Each of them twiddled with their needles and yarn of numerous colors, some making socks and other scarves.

They talked about everything from singing and watching Broadway shows to John C. Reilly’s comedic chops in “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

“We like to pick projects that we can do mindlessly so we can talk and knit without worrying about missing stitches,” said Lianne Hedden, 31, with her deep-purple sunglasses and bright-blue hat in the making.

More than 20 women visited the park for a Worldwide Knit in Public Day meetup organized by Meghan Cosby, 27, owner of the Stitch Please yarn arts store that will debut around the corner this July. They sat at their tables and worked on their latest endeavors as they laughed in the spring heat.

Knitters meet at Sleepy Hole Park on Saturday to hang out in the sunshine while counting stiches and rows. The Worldwide Knit in Public Day meetup was held by Stich Please, a new yarn arts store on Bennetts Pasture Road that will open mid-July. From left, Pam Joyner, Barbara Saunders, Laura Mullin, Tina Tapley, Stich Please owner Meghan Cosby, Arlene Sayman, Lianne Hedden, Taylor Nattress and Maggie Morris Fears.

Megan-Drew Tiller, 26, of Newport News, was knitting a scarf to get a head-start on Christmas presents this year. Next to her was Ivor resident Pam Joyner, 65, who had a patriotic red, white and blue scarf twirling between her fingers.

Joyner has been knitting for 57 years, because she finds it stress-relieving and relaxing. Maggie Morris Fears, 43, will hit 20 years of yarn work this October and has also found the hobby useful, especially when she’s stuck in traffic.

“I always keep something with me, because I’ll never know when I’ll have the time,” Fears said. One of her recent accomplishments was a faded dark-green sweater with detailed Celtic symbols in purple and gray, made from yarn she purchased during her 2003 trip to Scotland.

Laura Mullin, 35, was stitching together a rainbow-polka-dot blanket at the request of her 5-year-old son, Henry. She taught herself the basics in about six months using YouTube tutorial videos.

“My husband is away for work a lot, and I needed something to do in the evenings that wasn’t just mindless television,” Mullin said as she took a “hank” of loose and sparkly blue-and-black yarn and rolled it into a ball. “Laundry seemed very Sisyphean. At least with this I can create something.”

Mullin started her own knitting group that meets weekly at Tradition Brewing Company in Newport News called “Pints and Pearl” and many of the women at the park knew each other through those meetups, including Cosby, who hopes to create that same atmosphere at her own store.

Stitch Please will open at 5501 Bennetts Pasture Road in mid-July with group knitting every Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. Cosby was partly motivated because of the few options for knitters to find high-quality materials that they could feel before they buy, a sentiment shared by Chesapeake-resident Arlene Sayman, 55.

“I’m not going to drive to Newport News or Virginia Beach to buy my yarn,” Sayman said.

Knitters are busy working and raising families and need a store that’s conveniently located with longer hours of operation, Cosby said. She’s experienced this frustration first-hand while raising her 4-year-old twins, Leona and Sophia.

“It’s not just to buy yarn, but also to hang out and be part of a community,” she said. “I’ve got this cool vintage furniture for the front of the store where people can sit, have coffee and tea and just enjoy themselves. And touch all the yarn, that’s the biggest thing.”