Knot just for knitters

lifestyle magazine online london

"Shop offers creative outlet"

“Open, airy, well laid out and informative,” is how loyal customer Heather Neveu describes the ambience at Little Red Mitten, which occupies a two-storey repurposed heritage house near the Jumbo statue in St. Thomas.

Owner Joan Janes’ incredible array of yarns and notions make good use of the building’s original rooms.

Community is a big part of knitting, and one of the rooms does double duty on Wednesday afternoons and Friday evenings when knitters gather to work and chat.

“It’s one of the most important things about this place,” Janes says.

Upstairs is an office, yarn storage and a classroom. Janes is certified as a Master Knitter with the Knitting Guild Association and has logged in over 1,600 hours of teaching time at Little Red Mitten. Staff member Linda Elkins teaches rigid heddle weaving.

Knitting has many mental and physical benefits, and, says Janes, “it is definitely entertaining.”

Janes has seen an upsurge in knitting since the late 1990s. She credits the internet with turning a younger generation on to it. Chat rooms and question sharing sites have caused an explosion in knitting knowledge.

“Making is cool,” says Janes. “Contemporary knitters are rebelling against ready-made as they long for the fabulous feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing it yourself.”

The texture and colour of yarns also gives one an incentive to knit. Janes sees similarities between knitting and pointillism as both employ distinct dots of colour to paint a picture.

As to what her motivation is, Joan Janes says: “I wouldn’t be near as happy at a baseball game if I didn’t have my knitting.”