When a knitted model of a politician in mittens goes viral, you know knitting has crossed over from Grandma’s hobby to mainstream cool. And despite Sarasota’s endless summer weather, this centuries-old craft has seen an uptick since the pandemic began.
"It's relaxing," says Susan Post, owner of A Good Yarn in south Sarasota. "With everything going on during these times, an activity that helps us relax is a good thing."
Knitting takes a lot of skill, and with so many items you can create, from a coral reef with Ariel the Little Mermaid to an elegant shawl, knowing where to start can be a challenge. You can crochet, knit or weave, and make purses, sweaters or tapestries. Fiber artists, as they like to be called, are only limited by their imagination.
A first “learn to knit” class offered by A Good Yarn lasts two hours. For newbies, Post suggests taking on a scarf project. It requires commitment. If you start a scarf, then go a month without working on it, you may end up back at square one. How long does it take to finish a scarf? “As much time as you put into it,” says Post.
Open for 11 years, A Good Yarn is home to a community of enthusiasts of all skill sets to get you going. Before the pandemic, at least 20 people would gather around a large, wooden table at the shop to share patterns, catch up and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with creating a tangible, beautiful object.
More than helping perfect a craft, it was a support group, and, for many, the winter months acted as snowbird reunions. Most participants were women, but men also joined in. They came in a pack and included a physics professor and a man who dyed his own yarn.
Amid social distancing and shutdowns, the get-togethers and classes moved to Zoom last March, during which 15 to 20 people continued to nurture connections and create beautiful textiles.
Recently, in-person classes have resumed and take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays outside the shop, in the shade of the oak trees. Just bring a chair.
A Good Yarn is located at 7222 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 108, Sarasota, and is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Call (941) 487-7914 or check out the shop's website, Facebook page or Instagram to learn more.