It’s like being in a private living room. Step off the elevator on the third floor at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and the knitters of The Arbors Independent Living are waiting to greet you warmly.
Especially if you are ready to pick up a needle and yarn.
The knitting club at The Arbors meets once a week, and when they get rolling, it’s 50-50 as to whether they’ll stop for a 2 p.m. activity or keep going.
The leader of the pack is Joyce, who taught knitting while she worked for the Village Stitchery in Newport News for 10 years.
She started knitting at age 9. “You know, you pick it up on and off,” she said.
But the title of fastest knitter, Joyce says, is 95-year-old Doris.
“I’m a fast lady,” she says with a grin.
There are typically about five or six women who gather to knit together and get advice on their projects from Joyce. The open sitting area has comfy furniture, a large window and two bookshelves with containers full of yarn and other knitting materials.
Joyce said they have been meeting for four years, since she moved into The Arbors.
Doris has been an Arbors resident for five years. She is making hats to be donated to Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters (CHKD).
During a recent meeting, Doris was redoing a child’s scarf to go with a hat she already made. She was unsatisfied with her first attempt and said she ripped the stitching apart to start over.
She learned to knit from her mother, who was “good at everything.”
Doris also can sew and embroider. But it was The Arbors group that drew her back into knitting.
“Joyce got me on it (at The Arbors),” Doris said, “taught me more stuff than I know.”
Teaching & Persistence
Doris said neither of her daughters knit. Joyce added her granddaughters do, but like it when she corrects their mistakes because “then I finish the row.”
She has been giving Pat tips on her afghan, which she has been working on for about a year.
“I’m persistent if nothings else,” Pat said. She found the perfect colors of yarn for it so it matches her apartment décor.
“I learned to knit and sew years ago and then took a break,” she said. The group at The Arbors drew her back into it.
Joyce recently made a blanket in bright pink yarn for her soon-to-be great-granddaughter.
There are about four to five consistent group members, though others will pop in, depending on what’s going on, Joyce said.
Doris added that it’s the people who keep her going. And activity director Ora Williams, who is learning to knit with the group.
“She has so much energy, she makes me have the energy,” Doris said.