There is something rather wonderful about stepping out on a sunny Sunday morning and heading over to meet up with like-minded crafters and passionate people who just love to knit. So I found myself in the Victoria Public House in East London, with a peppermint tea and complimentary plate of multi-coloured meringues. There I met up with Aneeta Patel, a skilled teacher, writer and knitter. Aneeta’s books Knitty Gritty – Knitting for the Absolute Beginner and the sequel, Knitty Gritty – The Next Steps have inspired and aided new knitters to dive in and learn to love knitting. We sat down and had a little chat.

How long have you been knitting?

Well, I’ve been knitting for years and then I started teaching knitting in 2003. I decided to go to a knitting group and discovered that there was no-one to help with any knitting issues that arose. Some knitters are quite introvert and don’t speak up when they need help. I realised there was space for a group dedicated to helping people. So, in 2005, I decided to set up my own group – it would be a place where people can knit together and share knowledge, as well as gossip, of course. I called the group Knitting SOS: it would be a place where people could get knitting help for free!

Why do you think knitting groups are so successful?

Not everyone wants to learn by watching tutorials on the internet. Some people like to sit down with a magazine or a book. Others value the face-to-face contact a knitting group brings.

Do you still enjoy knitting in the summer?

Summer is the best time to knit, because of the yarn shop sales. It’s also a good time to plan those Christmas presents that want to make!

Other members of the group were equally enthusiastic about getting together.

Tracy really values Aneeta’s expertise: “It was through Aneeta’s guidance that I started knitting scarves. She also inspired me to move on to socks! She convinced me that I could achieve this new challenge. The first pair is always difficult, but with support it gets easier. Socks also make brilliant Christmas presents. If I did not have Aneeta here I would not have developed my knitting technique.”

There certainly seems a sense of comradeship at the Knitting SOS group and it is clear that the regulars who attend don’t just turn up for the tea and chat.

Do you belong to a knitting group? Why not share your thoughts with us.