Adventures in knitting

Published 11:03 pm Thursday, April 14, 2011

Red Purl Knitting Shop in Niles makes the pasttime more entertaining than antiquated. The shop offers a beginner’s class for all ages. Photo by Kelsey Davis


Blue Star Highway

I was on week two of a severe flu I’d happened to catch this season, but my first knitting class had arrived and I was not about to let a temperature, possible strep throat or a blinding headache stop me from getting my knit on.

So I dragged myself out of bed and through the freezing rain to be greeted by the charming atmosphere as I walked through the door at Red Purl Knitting Shop in downtown Niles. Purl, the shop’s friendly red healer dog, gave me a welcoming sniff as I settled in with my group of girl friends and a few other ladies to start on this adventure called Beginner’s Knitting class.

Now, if you don’t think of knitting typically as an adventure, then you are just knitting at the wrong place. Red Purl is a beautiful gem in this area, with a vintage feel, warm colorful yarns lining the walls and smiling faces from other knitters in the community that welcome you every time you step inside.

We started off by deciding on what project we would be starting with; for my girlfriends and me, the cowl really intrigued us. So in my cold-induced haze I wandered around the store searching for materials for my first knitting project. This mostly involved me looking at all the pretty colors and textures since I had no other knowledge yet of what I was looking for in a yarn.

Once we decided on yarn and needles to use to begin this endeavor, I decided on a sea foam blue yarn and hand-painted needles with yellow fish, we sat there all anxiously awaiting and thinking, “now what?” We fumbled with the needles to get a comfortable feel for them in our hands while we watched instructions on how to begin our projects.

Since I am a very visual person this was a difficult beginning for me. If I watched the beginning steps from any other angle than what it looked like in front of me, then I was completely lost. But our instructor, Amy, was extremely patient and didn’t mind us asking the same questions several times. She is an amazing person and really made the experience so much more enjoyable.

Beginning this project was challenging for me that day. Being as sick as I was, I just completely lacked the concentration level I needed to have it come easily. It was like trying to learn sign language while having a pillowcase over your head as someone is using your head for a drum in a marching band during a parade. In other words — difficult.

But with Amy’s help with the 7-year-old Sabrina, who came to class with her grandmother, things started to make sense with a little rhyme.

“In through the front door, once around the back, peek through the window, and off jumps Jack!” Thankfully this little nursery rhyme helped me keep things straight when logic and reason had left me. About three-fourths the way through our class, things started to get quiet.

And quiet, Amy told us, is a good thing in a beginner’s class. Because that means we’re finally getting it.

Red Purl Knitting Shop is located at 207 North Second St., Niles. It can be reached at (269) 684-0411. Visit the shop online at