Knitting, gossip sessions the place for a good yarn

By Frances Morton

Tennille Guerra-Ortiz is a knitting addict.
If the fashion retailer had her way she would be permanently attached to her needles.
"There are just not enough hours in the day" she bemoaned. "Can you imagine if we didn't have to sleep? We'd get so much done."
Now the 27-year-old has set up a support group for people who share her craving for knitting.
On the first Thursday of every month, she and other young professional women gather at Queen B in Tauranga's Piccadilly Arcade for "Stitch 'n Bitch" sessions.
The women share their knitting knowledge while sitting around gossiping, hence the name Stitch 'n Bitch.
Perched on chairs with glasses of bubbly drink in the middle of Mrs Guerra-Ortiz's small clothing and accessory boutique, they knit one, goss one, purl one, sip one and repeat while R&B; tracks by artists such as Destiny's Child emanate from the stereo.
Mrs Guerra-Ortiz's fingers fly as she stitches her own designer creations but she is also happy to assist beginners who are tackling the art form.
Group member Lou Gribble took up knitting after she wandered into the shop one day and was swept up by Mrs Guerra-Ortiz's enthusiasm for the craft.
The 28-year-old from Otumoetai had vague memories of being taught by her grandmother "years ago" but few skills shone through on her first attempt.
"It was a dog's breakfast," recalled Mrs Guerra-Ortiz with a laugh.
However, Ms Gribble survived and she proudly arrived at her second knitting session declaring "Yeah, I can knit".
She pored over the latest knitting magazines and library books brought along by another keen knitter, drooling over the colourful possibilities and planning her next project - a poncho for her unborn baby.
"I've got poncho fever," she announced unashamedly.
"Luckily there are books of patterns available for people who have that disease," Mrs Guerra-Ortiz replied comfortingly.
The range of potential creations is infinite - jewellery, bags, homewares, earwarmers, pregnant tummy sashes, doggie wear and, of course, jerseys, although most beginners start on the trusty, straight-forward scarf.
Stitch 'n Bitch was started in Chicago by Debbie Stoller, who wrote the 1999 book Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook about her experiences of knitting as a young woman.
Fans of the book started the first Stitch 'n Bitch groups in the US.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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