When Susie Wicker, 61, of Mount Airy first joined the Mount Airy Knitters — a social knitting group in the town — in 2005, she had barely finished her first scarf.
Each week the more advanced members of the group, which has about 20 active members, helped Wicker to master the skill.
“They were very glad to help you work through a problem,” Wicker said.
Now, seven years later, the self-described “experienced knitter” has not only gained the skills to make everything from socks to sweaters, but several friends as well.
“I not only learned to knit, but I have become obsessed with it,” she said. “And I really made some great friends who I never would have come across.”
The group meets every Wednesday at Mount Airy Town Hall to work on personal knitting projects, teach each other knitting techniques and just unwind, said Toni Minkel, 68, of Mount Airy, the group’s leader.
Minkel, who began knitting when she was 10, started the group in 2004 with about three members meeting at the Mount Airy branch of the Carroll County Public Library. But, by 2008, the group had grown too large for the building.
“The library only allows about 10 people,” Minkel said. “We grew to about 20 of us ... [so] town hall said we could use their space [without cost].”
Minkel said that group — which also includes members who crochet — has become something for its members to look forward to.
“We’ve really just become a pretty close-knit group,” she said. “It’s a place to go and get away and not worry about anything. It’s a good time. ... We have several people that won’t miss it.”
“[Wednesday] is my favorite day of the week,” Wicker said. “Our benefit [from the group] is that we have good friends who get together under this common thread of knitting. We have real friendships that carry outside of the knitting group.”
Soon the group will have its annual Christmas luncheon, when they will exchange knitting related gifts, while sharing a meal at Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge in Rockville.
“We’ve had the luncheon for several years ... it’s just something fun,” Minkel said. “The gifts are usually yarn or knitting needles.”
Most of the time the knitters use their time each week to work on personal projects, but some also work on projects to benefit local nonprofit organizations and hospitals.
For the past five years the group has also worked to make lap blankets for Lorien Mount Airy, a senior living community in the town. Last year, the group made between 12 and 20 blankets for the community during the fall season, Wicker said.
The knitters also have a session every Friday at the Starbucks, at 400 E. Ridgeville Blvd., mostly attended by members who work full-time. Minkel said in the past there have been up to 50 people at the Friday session.
“We welcome new people,” she said.
Those interested in joining the group can call 301-829-2348.