TERRE HAUTE —
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence” were the first few words on the plaque next to baby Bristol as she sat quietly in her stroller while her grandmother, Jennifer Long, knitted beside her.
The words from Max Erhmann’s famous prose, “Desiderata,” seemed a fitting backdrop for the activity.
Knitting is usually a solo, silent activity, but Long and baby Bristol had plenty of company on Monday — a sculpture of Max Ehrmann included — at the World Wide Knit in Public Day, an annual knitter-run event, locally coordinated by Martha Crossen, owner of River Wools.
Surrounded by sounds from passing vehicles and under the warm midday sun, a small group of local knitters from various backgrounds and age groups gathered at the corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue in downtown Terre Haute for a chance to get together and meet one another, a stitch at a time.
This may be the official reason for the event, but those who came to the event had personal reasons for knitting.
“It is a way of giving a bit of yourself to somebody else,” said Judy Hamilton, who was working on a project for her 6-week old grandson.
Long, who learned to knit eight years ago, also knits “for the satisfaction of making something.” She held up a colorful yarn that she is using to make a washcloth for Bristol.
Others knit for charity. Naomi Miller and Deborah Clayton, members of a local church’s yarn ministry, said they regularly knit for sick people in local hospitals.
But during the event, Miller said, she is knitting a sweater for herself.
Some people knit for even deeper reasons.
“Everbody has the need to create,” Hamilton said.
Barbara Wilkinson, another participant, is still creating at 92 years old. Despite suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, she said she intends to finish a blue sweater that she started years ago.
Wilkinson said she taught herself how to knit. When her son was born in 1952, her new skill came in handy in creating items for him.
But others are not self-taught.
Crossen said her mom taught her how to knit, and she has enjoyed it ever since.
“I like to have busy hands,” she said.
Another participant, Kathy Hackleman, started knitting 60 years ago after being taught by her aunt.
“Knitting is relaxing,” she said.
At the plaza, Hackleman was knitting with a purple yarn, which looked to be the beginnings of a “mystery project” for the group.
The project was in process at the event and will continue over the next several weeks to give knitters a chance to add to it, Crossen said.
The mystery project is set to be unveiled at the downtown block party scheduled for Aug. 24.
Tribune-Star reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.