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culture

Crafters Take Over Transit for Charity on Annual TTC Knitalong

Knitters take steamy weather and streetcar detours in stride as they raise money for women’s agency Sistering.

TTC Knitalong Team Green

TTC Knitalong Team Green.

Seventy-five intrepid knitters and crocheters braved soaring temperatures and transit tie-ups on Saturday for the fourth annual TTC Knitalong. It wasn’t just recreational crafting though: participants raised more than $1,200 for Sistering, a women’s agency serving homeless, marginalized, and low-income women in Toronto. The fibre arts fans traveled around the city to visit new and favourite yarn shops, enjoy exclusive discounts, and take over buses, streetcars, transit shelters, and subway cars to publicly show off their love for their craft.

Torontoist was embedded with Team Green, and journeyed from Lettuce Knit in Kensington Market to the Knit Café on Queen West, then east to the Purple Purl at Queen and Jones, and back to the legendary Romni Wools, before the members of all six teams converged at the Rivoli for an afterparty filled with fun, prizes, and much-needed rehydration. (Other shops participating in the TTC Knitalong included Passionknit, Mary Maxim, Knitomatic, and Americo Original.)

“You have to be dedicated if you’re going to pull out the needles and knit during the summer, especially in this weather” said Green Team captain Elizabeth Marsh. “But this is a terrific event, and it’s for a very worthy cause. The teams always fill up quickly and there’s always a waiting list.”

“Sistering has done so much for disadvantaged women all over Toronto, and the Knitalong has been a great way to give back,” added co-captain Glenna Harris. Harris and Marsh were just two of the 13 volunteers who organized the TTC Knitalong under the leadership of Knitalong veterans Michelle Hotchin and Joyce Poon.

“The monies raised include not only participant registrations, but also contributions from many generous knitting community retailers,” said Harris. “Together, they help ensure that the agency can continue to provide the kind of programs and services that help women improve their lives.”

TTC Knitalong - Knitters in the Sun

Team Green waits for a streetcar. And waits, and waits.

As we in Team Green wound our way through the city, many of the stores greeted us with snacks and refreshments, loot bags, raffles, and giveaways, all to encourage the group ever onward in the daylong yarn crawl. The rail replacement at the corner of Queen and Spadina made for some lengthy detours in the streetcar routes, but this just led to more knitting, more socializing, and more bemused looks from innocent bystanders.

In keeping with the event’s charitable theme, Knitalong team members also took the opportunity to make eight-inch knit and crocheted squares for the Knit-a-Square project, which assembles the squares into blankets for AIDS orphans in Africa.

Although the TTC Knitalong is finished for this year, donations can be made directly to Sistering via its website.

Photos by Glenna Harris.

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