Where to join free knitting groups on LI

It's knitting nights at yarn/needle stores across Long

It's knitting nights at yarn/needle stores across Long Island in which knitters gather to socialize while they knit. Susan Klingener and Judy Lambert share a laugh at Knit in Roslyn. (Jan 4, 2012) (Credit: Bruce Gilbert)

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Karen Joelson of Port Washington props her foot on a large table. The nine other women huddled around the work space at Knit, a yarn shop in Roslyn, drop their needles and lean in to admire her handmade emerald sock -- particularly the toe shaping.

This is standard at Knit Night, a free monthly gathering where knitters can work on projects, sharing snacks, advice and most of all, laughs. "It's informal. It's social," says Joelson, 60. "It's similar to the old quilting bees."

The table is littered with balls of yarn -- aubergine, red, multicolored -- and half-empty plastic cups of merlot (a special treat for the New Year). "The real reason why we're here is called obsession," says Meryle Greenberg, 56, of Oceanside. "For yarn and for needles."

WHAT TO EXPECT

Knit Night is open to knitters of all levels. There isn't formal instruction, but teachable moments come, nonetheless, as attendees offer solutions and suggestions.

That's how Susan Klingener, 54, of Westbury, learned a "magic loop" technique while knitting socks. "In this group, someone knows how to do everything," she says. "And everybody shares what they learned."

The space is rife with inspiration and eye candy. Fat skeins of wool and cashmere yarn fill floor-to-ceiling cubbies. Ivory baby blankets hang on display. Trendy scarves with ribbons of fiber flitter near the entrance.

WORKING -- AND SOCIALIZING

Conversation is just as engaging. Elizabeth Novak, 57, of Oceanside learned to knit in Peru -- much to the group's surprise -- where the practice was part of her elementary school curriculum. Talk also moves to how passion for knitting and yarn collecting would make a great reality TV show. Denise Sterzel, 63, of Glen Head already has a name: "Yarn Crawlers!" she shouts. The table explodes in laughter.

"We could go out to dinner, but that's boring," says Kim Strauss, 28, of Rego Park, who had sushi delivered to the store. It sits on a table alongside chocolate-covered strawberries and shortbread cookies. Some, like Rachel Carmichael, rarely even look down at their projects while talking. Her hands remember the movements.

"I would not do something very complicated at a knit night ... because I'd be looking at the pattern instead of talking to my friends," says Carmichael, 58, of Port Washington. "You can make a lot of friends this way."

Knit

WHEN | WHERE 6:30-9 p.m. Feb. 1 and every first Wednesday of the month, 1353 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn

INFO 516-625-5648, knitlongisland.com

ADMISSION Free

More tight-knit groups

Knitting gatherings in stores across Long Island abound. In lieu of formal instruction, participants share tips, inspiration and oftentimes snacks.

Although the events are gratis, etiquette is to purchase material for your projects at the store.

The Knitting Corner

WHEN | WHERE 5-8 p.m. Thursdays, 718 New York Ave., Huntington

INFO 631-421-2660

The Village Knitter

WHEN | WHERE 6-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, 57 W. Main St., Babylon

INFO 631-321-7378, villageknitter.com

The Knitting Cove

WHEN | WHERE 6:30- 8:30 p.m. every fourth Thursday, 218 E. Main St., Port Jefferson. Reservations required the Monday before knit night.

INFO 631-473-2121, theknittingcove.com

Infinite Yarns Inc.

WHEN | WHERE 7-9 p.m. Fridays, 34 Hempstead Tpke., Farmingdale

INFO 516-293-0010, infiniteyarns.com

Keep Me in Stitches Yarn & Bead Boutique

WHEN | WHERE Noon-4 p.m. Sundays, 127-14 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset

INFO 631-724-8111, kmisyarns.com

Yarns on Berry Hill

WHEN | WHERE 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays, 39 Berry Hill Rd., Syosset

INFO 516-364-1514, yarnsonberryhill.com

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