The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

February 22, 2013

TIGHT KNIT

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The growing creative corridor in the village’s downtown business district is home to a supportive community of hardcore knitters.

A Knitters Corner owner Erin Karnatz said her West Center Street shop is a place where a group of several dozen regulars come together to work on their projects and socialize over a shared passion.

That was evident Wednesday, when a group gathered to cozily work on scarves, sweaters and socks away from the windy winter evening. A feeling of collective energy fed from the rhythmic action happening around a table in the middle of the shop’s main room.

“We are very supportive of one another,” said Karnatz, whose mom Cheryl and son Rowan were among those working on projects Wednesday. “We’re productive, it’s nice to have something to do.”

While knitting appeals to broad spectrum of tastes, with traditionalists and modern techniques, there is a common thread connecting many of the shop’s regulars, who come to Medina from miles around.

“We have a lot of teachers and nurses,” Karnatz said while running down a list of the most-frequent customers and workshop attendees.

“It’s stress relief,” Lois Donovan, a teacher at Wise Middle School, explained.

The business was launched in 2002 by Jennifer Bansbach at a spot in Millville before moving to the R.H. Newell Building in Medina three years later.

Karnatz, who became a partner in the business following the move and took over the shop last year, said there’s a boost of excitement each time new supply of yarn comes in.

“That’s the fun part, all the colors and textures,” Karnatz said before a towering shelves packed with color. “I like ordering new yarns and opening the boxes when they come in.”

Karnatz noted the explosion in new varieties of yarn has created opportunities for all kinds of projects. While the best wool had to be imported from Scotland 60 years ago, new mixtures of all kinds of fibers, from locally-grown alpaca wool to cotton blends are now available on short notice.

“We think of it like a candy store,” said Donovan, who worked on a sock made of a brilliantly multi-colored yarn Wednesday. “You can’t come in without wanting to get something new.”

Karnatz enjoys bringing new techniques and styles to her tight-knit friends. The store hosts a monthly free class showcasing a different technique.

“Knitters want to learn new techniques and use new yarns,” Cheryl Karnatz said. “Knitting is from everyone, from beginners to those who’ve done it for years.”

For Erin, the nearing of a new class leads to starting on another project of indefinite length. Saturday’s class is on knitting backwards, that is, being able to move from left to right and then right to left without having to turn the project around.

“If I start something it can take a year because I’m bouncing to a new thing,” Karnatz explained. “Once I conquer something, I know I can do it and start on the next project.”

The class starts at 10 a.m. but will run all day, Karnatz said, because some attendees spend hours learning the techniques and working with friends. That’s a common occurrence.

”It’s like a family, they support each other when they come in with their problems or just want to talk,” Karnatz said. “It feels good that there’s a comfort level.”

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.