By Brooke Keane
More often than not, when people think of knitting, they think of their grandmothers making them matching hat and scarf sets when they were small. Now imagine that same hat and scarf set today, but much, much cooler.
Pittsburgh’s fashion eye is constantly turned toward vintage, upcycled or locally made trends and more recently, knitting has become a huge margin of locally/handmade goods sold and worn around the area.
And if you want in on the handmade knitting trend, no worries, there are tons of stores and clubs in and around the city that offer classes and help with everything from learning the basics, to providing you with a knitting buddy.
Hours: Sun 12 p.m – 4 p.m.; Mon 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Tues and Thurs 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Wed, Fri, Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tucked between a daycare center and a European deli on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill is a store front filled with scarves and sweaters, but step inside of Knit One and you’ll find spool after spool after spool of yarn, just waiting to be turned into a scarf or a sweater. More than just yarn and needles though, Knit One offers classes on everything from knitting “fair isle” patterns to purling and finishing for $25 per two-hour class. If you need a little extra help, private lessons can also be arranged with one of the shop’s instructors. Once you’ve got it down, you can join one of Knit One’s free knitting groups which are offered five days a week with Sunday’s group catered to making hats for charity and Thursday’s group reserved for new moms. Check Knit One’s website for a full listing of classes and times.
Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Wed, Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Over in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood lies the Disneyland of knitting. Natural Stitches prides themselves on carrying the widest selection of man made and natural fibers in every color imaginable, along with all the knitting accessories you could ever potentially need. Luxury fibers and top quality needles are also carried as some of knitting’s more high-end products. Also offered is a massive selection of classes for every age and difficulty level. They range from classes for kids and beginners to classes for Sci-Fi geeks, knitting for the soul and a men’s night, as well as classes for specific projects. Cost for the classes ranges from $20 to $35 dollars and you must register at least 48 hours in advance. Natural Stitches also encourages knitters of all levels to stop by, hang out and knit at any time during normal business hours. A calendar of classes, including costs and descriptions can be found on their website, or just by stopping in.
Hours: Tues, Thurs 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Wed 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Fri to Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Dyed in the Wool is like most other knitting stores. Carrying a wide selection of needles and yarn in all colors and providing a friendly, cozy atmosphere for knitters in the area, with one small exception, Dyed in the Wool’s products mostly come from women-owned businesses; they like to think of themselves as “a women’s playroom.” The small space is occupied by lots of yarn and a space for fellow knitters to meet, chat and offer help. Also offered are classes almost every night of the week, some focusing on single projects and are economically priced at just $10 a class. So next time you’re traveling through the North Hills on your way to JoAnn Fabrics, take a detour and stop at Dyed in the Wool instead.
Because of the popularity of knitting in Pittsburgh, the city also boasts several large knitting guilds and groups as well as a popular knit and crochet festival, not to mention the bevy of art festivals that pop up around the city year long, showcasing some of the best knits (and knitters) that you can find. So don’t be left out in the cold on one of Pittsburgh’s best trends, that way the next time your friend shows you her awesome new scarf, you can offer to make her a better one, if she’d like.
Brooke Keane acquired a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Pittsburgh’s Point Park University where she served in several editorial positions on school weekly, The Globe. Since graduating, Brooke has blogged for online vintage clothing boutique Crazy Hot Clothes and tried her hand at some freelance work. First a writer and then a fashion-lover, Brooke can be found spending time at the mall, when she doesn’t have her nose buried in an AP Stylebook.