By LINDSAY CAREY
A church in Southington is calling all knitters and crocheters to participate in its first ever 12 hour “Knit-A-Thon”.
The First Congregational Church will be holding the event on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Church member Linda Valencis said the “Knit-A-Thon” has a three-fold purpose. The goals are for event goers to take away some spiritual enrichment, have the opportunity to give back to the community, and also just have some fun.
Valencis said that she was encouraged to organize the event by FCC Pastor Linda Fernandes-Bailey.
“We were talking about spiritual outreach to the community and she suggested I put something together since I have a background in planning events and knitting is just fun,” said Valencis.
Some members of FCC often make prayer shawls, which are garments someone will create and pray over before giving away. The pieces made at the “Knit-A-Thon” will be prayed over at the event.
Enthusiastic about the outreach program, Valencis said Pastor Fernandes-Bailey began to look through the Bible and found a few passages using the word “knit.”
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love,” says Colossians 2:2.
Valencis said she and the pastor are hoping this will be a pilot program and if the turnout is good, it could become a bi-monthly program.
The “Knit-A-Thon” is also a community-based event, because everything that is made will be donated primarily to Southington Community Services and some will go to the Prudential Crandall House in Connecticut.
“I thought I would really like to be involved with knitting items for the more vulnerable in our society,” said Valencis. “I wanted to make sure everything was going to people in the community who really need it and Southington Community Services promised us that. It’s a reminder of how fortunate we all are.”
She also said that her own love of knitting influenced her idea.
“There are a lot of knitters and we’re all fanatic about our knitting,” said Valencis. “There’s been a resurgence of knitting lately in about 2009. Celebrities are knitting and then there’s Pinterest and the stuff out there is just really inspiring.”
Valencis said she often refers to a knitting forum, which is an online community of knitters all over the world. She also said one person on the forum who moved from Meriden to Florida and will be sending in her contribution.
If the church does another “Knit-A-Thon” in the future, Valencis said it may consider incorporating Skype to video chat with other knitters who would like to participate.
“There are many ways for this to grow and it’s going to be really fun,” said Valencis.
The “Knit-A-Thon” will ideally be an opportunity for networking among others with this hobby.
“There’s always a new stitch that you can learn from someone else,” said Valencis. “We have some wonderful knitters.”
Packets of information about knitting will be available at the event for beginners. The event is also open to all ages. Valencis said she invited a nine year old girl who is known as a “crocheting wiz.”
“I’m hoping she comes because it’s a good thing for kids to learn at an early age, giving back,” said Valencis.
Besides the knitting and networking, there also will be entertainment at the event.
Around noon, there will be a performance by local talent, Stan Valencis— known as “Just Stan”— from the Open-Mic-Night at LaSalle’s Market and Deli in Collinsville.
Linda Valencis also was able to book an arm knitting demonstration by Mary Klaneski from New England Yarn and Spindle in Bristol for 6 p.m.
“You can use your arms instead of needles,” said Valencis.
Ten people will be invited on a first-come, first-serve basis to try arm knitting either a scarf or a towel and will be able to keep whatever they make.
In addition to the two main events, Valencis said that there will be music from the ‘20s through the ‘70s playing in the background.
The “Knit-A-Thon” will be set up in a living room area at the church with comfortable seating. Valencis said those who plan to attend should bring a pillow to sit on because if enough people come they may have to move some people into a classroom.
There will be coffee, tea, and cookies available, but knitters should bring their own lunches if they would like to eat. Participants also will be provided yarn, but should bring their own needles. Yarn is available through Valencis for those who would like to start their pieces early.
Participants need not attend the entire event, they are invited to come and go as they need.
Knitters from FCC, Spring Lake Village, The Calendar House, and the Jensen’s Communities have already committed to attend the event.
“If somebody’s looking for a new resolution this is a really great one,” said Valencis. “It’s a great way to be able to help yourself and the community.”
Everyone planning on attending the event must RSVP by calling or emailing Valencis at (860) 681-9945 or firstname.lastname@example.org.