By Hazel Stark
Bitter cold winds slammed Downeast Maine as the polar vortex descended upon North America whipping up drifts of snow across roads and driveways. But when the going gets cold, the cold get knitting. At least that was true for 16 individuals from across Eastern Maine as they pushed through the frigid weather to hole up in Ellsworth’s first brewery, Fogtown Brewing Company, to learn the time-honored craft of knitting—a craft whose roots are solidly set in keeping folks clothed and warm using things that have always grown well in Maine: wooden knitting needles and 100% pure wool yarn.
While sipping on Fogtown’s various innovative brews—tea, soda, and beer—this group of wool-wise women kicked back to learn how to knit custom 100% wool beverage koozies from MOS Co-Founder/Co-CEO and fiber-artist, Hazel Stark. The group used a custom pattern that Hazel made specifically to fit both Fogtown’s glassware and standard cans. New knitters, or those who wanted to focus on the basics of the craft, straight-knit their koozies which gave each one that classic garter stitch look, while knitters with some experience took a stab at blending knits and purls to create the tightly textured seed stitch for added insulation.
While koozies are just a simple and fun project one can do with wool to keep hands comfortable and beverages insulated, the basic techniques and stitches used are the basis of all knitting, from scarves to shawls, mittens to hats, socks to sweaters. And being able to use local, natural resources to make clothes and accessories helps build personal and community resilience.
April 2019 Update: Fogtown hosted 3 of these Knit & Sips this winter with us, allowing nearly 40 local women to learn to knit!
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