Hooked on knitting

December 29, 2023

Jennifer Gwillem, Sue Bowling, Debby Duvall, Kris Bluhm and Janet Nelson during a recent knitting session at the Pentwater Artisan Learning Center.

Janet Nelson guides Judy Primozich.

Hooked on knitting

By Ron Beeber, Contributing Writer

PENTWATER — Anyone who thinks chocolate is addictive has never learned how to knit. If you know how and are reading this, you’re probably smiling.  

It’s believed that knitting originated in Egypt about 1,000 years ago to make socks. Fast forward about 900 years, British citizens banded together in a national effort during World War I to knit warm clothing for their soldiers who went off to war.     

And recently, knowledge of the craft was shared between friends at the Pentwater Artisan Learning Center (PALC) when members Janet Nelson and Sue Bowling conducted a four-week knitting class for fellow members Kris Bluhm, Debby Duvall, Jennifer Gwillem and Judy Primozich.

“I’ve been a member of the artisan center for at least 15 years,” said Nelson, who lives in Mason County. “I’ve always been a knitter, but I never belonged to a place like this. It was like finding a little gem. I believe knitting at the artisan center began when some of my friends saw a coat I knitted from an ‘Einstein Coat’ pattern. The coat got its name because after you knit one, you feel like a genius.  My friends here all wanted to get together to make our own coats. About 35 coats were made.” Nelson went on to say that everyone then just decided to continue meeting at the artisan center to knit.  

“We didn’t have to, we just wanted to. It’s the camaraderie of the place,” she continued. “Yea, I could stay at home and knit by myself, but it’s more fun to be with a bunch of people and

Kris Bluhm and Jennifer Gwillem.

get caught up on what’s going on in our community. It’s where you get the real scoop,” she joked.  

Nelson’s class included learning about yarn types, casting on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, binding off and blocking.  “We taught the students how to knit a set of four coasters,” she added. “Each has a different pattern, and everybody pretty much learns the basics of knitting after completing all four.” Each student now knows enough to knit a sweater, or start some other project.

Jennifer Gwillem of Pentwater is a new PALC member. “I have no real craft skills, but a couple of friends wanted to learn how to work in stained glass, and I’ve since done a tiny bit

Janet Nelson shows her “Einstein Coat” to fellow artisan center members Stephanie Emms and Kris Bluhm. “At the end of this class, you’ll be able to knit your own,” Nelson told them.

of stained glass work. But then I heard about Janet’s knitting class. When I was about 8, my grandmother taught me some basics. I now have enough free time to really learn it. It’s good to keep your brain active. And the Artisan Center is a gem. I recently bought an old table and chairs that I want to redo for my grandkids. I’ll work on it over the winter, knowing somebody’s here to show me how.”  

The Artisan Center was established in 2004 next to the Pentwater Public School. It’s an 11,000-square-foot, safe, well-equipped workspace that attracts year-round and seasonal residents from the surrounding area. The artisans also work in wood, metal, paint, stained glass, pottery, weaving and jewelry. They socialize, make things, teach their skills to others, and learn new ones. Annual membership is $150. The PALC’s drive to raise funds for repairing, replacing and adding equipment now stands at more than $130,000 of its $250,000 goal. More information is found at https://pentwaterartisan.org/ or call 231-869-5323.