By Annie Reifsteck
Many of us have very special memories of sitting next to our grandmother learning to knit our first hot pad, crochet our first scarf, or sew our first pillowcase. The skills and joy of passing on handmade traditions seem to be missing in our busy world.
Gail Allen, owner of the new Knit-treat At the Cottage in Hollidaysburg, is changing this trend.
“My grandmother taught me to knit at the age of nine years old and I’ve never stopped,” shared Gail.
At age 18, she learned to crochet which led to her collaborating with her grandmother to crochet her own wedding gown.
“I have always wanted a place to teach others how to create handmade items in an atmosphere where you can have fun, make good memories, and feel accomplished once you finish a project. Knit-treat At the Cottage is this dream come true, a wonderful blessing,” shared Gail.
At Knit-treat At the Cottage, Gail teaches beginner, intermediate, and advanced knitting, crocheting, and cross-stitch classes. You can also purchase unique handmade items and place orders for specialty items.
“I’ve talked with many women of my generation that used to knit, but didn’t stick with it,” commented Gail. “When I shared my idea with them of starting the new business and teaching classes, the response was very positive. With this encouragement and the tremendous help of my family, Knit-treat At the Cottage is now a reality.”
According to the Craft Yarn Council, the resurgence of needlework is growing. In addition to those who have not touched a knitting needle in years, the interest in needlework crosses all ages and genders. The Council reports that a third of women ages 25 to 35 now knit or crochet.
Research supports Gail’s belief that knitting and crocheting is therapeutic and rewarding. The repetitive action of stitching induces a relaxed state similar to what is achieved with mediation or yoga. The more frequently that people knit, the happier and calmer they feel. Some people find that needlework helps them achieve larger goals like quitting smoking or controlling their weight. When your hands are holding knitting needles and crochet hooks, you are less likely to think about eating or smoking.
“Personally, if I miss a day of knitting or crocheting, I feel restless. There is also a special feeling of satisfaction once you finish an item. I want to pass this on and give back as I have been given,” commented Gail.
To make it even better, Knit-treat At the Cottage also offers Roaring Spring Water’s Choice Family Beans Mix & Match K-Cups. The Mix & Match offering allows you to select the K-Cup flavors and quantities you love from over 130 flavors and brands of coffee, tea, cocoa, and cappuccino. While visiting the store, you can enjoy a favorite K-Cup or try a new flavor, then create a sampler box of 20 K-Cups to take home with you. The Mix & Match boxes make wonderful gifts and Gail will even gift wrap them for free!
Knit-treat At the Cottage is located at 208 Allegheny Street in Historic Hollidaysburg. Hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and during scheduled classes. You can also book craft-based private parties for elementary-age kids outside of normal business hours.
To sign up for a class, make a party reservation or to learn more about Knit-treat At the Cottage, stop by or call 814-330-2845. You can also learn more about Gail’s new business at www.facebook.com/KnittreatPA.
To read more stories from the Fifth Issue of Generations Magazine, click here.