Words by Penny Neef. Images courtesy of Baa Baa Sheep.
I am not a knitter, but I know knitters, men and women, young and old. Knitters, and crocheters (both work with yarn) are inevitably kind, patient, helpful, and social people. They like to knit alone, but they also love coming together to knit, and talk about their latest creations, their lives, and the state of the world.
Knitters get together at coffee shops, libraries, and yarn shops to discuss the latest patterns, the hand-dyed wools, and that place in their sweater they missed a stitch five rows back. Baa Baa Sheep on 22nd Street in Ghent, is the only knitting shop in Norfolk.
Baa Baa Sheep is a cozy place, chock full of all the latest yarns and knitting accessories, run by my friend, Roz Klein. Roz knows every skein of yarn in the place and can help you get out of any knitting mishap you might knit yourself into. You dropped that stitch five rows back? Roz or one of her staff, all expert knitters, can help you make it perfect again.
Baa Baa Sheep is a bit like the corner coffee shop for knitters. Every knitter in Hampton Roads knows the place, and Roz knows every knitter in Hampton Roads. Baa Baa Sheep is a community. Communities come together to help each other, and communities help other communities.
Pam Garcia, a long-time knitter and customer at Baa Baa Sheep, suggested the Baa Baa Sheep knitting community help the knitting community and the people of Ukraine. Knitters are more than willing to donate money to aid Ukrainian refugees, but they also want to donate their time, their effort and their knitting. Garcia is in the hospitality industry, and has contacts in Poland, who have contact with NGO’s helping Ukrainian refugees.
Roz Klein knew that many of the top knitwear designers are Ukrainian. She realized that she could go to the number one website in the world for knitters, crocheters, and fiber artists in the world, Ravelry, and search knitwear designers by country of origin. Up popped many Ukrainian designers with knitting patterns for sale on Ravelry.
Baa Baa Sheep sent out an email to all its customers. “Purchase a skein of yarn or more to knit a hat, socks, mittens, a wrap, etc. and Baa Baa Sheep will purchase the pattern for you from a Ukrainian designer who will benefit directly. Return the knitted item to Baa Baa Sheep, and we will send them to a personal contact in Poland to give to a humanitarian group to distribute to refugees.”
As Roz told me, the response was overwhelming. “Some people can whip out a hat in a day. Other people may take as long as three weeks, so we don’t have a time limit.” All the projects are small – a pair of socks, a hat, a shawl. You can pick your pattern from several. Baa Baa Sheep will buy the pattern for you. Baa Baa Sheep will collect all the knitwear and ship it to Poland. The knitters are “giving something of themselves” to help both the Ukrainian designers and people who are fleeing from this war.
If you would like more information, or would like to receive a copy of the email outlining Baa Baa Sheep’s efforts to help, stop into the shop at 754 W, 22nd St. in Norfolk or call 757-802-9229. Happy knitting!