Knitting circles were once a popular place to exchange rumors about the area's handsomest fireman, which of the neighboring towns' mayors were secretly left-handed, and the fate of the Crumb brothers. Get your finger on the pulse and some yarn with today's Groupon: for $20, you get two beginning-knitting classes at Kirkwood Knittery (a $45 value).
Shop shelves in Kirkwood Knittery bristle with a chromatic array of imported wools from which needle-wielders cull the basic materials for two-class workshops. Seasoned stitchers guide fledgling yarnsmen and women through the basics of knitting, including two different stitch patterns, such as purling. Students also gain a basic understanding of how knitting works, and how to "read" their own stitches. During the class, pupils decide whether to apply their newfound skills to making a neck-warming scarf to keep or give to a friend, or a series of four dishcloths to place near sinks, sending an subtle message to dirty dishes about hygiene.
Staffers at Kirkwood Knittery happily direct shoppers to a colorful collection of knitted sweaters, hats, and wraps; however, they're not for sale. That’s because staff members would rather teach customers to make the garments themselves during classes aimed at beginning and intermediate knitters. Sessions, which typically meet in four one-hour segments or two two-hour segments; cover skills such as basic stitches, circular knitting methods, and crochet patterns; and culminate in the creation of a scarf, pair of socks, or knitted umbrella. Before classes, students can peruse the shop’s selection of yarns to choose an attractive skein whorled from international wools, organic cottons, or rare fibers.