Karen Joelson of Port Washington props her foot on a large table. The nine other women huddled around the work space at Knit, a yarn shop in Roslyn, drop their needles and lean in to admire her handmade emerald sock -- particularly the toe shaping.
This is standard at Knit Night, a free monthly gathering where knitters can work on projects, sharing snacks, advice and most of all, laughs. "It's informal. It's social," says Joelson, 60. "It's similar to the old quilting bees."
The table is littered with balls of yarn -- aubergine, red, multicolored -- and half-empty plastic cups of merlot (a special treat for the New Year). "The real reason why we're here is called obsession," says Meryle Greenberg, 56, of Oceanside. "For yarn and for needles."
WHAT TO EXPECT
Knit Night is open to knitters of all levels. There isn't formal instruction, but teachable moments come, nonetheless, as attendees offer solutions and suggestions.
That's how Susan Klingener, 54, of Westbury, learned a "magic loop" technique while knitting socks. "In this group, someone knows how to do everything," she says. "And everybody shares what they learned."
The space is rife with inspiration and eye candy. Fat skeins of wool and cashmere yarn fill floor-to-ceiling cubbies. Ivory baby blankets hang on display. Trendy scarves with ribbons of fiber flitter near the entrance.
WORKING -- AND SOCIALIZING
Conversation is just as engaging. Elizabeth Novak, 57, of Oceanside learned to knit in Peru -- much to the group's surprise -- where the practice was part of her elementary school curriculum. Talk also moves to how passion for knitting and yarn collecting would make a great reality TV show. Denise Sterzel, 63, of Glen Head already has a name: "Yarn Crawlers!" she shouts. The table explodes in laughter.
"We could go out to dinner, but that's boring," says Kim Strauss, 28, of Rego Park, who had sushi delivered to the store. It sits on a table alongside chocolate-covered strawberries and shortbread cookies. Some, like Rachel Carmichael, rarely even look down at their projects while talking. Her hands remember the movements.
"I would not do something very complicated at a knit night ... because I'd be looking at the pattern instead of talking to my friends," says Carmichael, 58, of Port Washington. "You can make a lot of friends this way."
WHEN | WHERE 6:30-9 p.m. Feb. 1 and every first Wednesday of the month, 1353 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn
INFO 516-625-5648, knitlongisland.com
More tight-knit groups
Knitting gatherings in stores across Long Island abound. In lieu of formal instruction, participants share tips, inspiration and oftentimes snacks.
Although the events are gratis, etiquette is to purchase material for your projects at the store.
WHEN | WHERE 5-8 p.m. Thursdays, 718 New York Ave., Huntington
WHEN | WHERE 6-8:30 p.m. Thursdays, 57 W. Main St., Babylon
INFO 631-321-7378, villageknitter.com
WHEN | WHERE 6:30- 8:30 p.m. every fourth Thursday, 218 E. Main St., Port Jefferson. Reservations required the Monday before knit night.
INFO 631-473-2121, theknittingcove.com
INFO 516-293-0010, infiniteyarns.com
INFO 631-724-8111, kmisyarns.com
WHEN | WHERE 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays, 39 Berry Hill Rd., Syosset
INFO 516-364-1514, yarnsonberryhill.com