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Monday, October 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

A close-knit community: Knitters bond over stitches, life at KnitKnit the Studio near Spangle

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 29, 2019, 10:22 a.m.

From left: Judi Hartung, Kathleen Cubley and Rina Clark chat and knit during a circle at KnitKnit the Studio, owned by Kris Rubert, near Spangle, Wash., on Aug. 20. The knitting nights are every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
From left: Judi Hartung, Kathleen Cubley and Rina Clark chat and knit during a circle at KnitKnit the Studio, owned by Kris Rubert, near Spangle, Wash., on Aug. 20. The knitting nights are every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Ten miles south of Spokane a wood shop turned yarn shop provides a cozy spot for women to knit and share their lives.

Kris Rubert opened KnitKnit the Studio two years ago, in what used to be her husband’s wood shop.

Her husband, Mike, owns a building-moving business, and the couple used their existing LLC to open KnitKnit the Studio near Spangle.

“When you look at our license it says general contracting, structural moving, fiber and yarn,” Kris Rubert said. “So, it’s pretty funny.”

The store has a little path that leads over to the front door of the Rubert’s home.

“I have a long commute,” Rubert said. “I walk about 30 feet.”

Rubert’s niece, Elizabeth Poyner, owns KnitKnit in Coeur d’Alene, and Rubert used to teach classes there a few times a week.

Eventually, driving in the winter got to be too much so Rubert opened the studio.

Knitters decompress on the drive out to the studio and arrive relaxed and ready to chat, Rubert said.

Rubert has been knitting ever since she was taught as a 6-year-old by a neighbor in Bonners Ferry.

Now at 68, Rubert has created a community in her little knitting studio.

“We share our joys, and we share our sorrows and we share our knowledge,” Rubert said.

The group of women, and the occasional man, bond over knitting and through other things they may have in common, Rubert said.

“It’s an old tradition, and it’s seen a resurgence in the last 20 years. It just draws people together,” Rubert said. “You may not know me but you knit and I knit, and it brings us together.”

Her Tuesday night knitting group is open to everyone and consistently has about 10 women.

“It’s an interesting thing, when you meet a knitter you can spot one another,” said Rina Clark who has been knitting for four years.

“That instant camaraderie that you get when you meet other knitters is unlike any other hobby that I’ve ever experienced,” she said.

Clark knits daily and said it helps lower her high blood pressure, a result of a medical condition.

“It’s great therapy,” said Nancy Olfs, who has been knitting for over 50 years.

Olfs is the owner of Trilogy Yarns, a yarn-dying business that she started while her husband was sick.

“I had lost my husband, and I needed to do something,” Olfs said of starting the business.

When her husband became ill, Olfs taught him how to knit, and he loved bright colors.

The couple started dying yarn here and there to get vibrant colors, and now Olfs sells her yarn online and to shops in the area, including to the studio.

The group does knit-alongs with Rubert who selects a pattern that the knitters can knit together and help each other with the difficult patches.

Rubert offers a variety of classes at the studio from “You Choose Sweater Class” to “Socks-Socks-Socks.” Many of the avid knitters attend knitting retreats organized by Terry Watanabe.

In November, the group is going to Ross Point in Idaho for a weekend and then to Palouse Divide in the winter to knit sweaters, snowshoe and cross country ski.

Watanabe started knitting 20 years ago and enjoys making connections through knitting.

She met Olfs at a coffee shop where they each met with their separate knitting groups, Watanabe said.

The knitting groups combined, and the women became “great friends,” Watanabe said.

The knitters connections remain strong even when they aren’t able to attend the knitting group.

Kristi Wilson has been seriously knitting for a year after her daughter decided to teach her. In that year she moved to New Hampshire but came back to visit her daughter and new grandchild.

While she’s visiting, Wilson made time to attend the Tuesday night open knitting group.

The women rally around each other through each twist and turn life gives them, and Rubert is always there to help them navigate their problems, knitting or knot.

“No matter what the problem is she says, ‘It’s no problem,’ ” Olfs said of Rubert.

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Terry Watanabe’s last name.

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