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Knitting in the Negev - Keep Calm and Cast On

Members of our Negev ESRA knitting group, also known as "The Woolpack" are: Leslie Baker, Leah Bracha Sneider, Maggie Cohen, Erika Dubb, Batya Fonda, Sharon Frankel, Ruth Friesem, Ann Hurowitz, Leiah Jaffe, Judy Levin and Carole Rosenblatt.

My mother was a great knitter and crocheter. She still would be, but at the age of 93, in spite of bilateral cataract surgery and laser treatment, her eyesight sadly lets her down. She passed on to me her passion for creating and her love of all things wool and I cannot tell you how happy I am that she taught me these wonderful skills as a child. They have stayed with me throughout most of my adult life, except for a hiatus during my rebellious teenage years.

This is a familiar story for most of my fellow wool-packers. We all have similar memories of our mothers or grandmothers patiently sitting with us and guiding us through those first painful stitches and wonky scarves.

Our ESRA knitting group started meeting about a year ago in Anne Hurowitz's cosy living room. For me personally, being new to Israel and Beer Sheva, it has been a perfect way to make new friends and meet like-minded people. The secret ingredient of "The Woolpack", is friendship, and one of our goals is to share the pleasures and benefits of knitting and creating, while "solving" many of the world's problems, well at least some of them. Our knitting group is not just about the knitting or the crocheting (we do both), it's also about the relationships that we are forming while we click clack, knit one and purl one. We are not all expert knitters. We have varying skill levels, with some even learning from the beginning, but the beauty of our close-knit group is that no-one is judged on their ability or the speed with which they can produce a blanket. It's all about support and encouragement, sharing new patterns and ideas and simply relaxing with friends. 

Although we all have our individual, personal projects, we decided quite early on that we would like to try to support the local community in some small way. We began by working on projects that we could donate to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, such as baby blankets, hats and bootees for babies, and children and octopuses for premature babies, and we were making fantastic progress until, as everyone is so acutely aware, corona hit and our weekly get-togethers were rather rudely and abruptly suspended.

One of the things that we know about knitters is that we always find a way to keep on knitting. Together or apart, in good times and in bad, in summer and in winter - and even during lockdown.

We are now continuing our weekly get-togethers on Zoom.

For all of us, this is a totally new experience which we have wholly embraced. At times like these, when we have to practice social distancing and being locked down for unknown lengths of time, the need for contact with one another is even more important than before, so we will be forever grateful for this modern technological breakthrough that allows us to keep on knitting together while apart, creating and crafting and enjoying one another's company while putting the world to rights!

We meet every Monday afternoon at 2pm, so please feel free to contact Ruth on 052 2690 266 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to join us. All are welcome. 



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Saturday, 02 March 2024

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