With limits on in-person gatherings still imposed, South End-based knitting shop Third Piece has turned to online classes to get crafters flexing their creative muscles. And on Oct. 23, knitters can break out their needles for a good cause at a Charity Knit Night with all proceeds going to benefit Urbanity Dance’s Dance with Parkinson’s program.
“We were hoping to raise some awareness for the program and give back at the same time,” Kristen Lambert, Third Piece’s founder, said.
Nonprofit dance organization Urbanity Dance hosts a free weekly class designed for participants with Parkinson’s disease. While the program used to be taught as an in-person class, it transitioned to Zoom in the wake of COVID-19. Certified dance instructors work with attendees on exercises to strengthen mobility, coordination, and flexibility. One of those dance instructors also teaches knitting classes at Third Piece, so Lambert said this cause is personal to the company. By the end of the night, Lambert hopes to raise between $250 and $500.
When stay-at-home orders emerged in March, Third Piece developed a robust calendar of virtual knitting classes from beginner-level learn-to-knit lessons to advanced classes crafting a specific item of clothing. Though Third Piece’s storefront has reopened for modified hours and shopping protocols, Lambert plans to continue hosting online classes until the virus subsides.
Each class includes the option for participants to have needles and yarn sent to them ahead of the session. According to Lambert, virtual learn-to-knit classes are Third Piece’s most popular offering because of their live nature and class size of no more than 10 participants.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response,” Lambert said. “We want to keep classes small, engaging, and interactive.”
When the pandemic broke out, Lambert developed the “Third Piece Gives Back” initiative where proceeds from events go to benefit local nonprofits and charities. A previous Charity Knit Night donated all proceeds to Boston Children’s Hospital. The brand also offers discounted knit kits for individuals monetarily affected by COVID-19, and touts a program where people can nominate a nurse or other frontline worker to receive a free knit kit and class pass.
“Knitting has so many benefits that we didn’t want cost to be one of the barriers that would prevent people from doing something for themselves,” Lambert said.
Sign up for the Oct. 23 Learn to Knit Class to support the Dance with Parkinson’s program and learn more at thirdpiece.com.
Grace Griffin can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @GraceMGriffin