MKG Cable Gram - Volume 21, Number 1
The first meeting of the Northern Lights Affiliate of MKG was held in the basement meeting room of Chester Creek Café in Duluth on February 25, 2004. The northern branch of MKG was launched that evening over a simple hot soup and bread meal by an enthusiastic group of the 25charter members. From its modest beginnings, the group increased in numbers (total of 60 on 12/31/04) and quickly outgrew first one, then two meeting locations. Finally in April an adequate meeting site was located and it could be announced that there was a regional MKG Affiliate Guild that meets monthly on the fourth Wednesday at 6 PM at the Portman Community Center (4601 McCulloch St., Duluth, MN).
Affiliate meetings are modeled after those of the main Guild, with as hort business meeting followed by a program. Two programs, "Male Traditions in Knitting" presented by Tim Bruns and the first "MKG Movie Night", were similar to those given in the Twin Cities. In addition to three group participation "Shown and Share" evenings, programs with guest speakers included "Bead Knitting" (Linda Kalweit), "Lace Knitting" (Lisa Messerer) and "Needle Felting" (Mary Jane Huggins). The program that created the most community interest, as measured by the number of non-members attending, was "How to Keep Knitting into the Future" presented by physical therapist, Amy Johnson. Amy shared many useful tips on how to avoid repetitive motion injury. The tradition of inviting a local yarn shop to present one of the programs each year was established. Yarn Harbor had the honor in 2004 and Playing with Yarn is scheduled for Aug. 2005. Check the MKG web site (www.knitters.org) for other, upcoming programs of the Northern Lights Affiliate.
The highlight of the affiliate’s first year was certainly the Duluth Knit-Out on October 9th at the Miller Hill Mall. The three event organizers, (NL Affiliate members Shannon Szymkowiak, Rita Rosenberger and Florenda Anthony), started work in April and pulled off one fantastic Knit-Out. The best of Donald Trump’s apprentices could not have done better. They obtained a grant from the Yarn Group of TNNA and organized a raffle of member donated knitted items to generate thef unds needed for advertising and the cost of space/equipment rental at the Mall. Four yarn shops, Playing with Yarn (Knife River, MN), Fabric Works (Superior, WI), Yarn Harbor (Duluth, MN) and Knitting Knight (Hibbing, MN), helped sponsor the event and provided a booth at the Knit-Out even though they could not make sales at the Mall.
Mayor Herb Bergson declared Oct 9th "Knitters Day in Duluth" and presented his proclamation in person. Other highlights of the day included a book signing (Nursery Rhyme Knits by Teresa Boyer), spinning demonstrations and several exciting speed-knitting competitions. Amber Krueger won a 2005 MKG membership for being the fastest knitter with an average speed of over 60 stitches/ min. in both the half- (stitches knit in one hour) and full- (stitches knit in two hours) marathon events. (Yes, she maintained an average speed of sixty plus stitches per minute for a total of three hours! Even more amazing is the fact that Amber is a thrower and knits sitting on the floor.) The best single reward of the day was, however, the fact that 80 percent plus of the Northern Lights Affiliate members actively took part in the 5-hourevent, which resulted in our really getting to know one another and forming a strong group bond. Just 19 days later, at the monthly meeting, the group enthusiastically voted to do it all over again, and the Miller Hill Mall is now booked for Duluth Knit-Out 2005 on Saturday, October 8th 2005.
The year ended with a member only holiday party on Dec. 17 at the newly remodeled home of a member. Much fantastic food and a fun yarn gift exchange game brought the first year of the Northern Lights Affiliate to a festive close.
Happy Birthday Northern Lights! And kudos to MKG member Alice Adams for getting our first Affiliate Guild up and running -- er, knitting! Thanks, too, Alice for this great first-year update.