Knitters share their lifelong hobby - in the pub

In a corner of a Black Country pub gathered around a fire for two evenings a month is a sight many would not expect to see.

Knitters share their lifelong hobby - in the pub

In a corner of a Black Country pub gathered around a fire for two evenings a month is a sight many would not expect to see.

Instead of real ale drinkers propping up the bar and putting the world to rights at The Wheatsheaf in Walsall, a group of women are getting together to share their lifelong hobby — knitting.

The club, which aptly calls itself "Inn Stitches", gets together to socialise over homemade scones and beer as they get on with their knitting projects, swap patterns and help each other out if they get stuck.

The idea was the brainchild of Sue Collingswood, aged 59, a teaching assistant and friend of The Wheatsheaf landlady Jan Longmore.

They set up the club in November not long after Jan took over the Birmingham Road pub, and about six friends living in the vicinity immediately came along to share their hobby next to a hot fire twice a month.

Sue, of The Crescent, said: "I have always done it. I love it, it's relaxing. I can't put the needles down now, once I get going I can't stop."

And anyone can see the evidence. Her bag is made out of knitted patchwork squares, and she is getting to work on knitting a pile of coats for battery hens, as they sometimes do not have enough feathers to keep warm if they are released. She added: "There's such a lot to share, like patterns and things."

Mrs Longmore, who has also been knitting most of her life and lives with husband, Jeremy, 57, and son Joe, 23, in Jesson Road, said: "I think Sue came up with the idea because she likes knitting, but she also likes coming to the pub, so thought to mix the two together. I used to knit baby clothes for Joe, he grew up in knitwear whether he liked it or not. I'm now knitting a jumper for my husband," she said.

Fiona Kells, 50, of Follyhouse Lane, said most of her knitting goes fondly on her two nieces, Sophie and Emily, who love jumpers with Snoopy and Woodstock on them despite being 18 and 16 respectively, and her 12-year-old nephew, William. She said: "I knitted him a Doctor Who jumper with a Tardis on it, and it has to be prised off him now.

"It's really satisfying to knit something that you know somebody will enjoy."

Sue Fawson, 50, a university lecturer, said she thought knitting was coming back into fashion.

She said: "I've noticed that there are a few younger people doing knitting on the train now, it seems to be a thing they do in their spare time."

And the name of the group, which Mrs Collingswood came up with suddenly at 3am one morning, is not simply a pun — the ladies sure know how to laugh together.

She said: "It really suits us, because we really are in stitches most of the time."

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