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Sewing together a friendship
The two avid knitters met through the Strait Knitters Guild, bonded over knitting during weekly group sessions at The Buzz and now even enjoy displaying and selling their wares together, as they did at the Opulent Art Show in mid-September.
While they swap advice, the two said they have very different knitting styles: Austin enjoys knitting "bigger" things, such as shawls and sweaters, while Larson prefers scarves and caps and has begun to branch out into jewelry-making, too.
"My mother was a fabulous knitter, so I've been knitting since I was a child," said Austin, who moved to Sequim from Sedona, Ariz., three years ago. "I started out making (booties) but since I joined the guild, I've really opened up and tried more interesting things."
Those "interesting things" include lariats, long bead-and-yarn accessories that Austin said can be used as anything from belts and necklaces to dog leashes.
"Reta will take a pattern and adapt it to her own feelings," Larson said of her friend. "She works in her own designs."
In contrast, Larson said her specialty is weaving together different types of yarns and colors to make interesting scarves, caps and bags. The Boise native only began knitting four years ago, when she moved to Sequim and was looking for ways to meet new people and get involved in the community. Recently, Larson said she decided to spice up her displays and create jewelry.
"I started with just knitting, but I felt my booth (at bazaars) needed a little glitz," Larson said.
Austin said she and Larson were the only women in their Thursday afternoon knitters group at The Buzz who were interested in selling their wares - so they decided to team up and do it together. They have two separate businesses - Larson sells under KJL Designs and Austin under Fiber & Stone - but they often have a single booth at art shows and bazaars.
The two, generally joined by about four others from The Buzz knitting group, often go on what they call "knitaways," traveling to cities including Belfair or Portland to attend classes or just get away and knit.
"A recent trip to Hood Canal turned a two-hour drive into eight hours because we had to stop at every yarn shop along the way," Larson laughed.
Larson, Austin and four other knitters are taking a four-day Vancouver cruise this month, a "girls only" bonding trip, with knitting needles and yarn in tow, of course.
"I never, ever, leave home without my knitting," Larson said.
Larson said she even battled an illness with her knitting and her friends.
"I became very ill after I moved here," she said. "I knit my way through my illness and back to good health ... with my friends by my side."
Who: Strait Knitters Guild members, and close friends, Reta Austin and Kathy Larson
What: Trunk show featuring their knitwear; Larson specializes in caps, scarves and jewelry while Austin makes shawls, sweaters and bead-and-yarn lariats.
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4
Where: The Buzz, 128 N. Sequim Ave.
Contact: Reta Austin,
Fiber & Stone at 457-6174, or Kathy Larson, KJL Designs at 582-1330.