Elizabeth Skedas’ knitting is stylish and classic. Her stitches are even, and her tension is consistent. Her projects look professionally finished; the kind of knitting you see produced by knitters that have worked with yarn and needles from a very young age. But Elizabeth has only been knitting for 10 years – six of them spent at Unwind Yarn and Gifts alongside her Knit Night friends.
Last Monday I dropped by to get to know Elizabeth better. As a person, as a knitter, and as the friendly smile often seen Monday nights at the yarn shop we all congregate at. She’s just putting the finishing touches on her latest project. A gorgeous grey sweater called Truss designed by Shelley Anderson. The gals at the table say I will gasp when she models it again. “It’s just beautiful” they all say (almost in unison). “Try it on, try it on for Kiki” Joan encourages. But Elizabeth is still sewing up the side. That’s when I noticed she’s combined two different yarns.
“Wendy special ordered the yarn for me,” Elizabeth beams. “I really can’t tell you how much we all (the shop customers) just love what she has done with Unwind. Huge kudos to Wendy for being so responsive to knitters’ needs.” She continues sewing and says she is using Shibui Knits yarn in Maai and Pebble. Normally her favorite yarn is Malabrigo (which is always stocked in the shop).
“You know, I’m not a fan of acrylic or novelty yarns. I’d say Malabrigo is a favorite, but this Shibui yarn is divine to work with. It feels so nice.” Elizabeth has been working on her Truss sweater for two to three months, “to wear in case we get a cold day,” she says.
Originally from Laurinburg (a very small town in North Carolina southwest of town just south of Fayetteville), Elizabeth moved to Savannah in 1979 and learned to knit just 10 years ago at a small shop called The Red Needle that used to be on Victory Drive. “Mickie at The Red Needle taught me to knit, and three months later she had me knitting an argyle tie! She had a lot of confidence in me. I made that tie for my brother.” As a young child Elizabeth learned to cross stitch and did some needle point as a teen, but she has found her passion in knitting.
An avid knitter, she is also a dedicted volunteer. So it’s not all fun and fashion for Elizabeth. She spends much of her knitting time making baby items and other knitwear pieces to donate to the Isle of Hope United Methodist Church, where she is a member. “We sell knitted items at the Day on the Island fundraiser for various missions.” She knits about 10 or 12 projects per year, and the sweaters she knits for herself she donates to the church sale after she’s had them for three or four years.
With her near-perfect knitting skills, I had to ask her what her alltime favorite knitting project has been. “A dress. I knit a beautiful dress ( Allegheny by Thea Colman). I loved the pattern, the yarn, the finished item. Everything about that project was fun.” Unlike, she says, the year she knit one item for each member of her family for Christmas. “You just are never sure if they appreciate all of the work that goes into it.”
Next on her list is a new sweater for her dog. You can follow Elizabeth’s adventures in knitting and at Unwind on Ravelry @elizabethts where you can browse her almost 150 projects!
Fun Fact: When Elizabeth was a young child, she competed in the North Carolina Spelling Bee!