Duluth transplant hooks crafters up online, in person
Kayla Mitchell’s Facebook group has nearly 500 members. Several meet weekly — sometimes more — to commune over crafts and coffee.
DULUTH — When Kayla Mitchell moved to Duluth, she wanted to give back and connect. “I’m disabled. I don’t work. That’s why I offer free knitting and crochet classes through my group.”
In less than two years, Mitchell’s Facebook group, " Duluth Knit, Crochet, and Crafts ," has attracted nearly 500 members. Several meet weekly, others more often, for crafts and coffee.
Mitchell, who has agoraphobia (fear of entering crowded or open spaces), post-traumatic stress disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, says the community she has found in the Twin Ports through this medium has “really been helpful for my mental health.”
“I struggle leaving the house. This is a place I have to go every week, and if I’m too sick to make it, it’s still a positive thing I’m doing,” she said.
Despite its name, the group’s open to all Northlanders doing anything creative. The group page shows links to a fiber rummage sale, pattern questions, memes and lots of progress and finished project posts in bag-making, fiber arts and more.
And during Saturday’s gathering, Mitchell talked about what she was making for the Lake Superior Life Care Center's call for baby shower items. She likes that the group can give back when possible.
Mitchell moved to the Twin Ports from Connecticut, where she’d built an active craft group, a connection she missed here. “I didn’t want to lose interest in something I really enjoyed doing because I moved away from friends,” she said.
She posted free knitting and crocheting classes on other area fiber groups, and soon, she was connected, “giving back and participating in community.”
Mitchell taught Kim Adams how to knit and crochet for free. The Duluth mother of two said she wanted to reclaim some time and creativity for herself. “As a parent, you’re cooking and cleaning and washing the dishes … all of that immediately needs to be done again,” Adams said. “With crocheting, I’m making something that I can hold.”
Since hooking up with Mitchell and the group, Adams has moved on from scarves, hats and gloves to an amigurumi plush ninja, a phoenix, and more.
The end product is so adorable,” she said.
Mitchell is generous with her time, patient and flexible, which made it very easy to learn from her, and Adams’ new hobby has replaced checking her phone for a dopamine hit. “I now have this much healthier and more productive thing I can go to when I'm in my happy place,” Adams said.
Today, Adams and a few co-workers attend craft gatherings with the group’s multigenerational participants. It’s a low-pressure, word-of-mouth group from which Adams seeks guidance and has been introduced to different fibers and instruments.
She also looks forward to sharing her finished projects online and the positive feedback that follows.
Leaning into these hobbies with this group was a game changer for Adams, especially in the past couple of years. They’re all “kind of introverts” who need social time and something to do with their hands. “Another thing to focus on when you’re meeting new people, it takes the anxiety out of it," she said.
If you go
- What: Stitch and Bitch, hosted by " Duluth Knit, Crochet, and Crafts" Facebook group
- When: 1 p.m. Saturdays
- Where: Wussow’s Concert Cafe, 324 North Central Ave., Duluth
- When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays
- Where: Miller Hill Mall, 1600 Miller Trunk Highway (outside Legacy Toys)
- Cost: Free