Cheryl Lavenhar can’t remember when she started to knit.
“My mother knit, but I don’t remember her teaching me,” Lavenhar said. “I remember knitting with her as a teenager and adult, but I don’t remember learning.”
What she does remember is knitting sweaters in her teens, a hobby that eventually led to her serving as a founder and owner of Knit, a specialty knitting store and unique member of the Roslyn business community.
Originally opened on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale in 2003, Knit moved to Roslyn in 2007, and its regulars followed. Tucked away on Old Northern Boulevard just north of Roslyn Pond, the store will celebrate its 17th anniversary in April.
The store caters to all brands of knitters, from beginner to advanced, and carries products for all.
“We run the gamut, we have all different weights and prices of yarn, we provide help as long as you buy your yarn here, we have a large selection of knitting needles and crochet hook, and we offer a lot of magazines and books,” Lavenhar said.
Yarn choices include wool, woolen blends, hand dyed, silk, linen and cotton, and beginners who buy their yarn are offered free help. The last option often results in customers sitting around the store’s central table, working on their own projects and offering advice to newcomers.
“I get women who come in when they’re pregnant or when they’re retired, definitely when they’re becoming a grandmother,” Lavenhar said. “A lot of the women who come in won’t necessary hang out, but then they’ll come in and sit down and make friends here.”
The community at Knit often becomes so close that people will collaborate on projects that were left behind, as in 2016, when members completed an afghan left behind by a regular who died. Lavenhar, of Bayside, Queens, says that friends tend to meet at Knit.
“What I like to think singles me out is a sense of community,” Lavenhar said. “I have ladies who meet at this table who never would have met these women in any other environment.”
Over the holiday season, Lavenhar says, customers can expect regulars to bring in food each day.
“It’s very festive in the store because we get too much food,” Lavenhar said. “Everybody brings in food, and every day’s just a big party here in the month of December.”
Charity also comes into play as regulars collect canned food for the Interfaith Nutrition Network in Hempstead and bring in toiletries for the Duffel Bag Project, which provides duffels to foster children.
For the major shopping days on Nov. 29 and 30, Knit will be giving $5 cash back on purchases over $50 and $10 cash back on purchases over $100. The store will also host trunk shows for niche designers and host a New Year’s Day party on Jan. 1.
Knit, Lavenhar said, has the holiday feeling of community year-round, since it’s the people inside who make it special.
“I like to call myself the ‘Cheers’ of knitting stores,” Lavenhar said with a smile. “It’s the place where everyone knows your name.”