On the fourth Wednesday of every month, six or seven people assemble in the Barrington Public Library to knit, chat, and dip into an exciting, suspenseful, and sometimes murder-themed podcast for a couple of hours. This recurring event, called Stitch n’ Listen, was started in January 2016 by Jessica D’Avanza, the BPL’s community services librarian.
“Libraries seem to be a place where knitters and crocheters gather,” D’avanza says. So she set out to create one for the BPL. A podcast fan, she observed that “there are still a lot of people that don’t know much about podcasts, or they’re not sure what to listen to.” Stitch n’ Listen was born. It might not inspire the attendees to check out books from the library, she says, “but they’re getting access to something that’s going to enrich their lives.”
So far the group has cruised through episodes of Presidential, the New Yorker Radio Hour, Mystery Show, and Serial, among others. D’avanza aims for episodes of 30 minutes or less so that there’s plenty of time to socialize – “everyone knows each other” in Rhode Island’s knitting community, she says.
Crimetown was a particular hit. “The women were so enthralled with that story and a lot of them had actually lived through that” and would share their own stories about the Buddy era. So far the attendees have all been female, and range from their 30s to mid-70s.
D’Avanza herself says that in addition to meeting “so many wonderful women,” her knitting skills have grown significantly. Last year she knit fingerless lace gloves for her wedding. “Without this group,” she says, “I don’t think I would feel [as] comfortable knitting and growing.” Barrington