Needle a new hobby? Here’s one that will hook you in! MHS Knit and Crochet Club, led by Nick Tormey, Annie Leffel, Anezka Helmers, and Ms. Helmsing, held its first meeting on Feb. 16 and continues to meet on Tuesdays from 4:00-4:45 over Zoom.
During quarantine, many people picked up solitary hobbies to occupy their time; two such activities for many of the leaders of the Knit and Crochet Club were knitting and crocheting. The leaders have varying skill levels, but the extra free time allowed all of them to hone their skills, and now they’re working together to educate and connect those interested in knitting and crocheting.
Despite the renewed interest, knitting and crocheting are not new arts; knitting has been around for 500 years and crocheting isn’t much younger. These techniques have been passed down through generations, forging lasting connections throughout families.
“My grandma and my great-grandma grew up crocheting, knitting, and stuff, so I grew up playing with these barbie clothes that my great-grandmother made; I have a whole box of them and they’re crocheted and tatted and they’re so beautiful,” said Leffel. “My grandma taught me [to knit and crochet] when I was young, and I’ve always really liked having that connection with my great-grandma.”
As amazing as relationships with family members are, you do not have to learn how to knit from your grandmother. This club aims to build a community for more experienced knitters and beginners alike by making knitting and crocheting more accessible, especially to novices. Having the club over Zoom provides a unique opportunity.
“It’s so much easier to just click a link and hop onto a new club and meet everyone than find the classroom and plan out the time and find a ride and everything,” said Tormey.
While Zoom makes it easy to share videos, which helps the leaders overcome the difficulties associated with teaching from a distance, they’re still working to find the best way to visually share their knitting techniques. The club also makes sure that anyone who wants to learn to knit or crochet has access to all the materials they need by providing access to knitting and crocheting supplies when necessary to ensure these hobbies are truly an option for everyone.
Life is stressful, and COVID-19 only makes it more stressful. One solution to this stress may be knitting. Knitting is a soothing activity because it includes a lot of repetitive motions and it requires just enough focus to distract from stress-inducing thoughts; there are countless anecdotes that show that knitting and crocheting are some of the most relaxing hobbies. Knitting and crocheting also create tangible products, which can provide both a sense of accomplishment and meaningful yet practical items.
To provide recipients for some of these items beyond the craftsmen, the Knit and Crochet Club promotes charity campaigns such as Project Linus and Hat not Hate as a way to make a positive impact. Project Linus distributes handmade blankets to bring comfort to children in hospitals, and Hat not Hate uses handmade blue hats to spread awareness about their anti-bullying movement. Tormey’s previous participation in the Hat not Hate campaign had provided a great opportunity to use his talents to help “push this super important message” and he was inspired to share this opportunity with the club.
The club also shares an opportunity to socialize outside of school. Knitting and crocheting are, by nature, individual activities, however, they are able to connect people. The club leaders believe there is power in sharing something you are passionate about with others who share those passions, which is why they created this club.
In addition, having fun and connecting with people is another important part of this club; the leaders are working to cultivate a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere. Although the focus may be on knitting and crocheting, the main objective is to socialize in a safe, productive way, which is super important in the COVID-19 era.
As Tormey puts it, “it happens to be that we’re all knitters and crocheters, and we can all bond over that, but I think even besides the skill it’s just that community that we’re missing online”.
Knitting and crocheting are knot that hard with a supportive community so feel free to stop by, spin a yarn, unravel some of your stress, and perhaps you’ll find a purl of friendship in the oyster of Knit and Crochet Club.
For more information, visit their website.