Knitting and crocheting have become something of a phenomenon on campus. In female dorms, knitting and crocheting are common hobbies and it’s beginning to spread to the male dorms as well. Most knitters learn to knit or crochet from someone on their wing, so it works as a community builder.
It is also common to see a classmate casually work her way through a scarf, mittens or blanket while a class discussion is underway on this campus. Knitting and crocheting seem most common in Granberg Hall, home of the English department, because this subject tends to be the most amenable to such a practice.
Knitting is impractical in a math or science course because these classes require more consistent notes. Professors generally have no problem with knitting or crocheting in class; in fact, most seem rather impressed by the hobby.
Junior Ashley Wright learned to crochet from a girl on her wing last year, and regularly crochets in classes which don’t require steady note-taking. For her, crocheting in class is “definitely a focus thing,” said Wright. She finds it easier to focus in on the discussion when her hands are occupied.
Junior Anne Philo, who commonly knits hand warmers, got into knitting for the theater department last year. She learned from a friend on campus, and now prefers to make her own patterns. Philo knits in class because, as she said, “I realized that it kept me awake.”
Rebecca Alsum, Residence Director of Stegenga Hall, has started a knitting group on Saturday afternoons in her apartment. Although she already knew how to crochet, Rebecca learned how to knit this year from a girl in the hall. She said, “That’s what has been so great about it; more experienced knitters teaching other girls—it hasn’t even been me leading it.”
This group has been both a community builder and an opportunity for service for Stegenga residents. Recently, the group began knitting for a cause. “The girls started saying how they had knit like 15 scarves,” said Alsum, “so we decided to make a service project out of it.”
Alsum’s mother-in-law, Barb Alsum, has been knitting hats for chemotherapy patients for years, and she visited the knitting group to show them the pattern. The group received donations of yarn and needles for the project, so anyone can come and participate.
Rebecca Alsum believes that knitting is a great community activity because people can talk and build relationships while their hands are busy.