Knitting Club creates space to calm students

Charlie Bickel and Sara Rahman

Artisans from 11th Century Egypt were the first people to ever harness the powers of knitting, according to Sheep & Stitch, a website for knitting enthusiasts. The ancient Egyptians knitting was painstakingly forged stitch by stitch, in sun-scarred huts and these ancient creators pioneered a world-altering practice from scratch. Their unending trials and tribulations sent the world on an inevitable path to the present, where high-schoolers sit in a clean, air conditioned room once a week to knit cozy sweaters and eat Cheez-Its.

Knitting club, which has been a club at South for the last four years, has a simplistic and casual feel that draws consistent attendance to their weekly meetings every Monday, explained member of knitting club, junior Angela Karavites. 

“It’s really chill, it’s super social, and friendly,” Karavites said. “All the people are amazing. You meet so many new people that you would never meet, and I’ve made a lot of friends from it.”

Club co-sponser Dr. Lara Cummings, assistant principal for student services, said the club includes both students who have already mastered their craft, and others who are yet to even start their knitting journeys. She added that some of the members spend their meetings teaching the people that are new to knitting, and that she has even done some of the teaching herself.

“We definitely have students who have been knitters and crocheters for a long time and have come to help teach others their skill,’’ Cummings said. “The other sponsor and myself help provide lessons on how to knit and sew to some of the other members.”

The club has many other activities that the club members participate in besides knitting and crocheting, Cummings said. She noted that members participate in sewing, embroidery, and cross-stitching as well. Whatever the club members find themselves doing, she said that they all use their respective activities as a form of self care, relaxation, and a sense of calm after a stressful day. In the midst of all the business that comes with high school life, Cummings emphasized the importance of having a hobby that students can use to unwind and relax.  

“It’s a wonderful activity to lower stress,” Cummings said. “It was a way for me to be able to connect with students. I definitely interact with students, but I don’t get the opportunity to talk with them, [or] really get to know them. [Here I get to] teach a skill that I’m very passionate about.”

Fellow co-sponsor Kimiko Garbe echoed Cummings’s sentiment. She understands the pressure to join extracurriculars, and how it can take a large toll on students that already have an extremely busy schedule. It is the relaxed atmosphere which gives knitting club its niche.

“I think it’s a club that is like a stress relief,” Garbe said. “So instead of an additional responsibility it’s more something to do instead of an extra activity [you] have to be a part of.” 

The club members may not be working on the same things, or even using the same methods as each other, senior Alexandra Big-Herrera, member of knitting club, explained. But no matter the project, she said that club members coalesce around the idea of turning a new page after a long school day. 

“Knitting is also a coping mechanism,” Big-Hererra said. “It helps to relax, [and] get your mind off of school stuff. [you can] just start a project and forget about your problems.”