Darn! Don’t miss unraveling these yarn adventures

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Aya Takase-Songui

COMMITTING TO KNITTING: During one of Knit-Work Club’s lunch meetings, sophomore Saya Ryu guides junior David Grannis-Vu in creating his first row of knit stiches.

Olivia Cai, Staff Writer

As the chill of winter approaches, students keep warm and unwind by knitting. The hobby is picking up popularity around campus for being inexpensive and providing a mental health boost, despite some stigma for being a traditionally feminine activity.

Students enjoy knitting for various reasons, whether it be the tranquility of creating something with your hands, giving back to the community, or the social aspect of the traditional knit-and-chat, the latter of which can be found in a club on Northwood’s campus.

It helps with my mental health because I can relax and knit with my friends.”

— Knit-Work publicist sophomore Matthew Kim

At Northwood club Knit-Work, board members walk around and survey the room for anyone who needs help while everyone else practices stitches and talks to their friends. This helps relax the students as knitting is said to have a meditative effect, keeping the hands busy while also being productive. The repetitive movement of knotting loops of yarn takes the mind away from the stress of approaching exams and deadlines.

“I was surprised at how simple yet complex it is,” Knit-Work publicist sophomore Matthew Kim said. “It helps with my mental health because I can relax and knit with my friends.”

Aside from being a tool to unwind and socialize, knitting yields fruitful results as well. The possibilities are endless: blankets, scarves, sweaters, mittens and more. The yarn stretches as far as your imagination can take you, and isn’t limited to just wearable items either.

“My favorite thing that I have created was actually crocheted,” senior June Lee said. “It’s this really cute possum, and I got to make its little feet and ears and I just had a really fun time doing it.”

Knitting involves looping yarn with two needles, while crocheting uses a single hook, making it easier for the average person to learn. Knit items usually end up being thinner and lighter, while crochet uses a heavier stitch.

Lee enjoys both knitting and crocheting on her own, demonstrating that you don’t need to be in a club to enjoy the process. She taught herself with YouTube videos in eighth grade. Social media and the Internet have made learning easy; tutorials are posted for every pattern imaginable, as well as introducing novel ideas such as making DIY yarn out of plastic bags.

Crochet tops have been really trendy lately, so it’s cool that I’m able to make them myself instead of buying them.”

— senior Anna Hong

The creation of Knit-Work and the prevalence of new knitters picking up the hobby on their own are fighting the stigma of knitting being an old-fashioned or feminine pastime. The revitalization of retro fashion has younger generations picking up needles in hopes of creating ’70s-inspired knit cardigans or colorful Y2K two-piece sets.

“Crochet tops have been really trendy lately, so it’s cool that I’m able to make them myself instead of buying them,” senior Anna Hong said.

The sentimental value of being lovingly handmade makes knit pieces great gifts for friends and family and also a fun way to perform community service.

Salus Hospice in Irvine is looking for volunteers to knit or crochet blankets in red, white and blue to donate to veterans in need, even supplying the yarn. Irvine Animal Rescue accepts donations of festive crocheted bird warmers, spreading holiday cheer to furry and feathered friends as well.

For anyone interested in adopting a new hobby, Knit-Work encourages students of all levels to join them in Room 1228 every other Monday. Beginners can learn basic stitches and more experienced students can hone their skills, but all knitters will leave the meeting with a handmade knitted item to show for their work.

“I think that’s the fun of knitting,” Knit-Work president sophomore Saya Ryu said. “Gradually seeing yourself make something beautiful.”