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Bertha Harris Women’s Center Presents: Knit: Why Knot?

By Victoria Priola

Knitting in my life is no longer something only grandmothers enjoy.

With cold weather approaching, men and women of all ages have taken up this hobby to make scarves, blankets, and, with a lot of skill, shoes.

The Washington Post reported in a survey of 3,500 knitters worldwide, 81.5 percent of respondents rated themselves as feeling happier after knitting.

The process of knitting becomes repetitive after a while, leaving the skill to muscle memory.

“I would love to have a knitting club on campus,” said Misty Patterson, a sophomore.

“It would be a relaxing and welcoming environment.”

Patterson has worked on her first knitting project, a blanket, since the summer.

She hopes to complete it by the time December rolls around.

I got a taste of knitting culture at CSI’s Bertha Harris Woman’s Center’s event, Knit: Why Knot?

A group of eight ladies between the ages of 18-21 gathered in the Women Center’s corner office in 2N to discuss different knitting techniques and its impact on feminism.

The prompter asked if the girls felt it was weird that a knitting event was taking place on a college campus and the group unanimously agreed.

Throughout history, knitting has been known for being an at-home activity.

It began as a male-dominated trade in Europe, according to CBS News, then slowly became known as a feminine hobby because it was a way for mothers to provide clothing for their families and a source of income.

In 2015, more guys are getting into the art of needle and thread again.

One of the only downfalls of this timeless trend is that it’s really hard to get into your groove.

With little experience, I was lucky to get the yarn wrapped around the needle. The group at the Women’s Center picked up crocheting quicker than knitting.

After two hours, an attendee crocheted an octopus out of gray yarn and I completed one stitch.

Even the students who were struggling like I was seemed interested in learning more about different knitting techniques.

Enza Vario, executive assistant of the Social Sciences Department, shared her creations and experience in knitting with the Bertha Harris group.

After losing her husband to cancer, Vario claims that knitting helped her get through her grief and stress.

“I’ve had many challenges in my life and I was able to survive by thinking positively,” said Vario. “It provides an opportunity to shift your focus to create a gift that gives back.”

Vario says that every project she does means something special to her. She has knitted baby gloves, Halloween costumes, and blankets for newborns.

Knit-spiration can be found on Pinterest, Purl Avenue, and Etsy. YouTube is a common source for in-depth tutorials.

Beginners are recommended to learn arm knitting.

Arm knitting is like traditional knitting, but without the needle. It’s just your arms and the yarn.

This technique is beneficial when making infinity scarves.

Crocheting is different from knitting because instead of a needle, a hook is used to weave the fabric.

Crochet blogger Kathryn Vercillo claims her hobby has saved her from depression.

Vercillo also tells the story of other women who have battled PTSD, Chronic Lyme disease and schizophrenia using the art of crochet.

Her book, “Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet” brings readers through her journey.

If you were ever thinking about giving it a shot, now is the time.

The craft store Michael’s holds in-store knitting classes for beginners. Taking a class is not as intimidating as it seems, though.

If you’re worried about looking lost, practicing at home is beneficial.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Here’s a quick instructional on a fun project, provided by Michael’s (you can also find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBlzVCaX7HU):

Chunky Cowl Using Arm Knitting Instructions via Michael’s

Use bulky yarn for this project. You’ll need two strands.

First, measure out six arm lengths of yarn. Make a slipknot at the end and get it over your wrist.

Then place one strand over your thumb and the other strand between your index and middle finger.

Cast the hand with the knot on it over the thumb strand, under the index finger strand and through the thumb strand.

At this point, the loop should be on the same arm as the knot.

Do this ten times. Grab the last one you did with the opposite hand and start knitting the opposite way.

Adjust the tension so the loops aren’t too tight. Repeat to make 24 rows.

To cast off, make two regular stitches. Pull the first stitch over and tighten. Repeat a stitch then bring the first loop up and over the second loop, and tighten. Continue down the whole arm.

Once you’re done with your rows, bring the tail end through the loop and tighten.

Line up the two ends of the scarf and weave the fabrics together using a small needle.

Turn it inside out and weave through the loose edges. Finished!

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