Knitting, Crocheting and Needlework Club sparks motivation for crafty students

By Elizabeth Kane

(Andrea Umana, Mae Sorensen, Olivia Dolan, James Wendell at the knitting and crocheting club.)(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
(Andrea Umana, Mae Sorensen, Olivia Dolan, James Wendell at the knitting and crocheting club.)(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

In its fourth year as a part of the University of Massachusetts campus, the Knitting, Crocheting and Needlework Club provides a supportive and collaborative space for anyone who is looking to hone their skills or even learn for the first time.

The club’s co­presidents, Olivia Dolan and Mae Sorensen, said the Registered Student Organization was founded in 2011 by a group of friends in a German class. Dolan, currently a senior, initially joined the club her sophomore year to get more involved on campus.

“I had to get out of my room,” Dolan said. “When I actually started out, no one crocheted. I was the only crocheter, so at my first meeting (of the club) I was actually teaching people how to crochet.”

Dolan said learning new skills from others has become an essential part of the club. She said an ongoing goal for the RSO continuing to encourage members to showcase their skills and learn from one another in a welcoming environment.

This atmosphere, according to the club’s treasurer James Wendell, motivated him to initially reach out to the club over Facebook for support on one of his projects.

“I was working on this monster project, a massive ‘Lord of the Rings’ scarf, and I didn’t really have anyone to brag about it to,” Wendell said. “So I brought it to show (the other members) after looking them up on Facebook in the hopes that they would think it was cool. They made me realize that it was epic.”

Wendell and the other current club members, including Secretary Andrea Umana, have knitted and crocheted several unique creations, from blankets to baby flip­flops. Their inspiration, according to club member Melissa Stephens, comes from their desire to learn from one another as well as their passion for the club.

“At my first club meeting, I was so excited,” said Stephens. “(The club) taught me the basics and after that I went on YouTube and picked up patterns and was motivated to try things out.”

Sorensen hopes that membership will continue to grow in the club and that people who have never attempted knitting are not discouraged from joining.

“Even though most people come in and do whatever they want (in the club), we try to set aside meetings and workshops to teach people how to make things,” she said. “It’s okay not to know anything. We’ll teach you the ways of the knitting world.”

Wendell agreed, adding, “We’re not some kind of clique. We’re very welcoming. We have a massive ball of yarn if anyone wants to come and does not have supplies.”

While the club plans to host fundraising events in the future, they are primarily focused on bringing more members into the group.

“My goal right now (as a co­president) is to know that when I graduate that the club is in good hands,” Sorensen said. “I want to leave with the feeling that it’s going to move forward and continue to grow and change for the better.”

Elizabeth Kane can be reached at [email protected]