Knitting crochet, sewing, and needlepoint are growing pastimes amongst the Centre student body.

“Right now I’ve got, like, eight projects going… I’m working on two blankets, two scarves, I just finished a pair of socks and I’m about to start a sweater on Friday,” senior and expert knitter Olivia Kernekin said.

Kernekin, who worked on one of these scarves during this interview, began knitting at an early age.

“My cousin taught me when I was seven and she bought me my first pair of knitting needles… I didn’t do it seriously for awhile because I was [a child],” Kernekin said. “Then when I moved to Mexico, I took a class where we had to knit socks and make our own knitting needles. It all came rushing back. I feel like I’ve always been knitting—it’s always been in the background. High school was when it really exploded. That’s when I started reading patterns and teaching myself other stitches.”

Knitting can be intimidating to start for those wanting to try it. First-year Jessica Haralu, who has now been knitting for about a year and a half, experienced her own rough start when she began.

“My grandmother from India taught [her children] how to knit, so when she came over, she taught me how to knit too and I really liked it… When I first learned it was difficult. I would take hours and hours. You have to be very disciplined, at least at first,” Haralu said.

But once you master the basics, knitting can provide the perfect, constructive outlet for stress.

“It’s kind of like a zen activity. It’s repetitive; your fingers are going through the motions. It gives me something to do with my hands and I like working with my hands. I feel like it’s seen in most circles as a unique skill, so I like making things for people too because they’re just so in awe over it and I’m just like I’m going to be doing it anyway,” Kernekin said.

With the endless host of techniques, stitches, styles, materials and patterns, knitting seems a daunting task, but Kernekin disagrees.

“Anyone can knit,” Kernekin said, though she added one caveat. “Knitting involves a lot of math. I thought I was done with math, but I was like, ‘Oh wait. All the time math.’”

But if you think knitting might be too much for you, consider crochet. Senior and crochet expert Annie Wolff, a knitter when she was young, learned how to crochet two years ago. “In knitting you use two needles and keep the stitches on the needles. It’s easy to drop a stitch. But in crochet you just have a hook and start anywhere,” Wolff said. “The stitches are more like building blocks whereas knitting stitches are more interwoven.”

The two styles have different aesthetic looks, which may be one reason why a person is drawn to one over the other.

“It’s faster to make blankets out of crochet. It’s really impractical to knit a blanket,” Wolff said.

If you’re interested in taking up some kind of needlework during the cold, dark winter months, you can’t go wrong with either option. Perhaps by the end of CentreTerm, you’ll have made yourself a scarf to see you through spring and gain lasting skill that not many others can boast of possessing.

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