||Students knit their way to serenity
RELEASED: November 12, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—As final exams week draws near, stress levels on campus begin to skyrocket. And though Centre College students find many ways to deal with this stress, one that is quickly growing in popularity is...knitting.
"I think there's been an increase in the popularity of knitting over the past few years because of the availability of resources to knitters through the Internet," says Arielle Knudsen '10 of Fuquay-Varina, N.C.
Someone who only has a mild interest in knitting, she says, "may become more interested because they find a pattern that they really love and want to create. The Internet also allows communities of knitters to host forums, so people can get help with problems they have with patterns, learn new stitches and have online knitting groups."
Online groups aren't necessary for knitters at Centre, though. Over the past few years, an increasing number of students have formed and joined knitting circles.
One of the primary reasons many of these students were drawn to knitting (and quilting and crocheting) is the stress relief that comes from the methodical process of needlework.
"When I came to college, I was really glad that I'd learned how to knit," says senior Ellen Kuhn of Washington, Penn. "It provided an outlet from all the reading that I had to do. I also really loved that I could sit down with a good knitting book and teach myself how to do something new. Although I did teach a friend of mine how to knit during our freshman year, knitting remained a mostly solitary activity—kind of an escape from work, I suppose—for my first two years of college."
Katie Smalley '13 of Pegram, Tenn., who both sews and quilts for stress relief, shares the sentiment, as does Knudsen.
"The part I enjoy most about knitting and crocheting is the time away from my busy schedule," Knudsen says. "And getting to spend time with other students who have the same interest as me. While it's a solitary craft that only involves one person, it can easily become a social gathering."
It's also a craft that can be enjoyed anywhere, a fact that Kuhn celebrated while studying abroad in Strasbourg, France.
"When I went to study abroad in the fall of my junior year," she says, "I took along a regular knitting project plus the idea for another larger project, what I now call my 'travel scarf.'"
The scarf, she says, "tells the story of my travels abroad, as I can point to each band and remember all of the memories associated with that trip. It's by far my most treasured knitting project that I've completed," she says.
The scarf also led to the creation of the knitting circle of which Kuhn is now a member.
"The scarf unexpectedly helped me bond with others with whom I was traveling," she says.
Because her searches for yarn stores often led to long walks around foreign cities, Kuhn and several other Centre students were able to "see some parts of the city that were off the beaten path, and the yarn stores also inspired my friends to get into knitting themselves," she says.
Once they returned to campus, the group of students decided to get together each week for about an hour to knit and drink tea, "almost as a mini-Strasbourg reunion," Kuhn says.
Knudsen says that a number of students have shown interest in the group, although many are unable to attend consistently.
"There's always some meeting, study session or activity that conflicts with the gathering time," she says. "But many of those students have tried to find at least one time to attend. Our group draws interest from people who don't knit, as well—students who enjoy relaxing and taking a break from work who sit with us and students who see us knitting and think what we do is awesome."
Although the group used to meet in the lobbies of residence halls around campus or at the home of Providence, Ky., native Victoria Crowell '10, they have recently begun meeting in the new Campus Center.
For about an hour each time they gather, the group members "sit and knit or otherwise work on crafty projects," Crowell says. "I'm not a very good knitter, so I often do things like make tea, chit-chat and mend garments."
And despite the rising stress levels that accompany the end of every term (or perhaps because of it), the group continues to cherish their time together.
"I really enjoy the social activity of drinking tea and chatting with friends who I often don't get to see during the week because of our busy schedules," Crowell says. "It's sort of like a time-out."
Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
- end -
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422