Walking the hallways late one afternoon, I noticed a flyer for a new student group devoted to knitting. My heart lifted at the idea of the students coming together and sharing the craft that I loved so much. I expected the group to be a HS version of my regular Stitch n Bitch. There we would be working on our knitting and chitchatting about HS drama while I offered my sage adult guidance.
The afternoon came for the first meeting and I excitedly took out my project bag and skipped off to meet the group. I imagined finding a small group of girls sitting together working on their various projects. I was half expecting them to light up with surprise to see me join them. How far off the mark my imagination was!
As I turned the corner into the cafeteria, I saw not 10, not 20 but 30 girls shoulder to shoulder crowded around two tables. Each were holding a set of needles and a ball of yarn waiting for direction. Standing over them were the two sisters who organized the group and their mother (the moderator). They looked surprised but very enthusiastic about the abundance of knitters and crocheters.
I quickly learned that the group's purpose is to produce enough 8 x 8 squares to send to the Knit A Square program, which makes blankets for orphans living with HIV and AIDS in Africa. The girls around the table buzzed at the excitement of getting started. I could tell that several were experienced, while it was obvious others had never picked up a needle in their lives. I tucked away my project bag and made my way over to the sisters offering my help.
I was given the job of teaching some of the beginners. As a knitting instructor for my Local Yarn Shop, I have come across my fair share of new knitters. There are those who only need to one example and become immediate pros and others who need a lot of patience and attention. It came as no surprise that my students were more of the Immediate Pro type. Only a few repeats of the knit stitch and they were off and knitting.
It was when I had the chance to stop and look around that I began to realize what I was a part of. I saw girls from all walks of my school; athletes, musicians, studious types, some outgoing, some painfully shy, all holding needles and yarn, helping each other create. It's been a little over a month and the group has produced over 30 squares. Some are coming out every size and shape but that's not really the point in my eyes. The point is that the girls came together, despite all of their seeming differences, over a simple craft. There were no barriers there, just knitting.
I grew deeper in appreciation for my craft that afternoon. It's power to make a difference in people's lives was so evident. All it took was a pair of needles and some yarn.