Knitting, crocheting for a cause

Hobbies become platform for helping children

SARAH KOCHER

sakocher12@ole.augie.edu

Knitting and crocheting have become popular among Augustana students, especially as the weather starts to make their bare ears, fingers, necks and toes cold.

Morgan Nodsle, a freshman who knits and crochets, has been at it since fourth grade after being taught by both of her grandmothers.

“I wanted to learn,” Nodsle said. “I remember I brought my crocheting stuff to school.” She would sit on the steps at recess and crochet after lunchtime rather than play.

Others are more recent learners. Sophomore Kayla Seeger didn’t pick up a pair of knitting needles until interim her freshman year. Seeger, her roommate and a few friends all wanted to learn, so they took a trip to Hobby Lobby.

January is still her favorite time to knit because she only has one class each day. Seeger says she does her best work “when I have time to sit down and focus on it.” She also says breaks are the best time for that because classes take up too much time.

When they do have time to pick up their needles and hooks, each knitter and crocheter has their own favorite creation. For Nodsle, it’s scarves and hats. For Seeger, on the other hand, it’s baby blankets.

“You get to give it away when you’re done and that’s fun,” Seeger said.

Seeger is not the only one with an altruistic motive. Taught by her mom and Girl Scout troop, Ruth Young has found that there is more freedom in crocheting than in knitting. The skills Young has picked up are now used to hook hats for Warm Hands, Warm Feet, an organization based in Seattle.

Young is from Tacoma, Wash., and became interested in non-profit organizations when she worked with a sister organization called Sweet Hope, which makes and sells chocolates and caramels. The proceeds go to families hoping to adopt orphans in Russia.

Before coming to Augie Young visited an orphanage in China, which piqued her interest in the organizations.

“That was very powerful to me and very emotional,” Young said. “After that, I really wanted to do something to help.”

Now that she is attending Augustana she is too far away to make truffles in Seattle, so hats are the best long-distance alternative. Each hat created goes to Washington, and from there to an orphanage in Russia.

According to the Warm Hands, Warm Feet website, the tight budgets the orphanages are forced to adhere to do not allow for food and warm clothing, so the children are often subjected to the Russian chill without hats on their heads or shoes on their feet.

Nodsle also crochets hats for Warm Hands, Warm Feet. Young said that so far on Augustana’s campus, there are already approximately 10 people interested in crafting hats for Warm Hands, Warm Feet.

Knitters and crocheters are not the only ones who can help with the efforts. She also said that Warm Hands, Warm Feet accepts gently used hats as donations.

Young hopes more people will want to get involved as knitting and crocheting becomes a widespread practice at Augustana. Knitters and crocheters agree. This spike in crafting may be due to several reasons.

Seeger said interest in hand-making such items has likely impacted the campus trend.

“I think that it goes in cycles, like style,” Nodsle said. “It was out when I learned, and now it’s in.”

“It might be one of those trends that circulate between being cool and being ‘uhhh,’” Young agreed.

No matter what the garment, purpose or popularity, knitting and crocheting has Augustana students giddy and tied up in stitches.

Those interested in knitting, crocheting or donating to Warm Hands, Warm Feet should contact Young at rayoung12@ole.augie.edu or visit the Warm Hands, Warm Feet website at http://www.sweethopefoundation.org/our-projects/warm-heads-warm-feet.