A college student may not often fit the stereotype of a knitter, but people who knit and crochet can be found across all populations. Indeed, there is a surprisingly robust knitting culture on the Gonzaga campus if you know where to look.
This inspired two juniors, Nikki Snyder and Lilly LeBlanc, to set up a knitting and crochet club at GU last spring. This is the first year the club has been fully operational, with meetings held in College Hall, Room 245 at 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The club has attracted many Zags interested in learning to knit or crochet, as well as those looking for a place to work on projects and share a hobby with friends.
The knitting and crochet club welcomes beginners and experienced fiber artists alike.
“I’ve talked to a lot of knitters, but I don’t know anyone who knits,” LeBlanc said at a club meeting in November. “There are actually a lot of people who have this hobby, but I think it’s all in your pocket. It is a goal of the club to bring all these people who have this interest together in one place so that we can share it. “
While many of GU’s knitters have so far sewed in solitude, LeBlanc and Snyder talked about the benefits of doing handicrafts together.
“I think Nikki and I found that knitting is a surprisingly social activity because it’s really easy to just talk while you’re working on it,” said LeBlanc. “I knit almost every day now and that’s because I have people to do it with.”
For people who have their projects and enjoy working on them, it can be nice to both remember how to do it and to have other people who understand what you are doing and are also excited when you get something done said LeBlanc.
Not only do Snyder and LeBlanc provide a social atmosphere for knitting and crocheting, they are also available at club meetings to help other Zags learn the craft.
“People want to learn to knit, but we don’t want them to have to teach themselves,” said Snyder.
Club members who have been consistent in their learning endeavors will find success in the knitting and crochet club.
“There have been a lot of people who have made good progress in coming,” said LeBlanc.
The club also provides materials for members to help Zags try something new without investing in supplies.
Snyder and LeBlanc discovered their passion for knitting at a local shop, The Hook and Needle Nook, while taking a sock knitting class together last October. The shop is owned and run by Esther Wheeler, a retired biochemist who has found a second career in the fiber world.
The Hook and Needle Nook at 1508 N. Monroe St. can be of great help to anyone in Spokane looking for knitting or crocheting. The shop offers a wide variety of courses including a sweater knitting course and a beginner’s crochet course.
“I’m a teacher by trade, so part of my commitment to the store is to pass some of this knowledge about fiber art on to people so they can enjoy it too,” said Wheeler. “Because it was a great pleasure for me.”
The store also has a wide variety of yarn and other consumables for sale, and the staff is always ready to help customers with projects. Snyder and LeBlanc both talked about going into the store with their own projects and getting advice.
“If someone has problems with a project, they can always come here and find help,” said Wheeler.
Wheeler described how she came up with the idea for her store after connecting with the local knitting community when she moved to Spokane after completing her career as a professor of biochemistry. Their success is testament to the strength of the fiber community in the city.
As in the greater Spokane area, the knitting and crochet culture also lives on the GU campus. With the new forum of the Knitting and Crochet Club, there has never been a better time to pick up knitting needles or crochet hooks and spend some time tinkering with other Zags.
Maureen Parks is a writer.