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Yearning for yarn

Library hosts new teen knitting club

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLAIRE COLBY - From left, Sophia Anikin, Elaine Spence and Anya Kramer work on their scarves. In 2016, when new social media apps and cell phone games seem to pop up by the second, you’d be hard pressed to find a teenager holding a ball of yarn unless there’s a Pokemon balancing atop it.

That is, unless you head downstairs to the West Linn Public Library’s teen center on Wednesday afternoons. There, between 1 and 2 p.m., Teen Services Librarian Elaine Spence presides over the library’s new knitting club with an ever-rotating group of young kids.

The early returns on the club, which formally began in July, have been encouraging according to Spence, and the club is part of a larger initiative to create a new “Makerspace” at the teen center. The Makerspace, which will likely debut in late September, is described by Spence as a “creativity center” at the teen room that will house everything from a 3D printer to art and craft supplies, film equipment and editing software.

“It came about kind of in conjunction with our Makerspace that we’re just getting up and running,” Spence said. “I was also trying to think of some sort of group project here that we could do that would have a charitable aspect to it, so kids could do something for a great cause.” To that end, knitting club members are focusing on making scarves that will eventually be used to decorate the library’s holiday tree and donated to the West Linn Food Bank.

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLAIRE COLBY - Teens participating at the librarys knitting club have concentrated on making scarves that will eventually be donated to the West Linn Food Pantry.

“We have a holiday tree at the library where we collect hats and mittens and we give them to the food bank to distribute with their holiday baskets,” Spence said. “So I thought we could knit scarves and hats — although so far we seem to just be in scarf mode — and that it would be easy to learn how to knot scarves together. ... I wanted to make sure it was a local project kids could identify with.”

The club has attracted about 10 participants so far, Spence said, and weekly attendance is not required. Rather, knitters are allowed to come and go at their own pace, with some taking their projects home to work on while others leave the knitting strictly for Wednesday afternoons with Spence’s guidance.

“It’s been a great kind of ‘drop-in’ project that way,” Spence said. “No one has needed to make a big commitment, but we’ve had some returning people.”

One of those devoted attendees is 11-year old Sophia Anikin, who is preparing to enter sixth grade at Rosemont Ridge Middle School.

“I’m learning,” Sophia said. “Some years ago, I learned how to knit, but I forgot. I heard there was game night (at the library), and when I looked at the website there was this knitting club, so I thought I could join.”

Club participation isn’t limited to kids; Spence said that parents have joined the fun on a number of occasions.

“We’ve also had nice involvement from parents and grandparents who have stopped and knitted as well,” Spence said.

The club will officially run through the end of August, but Spence hopes to continue with similar projects in the very new future.

“Depending on interest, I’m hoping we can continue through the school year, so we can get these scarves done,” she said. “If there’s interest in it, I would be happy to keep knitting club as an ongoing event, along with other clubs as people show interest.”

A natural extension of knitting club might focus on quilt-making and sewing, for instance.

“My skill is actually in quilt making and sewing, and so that would be a natural for me to teach as well,” Spence said. “I like the aspect of me learning along with the kids, but in terms of something I’m really proficient at, that’s something I could teach that the kids may not have that much experience with either. Because the days of home ec and sewing in school are long gone.”

To learn more, contact Spence at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLAIRE COLBY - 11-year old Sophia Anikin, left, and Teen Services Librarian Elaine Spence work on their scarves during knitting club at the library's teen center.

Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..