Yearning for yarn
Library hosts new teen knitting club
In 2016, when new social media apps and cell phone games seem to pop up by the second, youd be hard pressed to find a teenager holding a ball of yarn unless theres a Pokemon balancing atop it.
That is, unless you head downstairs to the West Linn Public Librarys teen center on Wednesday afternoons. There, between 1 and 2 p.m., Teen Services Librarian Elaine Spence presides over the librarys 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 were 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 librarys holiday tree and donated to the West Linn Food Bank.
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 Spences guidance.
Its been a great kind of drop-in project that way, Spence said. No one has needed to make a big commitment, but weve 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.
Im 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 isnt limited to kids; Spence said that parents have joined the fun on a number of occasions.
Weve 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, Im hoping we can continue through the school year, so we can get these scarves done, she said. If theres 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 Im really proficient at, thats 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.