Students, faculty and staff knit a community
Sunita Gurung bent over her knitting needles, concentrating intently on getting the stitch just right.
Tamara Yohannes, an assistant professor of English, watched her, giving pointers and encouragement.
The two, a novice and a recent state fair blue ribbon winner, were among more than 25 faculty, students and staff who attended the first meeting of a campus knitting and crochet circle Sept. 1 at the Honors House.
"I've been to knitting circles and really love the community aspect of it," said Olivia Sailor, who started the group. As honors social chair, her job is to promote the honors community. So the avid knitter decided one way to do that was to bring people to the Honors House to knit or crochet.
Sailor used the SGA and UofL Today e-mails to poll the campus community about its interest.
"One hundred and forty-three people signed up for the e-mail list," Sailor said in amazement, and at the first meeting the turnout made it clear that the group would have to have a larger room for future meetings.
"This is definitely a good thing," Yohannes said. "Everyone I've heard in the group has a fascinating story attached to knitting or crocheting. … There is something about handcraft that ties into family stories and connecting to people."
Sailor's story is one of them. Her mother taught her to knit in the fifth grade, but she didn't stick with it until she was a freshman in high school.
"My grandmother taught me then," she said. "She visited, and we stayed up until 4 a.m. knitting" and watching a BBC mini-series.
Now, about the only time Sailor doesn't knit is during the summer.
"By fall, I really need to make something," she said.
Gurung, a Metroversity student from Nepal, also learned to knit as a child. Her mother taught her, she said, but she hadn't knitted in 19 years before attending the knitting and crochet circle meeting.
"I wish my mother could see what I've done tonight," Gurung said, as she worked her way down a row of stitches.
"She's a good teacher," she said of Yohannes.
The knitting and crochet circle meets Wednesdays through Nov. 17, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Honors House. It is open to faculty, students and staff of all skill levels or to those who want to learn to knit or crochet.
For more information, e-mail Sailor.