It all started when Adrienne Rolwes arrived to Mater Ecclesiae in July. Adrienne, the dean of students in charge of the junior class, is beloved by all of us. She’s also an avid crocheter. Our first response to this hobby was good-natured ridicule. “You’re too young for this!” we’d tease her. Adrienne took it all with a smile, and bided her time. Not long after the school year started, a group of us wandered into the auditorium after dinner and saw not one, but two balls of yarn and two crochet hooks on one of the couches in the back. Still not grasping the seriousness of the situation, we merely laughed, as usual. “Adrienne’s gaining a following!” we chuckled. Little did we know how right we were.
Academic advisors. Professors. Administration team members. Students. One after another, they all fell under the spell of Adrienne’s flying crochet hook. People who hadn’t crocheted or knitted in past years suddenly brought forth their buried talent, while others learnt the skills for the first time. All together, they’ve formed a club, the exact name of which is still under debate. The first suggestion was the Happy Hookers, which was rejected due to its doubtful appropriateness in a Catholic college. Besides, since one or two members knit, and knitting needles don’t have hooks, it didn’t seem right to exclude them. The name currently being bandied about is the Chicks with Sticks – a bit more inclusive; if necessary, it could even include hockey players.
I really should stop for a moment here and admit the truth: I’m not in the club. I won’t ever be in the club. I decided to write about the club because they make me laugh - no, not out of derision; it’s just good-natured amusement. But since I’m not in the inner circle, I really should let the members speak for themselves. I’ve spoken to most of them about their choice of hobby, and during the course of my interviews, Colleen Littleton and Taniele Tucker expressed reservations about my writing this piece. “We don’t want to be mocked,” Taniele told me. “We don’t want to be called a ‘granny club’ anymore.” I assured them both that I aim for high ethical reporting standards in my blog, and that I shall present an unbiased explanation – using their own words – of why they do what they do, and why they love to do it.
“It’s calming to do something with my hands,” says senior Amelia Watkins, expressing the sentiments of many of the club members. “I thought I would give knitting a try and then I just couldn’t stop.” Amelia, incidentally, classifies herself as an independent knitter rather than a member of the club, but I think her comments still have value here. Mariana Velázquez agrees with Amelia, and says that crocheting is a perfect hobby for the long Rhode Island winters, which can make outdoor sports impossible for months at time. Other knitters/crocheters have said that it’s a great bonding experience to spend their downtime together, relaxing and doing something they enjoy.
And what do they make with their busy hands? All sorts of things. Mariana is making mittens for Amelia. Amelia is making a scarf for Mari Granadillo. Mari is making a square. At least that’s what it looks like to me. Taniele just finished a beautiful white tote bag. “It’s a statement,” she says. “I’d like to be quoted as saying that this tote is a statement to anyone who thinks that crocheting and knitting is for grannies. No granny would have made a tote like this.” Please view the attached picture, and I think you’ll agree. Taniele also informed me (“don’t forget to mention this” were her exact words) that some of the items are on their way to newborns at a crisis pregnancy center – what better destination for objects made with so much love and care? For the Chicks with Sticks, you see, knitting and crocheting is more than a mere hobby; as several of them tried to explain to me, it’s an almost profound sort of experience, spanning generations (many club members learnt their skills from aunts or grandmothers) and forming bonds of friendship. Hmmm. Maybe I should think about giving it a try after all. In the meantime, I think I’ll go find out what exactly Mari’s vision is for that square.