Rec | Knitting: Students find creative hands-on hobby

Male and female students start knitting circle in Wilson Hall for a fun and unique way of relaxation outside of classes.

Thursday nights, students in Ball State freshman Emily Schuhmann's knitting circle face a battle over whether to watch "Must See TV" or knit. Instead they do both. On nights when the group is smaller, the knitting circle will move into someone's dorm room where they can watch "Friends" and the rest of NBC's lineup.

DN Photo/Jill Nance

KNITTING PRICES
A set of needles can be purchased for less than $5. A skein of yarn can range from $2 to $8, depending on if it is a specialty yarn. Yarn can be bought in simple cotton forms, wool, chenille, or even polar fleece. Colors are also available in a wide variety.

MEETING TIME
The knitting circle meets every Thursday at 8 p.m. and every Sunday at 9 p.m. at Wilson Hall’s fifth floor lounge.

DNGraphics

Schuhmann started a knitting circle in Wilson Hall's fifth floor lounge. Schuhmann attended Kentucky's Governor Scholar Program between her junior and senior years of high school where she took the knitting for relaxation course.

"I had a lot of stress, so I started knitting because it's a good stress reliever," Schuhmann said.

When Schuhmann arrived at Ball State this past fall, fellow students started to take notice of her uncommon hobby.

"Knitting is a fairly common thing," Schuhmann said. "People in the hall started coming to me for knitting advice."

After realizing the interest others had in learning more about knitting, Schuhmann said she decided to form a regular meeting to teach others how to knit. The knitting circle meets every Thursday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m.

"I like to teach people how to knit. It's fun and creative and you can get excited about their projects," Schuhmann said. "The fun thing about knitting is that there is no limit to what you can make or the patterns you can do. You are making a piece of art."

However, Schuhmann said she does receive some flack from others about knitting. To her dismay, she has been compared to Martha Stewart. Schuhmann said she does not see knitting as a simple craft project and dislikes the stereotypes that are often attached to knitting.

Schuhmann recalled a trip to Wal-Mart where she was buying eight skeins, or balls, of yarn and numerous sets of needles. When she encountered a male Wal-Mart employee, he said "It's so nice you go shopping for your grandma."

Schuhmann said the circle has gained popularity with as many as 15 at a meeting. "We keep getting new people," Schuhmann said.

Matt Heiman, one of two males who are part of the knitting circle, said he started knitting to broaden his horizons and learn new things. Although he said he is not too concerned about what others think when they learn that he knits. People are even a little surprised, then interested, he said.

Heiman said he likes the knitting circle because he can make people gifts, but also enjoys the math involved in figuring out how to construct the projects.

Currently working on a scarf and a steering wheel cover, Heiman also knits for the artistic aspects of the hobby.

After just learning how to knit when Schuhmann started the knitting circle, freshman Jessica Wehrly has completed two scarves, a sock, and is currently working on a hat.

"It's fun. You can be creative," Wehrly said. "Most people think it's weird, but cool. A lot of people want you make them stuff."

Wehrly said she enjoys her new knitting ability because it's portable and she can take it anywhere. She has already proven this by knitting during her speech class while others were presenting. Surprisingly, Wehrly said her professor's only response was to ask her what she was making.

Relaxation is not the only benefit that members of the knitting circle have found. Wehrly said she also sees it as something to do while doing something else. During her own time she now knits while watching television or when visiting friends in their rooms.

Knitting supplies can be found at local stores such as Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby. To get started, all you need is a skein of yarn and a set of knitting needles. Wooden needles are often recommended because they are easier to handle and are less likely to cause stitches to slide off the needle.


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