Knitting became cloaked, cozily, in a spirit of girlie rebellion in the early 2000s with subversive primers such as Stitch ’n Bitch. The hobby caught on initially with the Goth types, whose first-time projects often languished unfinished because black yarn poses such a visual challenge.
At Marist, though, knitting has returned to its more wholesome warp and woof. “I’m not a really artsy person, but I do this because my grandma does,” says Georgia Smith, a thirteen-year-old whose shiny, blond head is frequently bowed, eyes squinted in concentration, over a scarf in progress. She explains, “There are two basic kinds of stitches: knit and purl—um, that’s purl with a ‘u,’ not like the jewelry. It’s a great way to do something productive when you’re bored. You have something you can hold in your hands at the end of it.”
And something comforting to share. One of the club’s ongoing projects is crafting squares that are used to make afghans for chemotherapy patients. “We try to knit with a purpose,” says teacher-adviser Susanne Greenwood. “And the girls—it’s mostly girls, but we’ve had a few young men who were excellent knitters—usually end up making Christmas gifts, which makes me feel good.”
Knitting also develops patience and focus. “They’re all so busy,” Greenwood says. “This is an outlet. Your hands have to be very relaxed to make these stitches. So it’s calming.”
For that reason, she does not expect the trend to unravel. “Knitting has been around a long time, and our club has become fairly well established, so I think it’s here to stay, whether knitting is considered in vogue or not.” And according to fashion prognosticators, “chunky knitwear”—like cardigans made with a big, round needle—will undergo another surge in popularity, so expect even more stitches in time.
Pictured from left: Katie Buckis, Joanna Lu, and Candice Lee / Photo by Christopher T. Martin