‘Too darn much fun’
By Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Eight-year-old Reid Buster wants to get going with his next knitting project.
“I came into the library one day and I saw what was going on,” said Reid of library assistant Sally Fuller’s wildly-popular knitting circle at Glenwood Springs Elementary School. “I asked Mrs. Fuller if I could learn how to knit too, and she said yes.”
Reid just finished his first project – a scarf, or as he describes it, “kind of a necklace scarf for a tiny neck. I gave it to Mr. Sheffel,” a fifth-grade teacher at the school.
Fuller said just as many boys as girls have been interested in learning to knit.
“That makes sense because fishermen have to know how to weave their nets together, and they knit those wonderful, warm Irish fishermen’s sweaters,” she said.
Fuller said the school’s knitting group started by chance.
“In January, I was knitting a sweater at school,” Fuller said. “A little third-grader asked me what I was doing. She was curious, so I showed her what I was doing. A few other students gathered and wanted to learn too, and it just kept growing.”
Now, a knitting group of Glenwood Elementary kids meets in the school library from 7:45-8:15 in the morning before school starts, and again after school at 3:20 p.m.
“Sometimes we have as many as 30 kids in here knitting,” Fuller said. “More than 70 kids have learned how to knit since January. I think it’s because knitting is such a kick. It’s just too darn much fun.”
Knitting with chopsticks
Knitting’s not only fun, but it’s educational, too.
Fuller said research indicates when children engage in activities like weaving, braiding, knot-tying and knitting, they use mathematics by counting their stitches. They also must concentrate, which can lead to a better ability to problem-solve.
And making a knitted object, be it a shawl, purse, bookmark or potholder, helps build self-esteem.
“Knitting’s great, because the kids learn how to knit quickly, and can make something fast that makes them feel very good,” said Fuller.
As Fuller’s knitting program took off, she decided to make it as cost effective as possible. She used chopsticks from local Chinese take-out restaurants for needles, and yarn donated by staff.
“Chopsticks aren’t as slippery as regular knitting needles so they’re easier to learn with,” said Fuller. “And a lot of knitting needles are just too big for these kids. It’s like knitting with skis.”
“Practicing all the time”
Bianca Alvarado, 8, got the knitting bug at school. Since then, she’s taught her mom and her aunt how to knit.
“They’re practicing all the time,” said the third grader. “For awhile, they wouldn’t let me knit because they had the needles and yarn!”
Dolly Contreras, 10, is in fourth grade. She knew how to crochet before she took up knitting, but she said knitting is a lot different.
Third grader Erica Arensman, 9, has made a potholder, a tiny purse, and just finished a big purse, made with bright yellow yarn.
“All I need is a strap, and I’m done!” Arensman said.
Second grader Jenna Brown, 8, is what you might call a bi-cultural knitter.
“I first started learning Mrs. Fuller’s way,” said Jenna, “and now my mom taught me the European way. Now I know how to knit both ways.”
Jenna’s mom, Barb Brown, works at the school’s computer lab. She helps out with the knitters in the mornings and afternoons when she can, as does mom Karin Gamba.
And kids can even be seen knitting away during recess.
“It looks like a bunch of grandmas and grandpas out there in the playground,” said Fuller with a smile.
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518
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