A group of students gathered recently in front of a fire in the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center with balls of yarn at their feet, long needles in their hands and partially finished gifts in their laps – the beginnings of hats, scarves and headbands.
They were here on this night to carry on the tradition of Fireside Knitting, an activity started by former student Ethan Nonomura ’12, who had actually tutored many of the students in the room. Several of the knitters present mentioned that Nonomura is exceptionally talented at his craft. They traded stories of some of his finer creations, such as an octopus hat with tentacles for ear flaps and a “smitten” – a knit hollow tube for two lovers so they can join hands through winter. “You hold hands with the girl you’re smitten with,” someone explained.
Eric Levenson ’15 said he had learned how to knit from Nonomura as a way to pass time last winter break. “It started off as a funny thing and it turned out to be great,” he said. “When we wanted to hang out, we’d get yarn and knit.”
Eliot Taft ’15, knitting a hat in a chair nearby, added, “Or knit and watch football.”
This fall semester, Levenson said he and Taft began inviting fellow knitters to come to Thursday-night knitting circles at the Outing Club, resurrecting the tradition they enjoyed so much last year. A small group generally arrives around 8 p.m. with their yarn and needles. A few bring musical instruments.
“It’s nice because I don’t have class on Friday,” Molly Rider ’15 said, as she worked on a scarf made of soft midnight-blue yarn. “It’s a nice way to wind down and not have to think for a bit.”
Elijah Ober ’15 said he was attracted to the productivity of knitting, and its potential. “I’d like to make all my own clothes,” he said, which made Levenson laugh, presumably because Ober is still working on finishing his second creation, a hat. “My dream is to knit my own wardrobe,” Ober continued, undeterred by anyone’s skepticism.
Working on a lime green scarf, Eli Peirce ’15 said he, too, is gratified by the feeling of productivity as he knits. “A valuable life skill,” he said. And, he added, “It’s a good excuse to come out and hang out with great people.”
Nine Scheepers ’14, who learned how to knit when she was 10, said she knits a lot by herself but prefers to do it with others. “It’s nicer to knit and socialize,” she said.