Sunday, December 24, 2006

Teens Knitting

As I desperately try to catch up on my blog reading I discovered that both Ann and Susan were promoting my Teen Knitting project and spreading my appeal to those who may not know of Squid Knits. To bring you up to date, "let me explain ...

... no, there is too much. Let me sum up."* I run a knitting club in a NYC public high school.

Several years ago I accidentally started a knitting club. At the time it was just a matter of teaching the one or two who saw me knitting and wanted to learn. I brought in some stash yarn and needles swiped from my mother-in-law and taught them. (I was trying to convert mom to circulars so I figured she'd never miss them from the shared needle stash. Yeah, that plan failed. I had to replace them when she wanted to knit a sweater.) These few kids showed their friends and off it went.

At the time I made an appeal on the Socknitters list and the knitters there, led by Elizabeth sent in so much yarn and so many needles that I thought I would drown in the stuff. Nope, didn't drown. The girls (mostly) grabbed the stuff and turned it in to blanket blocks (back then, very small ones) and later baby hats and booties for a teen mom program. They also turned the yarn in to scarfs, hats, vest and the like for themselves. The club rule -- you can use our stuff for yourself as long as you make at least one charity item for each item you make for yourself. Yes, the rule is not always followed but most of them do it.

For a few years I did not have time to run the club properly and it languished with only a few girls learning. This year, however, I made a conscious effort to promote it through signs around the school and weekly announcements on the public address system. The first week there were half a dozen girls. The following week they each brought a friend. It continued this way until last week (we've only been up and running since mid-November). The yarn that had languished in boxes for two years was out and about. Needles were poking out of and through back packs and, a boy learned how to knit! (Some girls taught him.)

After break I hope to get a proper accounting of all of the members by asking them to come by, register, and sign the card to go with our latest charity project, a blanket to be donated to some one who needs it. We will actually bring it a local organization where they know the neighborhood folks in need. The first blanket is almost done and I will post pictures of the finished object next week.

What our program needs, however, is knitting needles! I have already purchased over a dozen pair this year and have jury-rigged lots of long dpns that were in the school stash (nothing goes to waste with us). Since most of our donated yarns are worsted weight (good for blanket blocks and scarves and quick gratification) we mostly need needles in sizes 5 and up. The yarn boxes are also showing signs of the latest deluge but are less wanting then the needle cans. If you are so moved to donate supplies, you can send them to my attention (Devorah Zamansky, not Mama Squid please) at the school. (scroll to the bottom of the page for the school address) All donations are tax deductible.

Please note that I cannot and will not post pictures of the students to the blog. This is a personal blog and I usually try to keep work out of it. When the school website is updated I will try to get the MCSM Knitters page back up and running. That may or may not have pictures of the kids depending on who signs off on the waivers.

For those that need some incentive ... I will enter the names of every one who sends a box (one box = 1 entry) into a random drawing to happen ... say during Spring Break ... and there will be prizes. At the very least, some chocolate. Thank you for your generosity!

(*The Princess Bride)


Ann said...

I have the box packed and ready to seal up and take to the post office Tuesday. I figure it will be much easier to go through the mail after the holiday rush is over.

Hopefully we can cover you and your group in yarn and needles again!



KnittyOtter said...

I have some plastic needles that I don't use. Can you use those? They are from Joann Fabric and have dull points.

I'll look though the stash and see what I can find as well.


Anonymous said...

I have a box ready to go to the P.O. tomorrow - what a great project!

The link to the school web site isn't letting me through, though - can you send the address to me at ?