The Chronicles of Yarnia: The crochet, the knit and the cross stitch

Knitting, the act of forming yarn with a series of loops via needles, is generally stereotyped as an elderly woman’s hobby. However, The Chronicles of Yarnia, UAA’s knitting and crocheting club, strives to change this perception.

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Chronicles of Yarnia club members pose behind their table during their first sale of the semester on Oct. 24. Photo credit: Chronicles of Yarnia

Since spring of 2014, the club has shared a goal of keeping people, especially the younger crowd, interested in taking up yarn crafts. They express the love of knitting with their members and the UAA community through weekly meetings and sales on campus while building a sense of togetherness through group activities and services.

The Chronicles of Yarnia have been named UAA’s student club of the year for two consecutive years, and for good reason. They host a variety of events, including workshops and an upcoming DIY night next semester with UAA’s DIY club. However, the best showcase of their skills is through their biggest events: Sales.

Featuring products handmade exclusively by members, the club hosts as many as five to six sales per semester. Sales incorporate many products produced by a variety of members, including hats, cowls, stuffed animals, scarves, mittens, socks, blankets and more.

They even do custom orders. Sarah LaBelle, applied technologies leadership major, makes many of her products outside of the club’s hours, specalizing in hats and scarves.

Johnson’s favorite specialty item to make is stuffed alpacas.

“I like [the alpacas] because of their unique and cute style,” Johnson said,. “The 3-D design is popular among buyers.”

Founded by two former UAA students, the club has been active for three years, now in the hands of president Molly Johnson, a German major. Inspired by her crafty aunt, Johnson picked up the art of knitting through her family and YouTube videos.

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Alpacas crocheted by Molly Johnson were one of many items available for sale. Photo credit: Chronicles of Yarnia

Other members had similar inspirations. K.C. Mandt, the treasurer of the club and a psychology major, got into knitting through his mother, who knit frequently and had an abundance of supplies laying around the house. Mandt picked up the craft one summer, many years ago, and has been doing it ever since.

Anna Ivanova, physical therapy assistant major and vice president, however, joined simply to learn to speak English after coming to Alaska from Russia.

“And it worked!” Ivanova said.

The club was formed to bring together like-minded people who share an interest in yarn crafts. They wish to create a community through low key meetings, which act more as a social group than anything. Anyone, despite age or skill level, is welcome to come.

There is no limit to the number of products members can make, creating a unique variety from sale to sale. The crafters name their own prices, taking the cost of materials, time spent knitting or crocheting and the difficulty of the product into consideration. Proceeds and donations go to new materials and to fund other club events.

“We price our products reasonably since our market is mainly college students who we understand are typically in debt,” Johnson said.

Events prior to holidays usually produce Yarnia’s best turnouts, although the most successful sale so far this semester was their first on Oct. 24.

“We had so many products available that were made over the summer,” LaBelle said, “and that attracted a lot of customers.”

The Chronicles of Yarnia is open to any student of UAA. The club meets every Wednesday in the Cuddy Hall from 3 – 6 p.m., with members available to teach the crafts of knitting, crocheting and cross stitching in as few as three meetings, confirmed by their two new members this semester.

Be sure to catch their upcoming sales, and the last of the fall semester on Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the Social Sciences Building.