Nathan Burns goes Clubbing: Chronicles of Yarnia

This week, I learned that UAA has a crochet and knitting club called The Chronicles of Yarnia. The members can do magic with a crochet hook and a ball of yarn and that they are nice enough to teach their skills to a muggle like me.

Anna Iva, the first member to arrive greeted me and my friend Ryan. She introduced us to the next who arrived; a seasoned veteran of countless stitches, Iris Fletcher, who has been knitting for 16 years and crocheting for two. Fletcher showed us her project, beautiful squares that she adds a new layer of a different pattern to every week.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a thousand steps, and a project of a thousand stitches starts with me getting hopelessly lost. Fletcher explained how to make the simplest knot in crochet, the slipknot. She then explained several additional times, demonstrated it and eventually moved my hands until they made a slipknot. After only a couple of attempts I managed to get the second slipknot done by myself, and the third soon followed. I’d managed to make 10 stitches in a row in only 10 minutes, I had a mere ‘untold thousands of’ stitches left to go. It’s important to note that a fellow beginner in attendance was already starting on her second row by the time I got my first slipknot.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “If I pick up a fulfilling hobby, where will I get the time to watch all 10 seasons of Friends on Netflix?” Not the case with needlework. It’s very much a practical hobby that can be paired with literally any hands off activity.

“I watch so much Netflix,” said Fletcher. “You can watch tv shows, listen to music, watch movies, and even just sit here talking with some friends and get so much done.”

I took away that If you can’t pick up the hobby, you should definitely try to make some knitting friends for yourself.

“I was wearing a scarf I made… and someone asked where I got it, I told her I made it myself, and she asked if she could pay me to make three scarves for her daughters for Christmas,” said Fletcher. “Siri [Cooper — another member of The Chronicles of Yarnia] sells things straight off the needle.”

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I could see why. Cooper’s hand were a blur compared to my claymation like speed, and I asked her how long it took to knit one of her hats she brought with her to the meeting.

“Maybe 45 minutes, probably a little longer,” she said humbly, utterly disregarding the fact she made a hat in 45 minutes. Between my indecision and lack of a car, I don’t know if I could buy a hat in 45 minutes, much less make one.

“People get addicted to progress, they get addicted to saying, ‘I made this with my two hands,’ and it’s such an immediate visual and physical progress that you can’t help, but get excited. It’s making something from nothing,” said Fletcher.

I had to agree, even my bookmark that I made during my visit, which skews far to right and is twisted and contorted because I accidentally double looped my hook, felt like a tangible accomplishment in my hands. It was something more than nothing, not much more, but more nonetheless.

“It’s a perfect caterpillar by the way,” Cooper said about my bookmark.

I decided that a caterpillar was what I was aiming for the entire time, and now I see how someone can knit for a lifetime. You do get something done, you do see progress, you do have something real at the end of it. My “something” now sits proudly on my desk.

I learned more about knitting during my one and a half hours than I had up until that point in my life, or even imagined there was to learn about knitting. What’s more, I had merely scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg of a fascinating, useful and fun passion.

The Chronicles of Yarnia meets Thursdays from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in Cuddy Hall.