By: Mishaa Khan, Peak Associate
The SFU Knitting Club is a place for all types of knitters, from beginners to advanced crafters, and a frequent collaborator with the Women’s Centre, Health and Counselling and Out on Campus. SFU’s Knitting Club aims to give students a chance to de-stress, knit, and meet new people.
The Peak conducted an email interview with Jennifer Chou, the founder and president of the club and SFSS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences representative, to find out more about what SFU’s Knitting Club has to offer.
Chou said she created the club after doing her co-op with SFU Health and Counselling, where she noticed a lot of people were interested in learning how to knit at a table offered in the Creative Collective program. “I thought it’d be a long process, but it was actually pretty easy,” she recounts of her experience getting the club started. She writes “ I also didn’t know that there would be such a huge interest in knitting. I had always wanted to start a knitting club but it wasn’t until I got my co-op position at Health & Counselling that I got that push to.”
Her experience serves as an example to anyone who is interested in starting a club about something that they enjoy or are passionate about instead of waiting around for someone else to do it.
“Knitting was always a hobby of mine so I was really excited to share that and teach other people how to knit too,” Chou says. “I want to give others the opportunity to learn something they’ve always wanted to and to make something they can be proud of.” Chou also cites knitting as her way to de-stress and pass the time (for example, while taking transit) and it gives her a sense of pride.
The club hosts weekly drop-in sessions in the summer semester, where volunteers will be available to teach beginners how to knit as well as provide the materials required. The drop-in sessions alternate between the Surrey and Burnaby campuses. If you’re interested in attending, the confirmed drop-in dates this semester so far are May 23, May 30, June 6, and June 13. To find out more about the timing and location, you can check out their Facebook page.
You can bring your own projects to knit during these drop-in sessions, start a new project, or just practice. If you haven’t completed your project, you can either take it home with you and return the materials on another day or leave your project with the SFU Knitting Club and continue where you left off during the next drop-in session. A few examples of items knitted and crocheted during the drop-in sessions are shawls, stuffed animals, scarves, roses, mats, and rectangles.
Currently, the SFU Knitting Club is working on an exciting project where they will be partnering with The Door Is Open, provides a range of services and referrals in the Downtown Eastside, to distribute blankets. The club encourages anyone interested to stop by their drop-in sessions and knit a 5-by-5 inch square. These squares will then be sewn together to create blankets. If you can’t make it to any of the drop-in sessions, you can still contribute by making the square and passing it on to one of the club’s executives.
“I would like to also give students the option of donating $2 to have a knit square made in their name (with their initials embroidered on) so that the people who the finished blanket is donated to can see that a lot of people care,” Chou says. According to the club’s Facebook page,
Over the past year, the club has put on events such as a Semester End Celebration event and a Valentine’s Day fundraiser. At the Semester End Celebration, SFU students, staff, and faculty are given the chance to knit and enjoy some great company and delicious food. For Valentine’s Day, the club sold knitted roses to fundraise for supplies for their club, such as yarn. The roses sold out extremely fast.
Chou expresses the need to recruit more volunteers to make more knitted/crocheted items for fundraisers, so they have adequate amounts of knitted items. She also hopes to expand the number of fundraisers the club holds. Their fundraising table is usually in the AQ.
“I’d love to sell more things like crochet bunnies, whales, bubble teas, carrots, cat hats (hats with cat ears), and so on,” she says. Chou also wants to expand the fundraisers to cover more areas, such as setting up an award or scholarship to highlight how the arts have positively impacted student’s lives.
Chou has many positive experiences volunteering in the club. She shares how one of the volunteers taught her to crochet, something she had always wanted to learn.
“I’ve found that when everyone is focused on a task, there’s less pressure somehow . . . like nobody is looking at you, and everyone’s comfortable in silence because everyone’s focused on knitting,” Chou recounts.
In spite of stereotypes, Chou emphasizes that the Knitting Club is a place for everyone. She expresses happiness that the club helps break stereotypes and proves that knitting is not just a feminine art for old ladies, but a fun hobby that anyone can enjoy.
“It’s also really easy to start a conversation, especially one centred around SFU (‘what’s your major?’) or knitting (‘what do you want to learn how to make?’)” Chou writes, commenting on the social aspect of the club, which presents a great opportunity to meet people from all different majors and areas of study. “It’s really heartwarming to see students who don’t know each other start talking like old friends.” she states.