Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Out Clubbin': Sit-N-Knit Club

Posted 04/17/2008 by Manny Perez

“Knit young grasshopper. Knit.”
by Manny Perez

sitandknit2.jpgClub Statement
“The Sit-N-Knit club is dedicated to providing a creative and fun environment where knitters of all levels can get together and share their talents. Whether you have never cast a single stitch or you are an experienced knitter who has expertise to offer, this is the place for you. Our purpose is to foster creativity and collaboration in a comfortable environment.” – TJ High School Librarian Sudi Stodola

The Setting
    The Sit and Knit Club meets in the library on the top floor of the school. Most of the walls of the very large rectangular space are lined with bookshelves made from some pine-ish wood. Nearly all of the tables and chairs are made of the same material and so the entire room feels unified and matching. Specifically, the club meets on the table nearest the librarian’s desk for mobility convenience. The place is quiet and calm and is the ultimate atmosphere for concentrated work.

Operation: Back Loop

    I was a bit late as I dashed through the library’s security checkers. Previously I was speaking to Mr. Almond about the elaborate details of Lost and I seemed to have rambled long enough to forget the time. Luckily though, I quickly realized what was happening and arrived a few seconds later at the first ever Sit and Knit Club meeting.

    Sudi Stodola, the resident librarian and founder of the club, is at her usual desk as she points me to one of the tables to her left. There, sitting and knitting  (unsurprisingly), I meet the young Ruyi Du, who is busily intent on looping some yarn around two sticks, which is completely alien to me. I try not to distract her focus at that exact moment and I look around at what is lying on the table.


    There is a large square basket containing a dozen or so balls of yarn, about five paper bags, which I assume hold some kind of food, chopsticks, scissors, and a bag of goldfish crackers. After taking a mental picture of the scene for future reference I turn towards the pleasant looking girl sitting across the table and ask her name. Seemingly just realizing my presence, she quickly looks up from detangling a sewing error, and introduces herself as Ruyi Dun. She tells me that she has been knitting for about half a year already and asks me how long I’ve been at it. I explain to her that I’m actually a reporter for the Journal and that this would be the first time I touch yarn with any constructive idea in mind. “It’s not that hard,” she informs me as she twirls the string around her little plastic needles in complex formations that make me blink a few times. I have doubts.

    Having finally finished all her librarian duties, and providing me a few minutes to wave the sticks around yelling "Avada Kedavra!”, Mrs. Stodola walks over from her desk and officially places me in the club, handing me one of the paper bags in the basket. I learn that they don’t hold food (much to my dismay) but instead carry an assortment of knitting essentials. Rummaging through it I find a pair of chopsticks (“We call them knitting needles”), a thick plastic card thing called a “Count Ten Plus” (which measures stitches or something), metal stitch holders, a package of plastic needles, scissors, and in addition, Mrs. Stodola throws in a few soft ring things I doubt have purpose to a newbie. This would be my very own starter kit I can keep and have forever. I’m honestly overjoyed about it, though, taking into account my current expertise, it is about as effective as handing me a blowtorch and asking me to create something beyond a mound of melted metal.

    Upon hearing this, Mrs. Stodola smiles, repeats Ruyi’s encouragement, and lifts up her knitting needles in a manner of asking me to do the same. I clink my two needles in a crossed position and she tells me how bamboo is the preferred material for needles by the “experts”; they don’t poke through the yarn, they’re immensely comfortable to hold, and they only improve over time. Looking more closely at mine, I notice why all of these would be true and I think: tools. I think: wands. I think: swords! “Ok. I’m ready,” I say, refraining from swinging them around in a fashion that screams “dual-wield”.

We begin.

    At Mrs. Stodola’s request, I pick out a color of yarn and she ties the first pink knot around one of my needles and instructs me in the next steps. Doing so, I wrap the yarn in the specified method and before I realize it, I have a stitch. I’m ecstatic – that is until I’m asked to do it again. My teacher laughs and helps me once again. The process reminds me of the first time I tried learning to tie my shoes, except this time my laces are very, very, long and I’m not allowed to touch them with my hands. Instead I’m only given sticks with which to tie them. I realize knitting is like playing soccer with golf clubs.

    I keep tying stitches, with Mrs. Stodola’s aid of course, and by the sixth knot I’ve memorized the intricacies and I try one by myself. I accomplish the four steps with little error and am overjoyed. I attempt another, but having had my mind wiped from the simple excitement, I half-forget the steps once again, and I crawl back to Mrs. Stodola for more assistance. She laughs, and wisely instructs me on the next movement. I finish up a few more, containing myself, and by then I have twelve beautiful pink stitches.

    The next step is to transfer the dozen to my other needle and, beside the final stitch, I do so rather uneventfully. After the transfer I need to knit another dozen, and so on and so on until I have something that hopefully resembles a scarf.

    By about an hour in, I’ve made quite a bit of progress and have created some sort of structure made-up of tangles. I’m speaking to Ruyi and Mrs. Stodola (“So, I sez to Mabel, I sez…”), and being the very gesture-based communicator that I am, I sweep my hands around as I speak, and apparently also while I knit. This is when, by a very unfortunate motion of my hands, I scrape my two needles together and propel my entire work flying onto the table. Terror-struck, I stop mid-sentence as I stare at the now unrecognizable pile of yarn I had worked on for the past hour, slumped before me. Ruyi and Mrs. Stodola both sit agape for a second before bursting into laughter. Mrs. Stodola gingerly lifts up my pile, eyes it for a few moments and then says, to my relief, “I think we can still save it.” Positioning my needle, she slips twelve of the loops around it, and I begin to breath again.

The Specifics
“We are into skill-building and information sharing and just having fun. So come join us after school on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 4:30. We welcome your presence,” said Mrs. Stodola.

AwesomeSweaterofDOOM.jpg Left: Scarf in its amazing first stages.