Some Fremont Elementary School students choose to spend their Friday lunch recess in the classroom instead of on the playground.
They do so to spend time with needles and yarn as part of the school’s new knitting club.
“I have been knitting about 25 years,” said Kathy Timm, who teaches second grade at the school. “Students have approached me (about learning to knit), but it’s not anything you can do by yourself.”
Timm has been joined by fifth-grade teacher Kris Sroka and retired 4-year-old kindergarten teacher Wendy Weiss in teaching students how to knit.
The idea to start the club stemmed from the knitting group that Weiss started last fall.
She invited Sroka to join the club.
“I have done other crafty things. All three of my daughters knit. Somewhere in the conversation during the group we thought it would be great to start a knitting club at school,” Sroka said.
Weiss suggested that Sroka talk to Timm about it since Timm has been knitting for years.
“We opened it up to fourth and fifth grade,” Sroka said. “We were amazed at the number of kids wanting to participate.”
The number of students in the club totals 28.
“I was shocked by how many students wanted to do it,” Timm said.
During a visit to Yarns by Design in Neenah, she learned that the National Needlework Association might be able to help them get the knitting started at the school.
Timm contacted the association and was able to get yarn, needles and instruction books for the students.
In addition, Yarns by Design donated some yarn, and Timm brought in her leftover yarn from projects.
On the first day that the club met, the teachers talked to the students about the different types of yarn and needles, where the yarn actually comes from and how it is dyed different colors.
“Then, it just really took off, and nobody has dropped off,” Sroka said.
The knitting club, which is called Knoon Knitters, meets from 11:30 a.m. to noon on Fridays in Sroka’s classroom. Timm, Sroka and Weiss help the students with their projects. Most of the students are working on scarves.
“We’ll get them starting to read patterns eventually,” Timm said. “We’ll see how it goes and when the warm weather comes, if they’ll still stay with us.”
The students who have joined the club are enjoying it.
Fourth-grade student Justin Kempf describes knitting as being “easy and tricky at the same time.” He also says that knitting is fun, and “you can make things a little cheaper – a key thing these days.”
Anna Matos is in fifth grade at the school. About a year ago, her aunt taught her how to crochet. Matos saw learning how to knit as being the next step. “I like doing it because it relaxes me,” she said.
That comment was echoed by other students.
Fifth-grader Noah Rucks said knitting calms him and that he decided to try it because he likes to try different things.
Timm said that in addition to helping people relax, knitting also helps them improve their fine motor skills and their eye and hand coordination skills.
“I’m impressed with how quickly they’re picking it up,” she said. “We will be teaching them different stitches as they are ready to progress.”
Some students visit her classroom before the school day begins to ask questions or get a bit of help, and Sroka said that the school’s Parent Teacher Organization has offered to give $100 toward any supplies that the club might need.
Weiss said knitting takes time and patience, and that it is important for the students to see that they are capable of doing it.
There are also other benefits from this new club.
“It brings us together as a community across generations, because we’re all sharing in the same activity,” Timm said.