Members of the crochet club at Ridgeway Community School break out the hooks and yarn as they create headbands and purses.
by LAURA HAYES
There may be many different reasons for Ridgeway Community School students to want to join the brand new crochet club — some students wanted to learn how to crochet, while others wanted to continue what they were taught by mothers or grandmothers. Other students simply love crafts.
One of the students who’s become involved with the club is fourth grader Callie Schams, who said that she was taught how to crochet by her grandmother. “I knew how to crochet, but I didn’t know [how to crochet] in certain ways,” Schams said. “Like the blanket stitch. There’s the train stitch.”
It’s become one of Ridgeway’s most popular clubs, School Coordinator Jodi Dansingburg said during a charter school update to the Winona Area Public Schools Board. During the first meeting, 25 students gathered in the art room to learn how to crochet and do other crafts such as decorating cards with stamps.
Now, with the end of the club’s six weeks approaching, the number of students is still high.
“We were really surprised the first time [we met],” Julie Myers said. “There were 25 children and I think five of them were boys. We were thinking that there would be maybe five or six … They’re content. They like to crochet their strings.”
Myers and her three sisters, Brenda Stinson, Sue Loken, and Mary Lou Myers, lead the club, teaching the kids different skills and helping to plan some of their projects.
While some of the kids knew how to crochet going into the club, Myers and her sisters had to teach the rest of the students. “We walked around the tables, and a lot of them knew what a hook was,” Myers said.
Myers explained that they showed the students how to make a slipknot onto the hook and help them get started. “They’re still chaining and we’d love for them to get past that, but they love their [crocheted] chains,” Myers said.
The club is made up of students in second to fifth grade. Dansingburg said that Stinson, who had some time off after surgery and has a granddaughter at the school, started the club. “She said, ‘I’m home and I want to do something at the school.’ She had been teaching [her granddaughter] Lillyan how to crochet, and we thought about trying a crochet club,” Dansingburg said.
Throughout the activities, the students have learned how to crochet headbands with flowers, small square purses, and embroider felt, making festive ornaments to stuff with cotton.
“Around Christmas time we bought fleece and made scarves out of it. We cut fringe on the edge, and they crocheted around the sides of it and gave them as presents,” Myers said. “I was amazed. They really did a good job. I think everyone did at least one, if not more than one.”
“I gave mine to my teacher,” second grader Julia Millen added.
One of the benefits of learning to crochet, Myers said, was that students can gain confidence because they now know how to make things. “It’s good for dexterity. I’m surprised, at the ages of them, that they’re able to get it and do well. I think it’s good for them to do things with their hands,” Myers said.
Dansingburg added that crocheting helped students learn concentration and fine-tune their fine motor skills. “Maybe it’s a little hard, but that perseverance comes by learning a new skill … I think it’s just great.”