Stitch Club Gives Marquette Students Outlet to Learn Relaxing, Fun New Activity
May 26, 2023
Before mid-April, Kamya Trotter had never before picked up knitting needles.
Now, after five weeks of participating in Stitch Club at Marquette High, she’s well on her way to becoming an expert.
“I’ve been practicing my stitching. They taught me this new stitch and how to change out my yarn when I run out,” said Trotter, a junior. “What I like about it is you switch it up. You don’t have to stick with one color. You can make your own patterns. You have freedom to do what you want with it because it’s your design. Once you get in a zone, you really get into doing it.”
Stitch Club, which started this spring at Marquette, is a new weekly club that meets during AcLab. It routinely draws 15 to 20 students at all levels of skill in knitting and crocheting.
Marquette language arts teacher Jordan Shelton, the club’s sponsor, said there were a few motivations behind starting the club. First, she wanted to help provide a calm, relaxing place for students to hang out with friends in the middle of the school day. She also wanted to provide a positive activity for neurodivergent learners – such as students with ADHD – to turn to when they’re seeking to center themselves and stay more attentive.
Plus, it’s fun to learn how to make new things and exercise your creativity.
“I hope a lot of our students come and connect with each other. I hope it does increase their confidence and show the value of trying something new,” Shelton said. “My hope is we’re giving them something else to reach for that’s not completely taking them out of the moment that will contribute to better learning. For neurodivergent learners, It’s helpful for you to have something to fidget with, especially when you get the hang of it and it doesn’t take too much brain power. I’m trying to look for creative ways to bring new things to our kids and expose them to new things.”
Shelton facilitates each Stitch Club meeting with community member and former Marquette parent Heather Swan, who owns a business, Yarncom, dedicated to fiber arts in Creve Coeur.
Each meeting includes tutorials on new stitching and crocheting techniques, giveaways and free time for the students to explore their own designs. Swan is also in her second year of hosting a summer Project Interface intern through Rockwood Partners in Education (PIE).
“Being in Stitch Club, you’re learning a new skill. It’s helping your brain expand in certain ways,” Swan said. “What Rockwood does in this area is phenomenal. Any time I can support it and participate in it, I will definitely be doing that.”
Senior Payton Laspe said she joined the group along with her friend, Bryan Craft, who began crocheting after watching videos online a couple of years ago.
Even though Laspe is a beginner, she is enjoying the opportunity to learn something new in a comfortable setting.
“It’s therapeutic to do it over and over again,” Lapse said. “And the room and people in it, we’re all being low-key.”