The author is a member of the association.
It’s common time on Friday, and wool enthusiasts gather in room 124 of the Central King Building. Many sit at desks and crochet furiously, while others watch tutorials, trying to keep up with their own hooks and yarns. Soothing music plays over a loudspeaker next to boxes of supplies, where several students are sorting skeins of yarn.
This is a typical meeting of the Knit N’ Crochet Club, one of many service-oriented organizations in the NJIT. Since its founding, the Knit N’ Crochet Club has provided students interested in the textile arts with a means to perfect their craft while serving the Newark community.
The club collects a variety of handmade items – hats, scarves, socks, blankets, stuffed animals – and donates them to shelters in Newark, such as The Apostles’ House. Varsha Thampi, a third-year biomedical engineering student and president of the Knit N’ Crochet Club, notes that the number of donations has steadily increased each year, with nearly 200 items donated to shelters last semester.
Thampi believes the club’s growing success can be largely attributed to the influx of students who have taken an interest in its activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. She mentioned, “A lot of people – myself included – picked up crochet hooks and knitting needles for the first time during quarantine. Now these are the people who teach new club members how to knit and crochet, so it’s very beginner friendly, and all the tools are provided. It’s wonderful to see so many members contributing donations and giving back to the community.
In addition to their work with the Newark community, the Knit N’ Crochet Club actively engages students on campus, with frequent contests and boba nights. They also hold alternating “Knit at Night” meetings on Wednesday evenings and “Crochet by Day” on Friday mornings, where members are invited to ask questions or solve problems for various projects.
For the upcoming semesters, the Knit N’ Crochet Club is looking to expand its activities and increase collaboration. In the past, the club has worked with other service organizations and fraternities such as Alpha Phi Omega for the distribution of donations.
“I’m especially interested in collaborating to add variety to our events and types of service opportunities,” Thampi said. “For example, we are planning presentations with organizations to promote sustainability and waste reduction. We would like to talk about recycling and reusing clothes, as well as events where members learn to knit their own bags and baskets.
The Knit N’ Crochet Club welcomes all new members, regardless of skill level. For more information on how to join the organization and to learn more about their meetings and activities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.