“Sweaters for Cameron”: the crochet circle that brings the community together

A brand new crochet and knitting circle began meeting in November, with high hopes of having an impact on both ETSU students and the community outside.

“Sweaters for Cameron” is held every Thursday from 5-7 p.m. in the Gump Conference Room at Ross Hall. Entrants are welcome to bring their own supplies to create individual 8×8 squares of any color.

Abby Simpson, the ETSU Roan Scholar who led the initiative, shares that the intention is to combine all of the individual squares into one large blanket, which will be used to cover the trunk of the Cameron tree, located in the University Commons.

“Putting the squares on the tree somehow represents caring, love and [the] community that comes together for a great cause,” Simpson said. “[It’s] a work of art that has a community meaning behind it.

As part of the Roan Impact Focus, Simpson was challenged to form a healthy habit over the summer and then turn it into something that could impact the community.

“I picked up the habit of crocheting from a friend and it really helped my stress levels,” Simpson said. “So I started teaching my family, I started teaching my friends and I saw how much they liked it.”

Simpson quickly saw the potential of crochet for his peers at ETSU. Wanting to teach others the healthy habit of crocheting, she decided to start “Sweaters for Cameron” after hearing about a school in Indiana that was crocheting blankets for all the trees on its campus.

While Simpson would like to follow suit and cover more trees on campus, his main focus right now is to cover the Cameron tree, as it will take 148 squares to cover the entire trunk of the tree.

The decision to use the Cameron Tree as the focal point for the project was not a difficult one. Dedicated to the loss of a professor’s son, the Cameron Tree is not only a distinct landmark of the ETSU campus, but also of the rest of the region.

Simpson shares that covering the tree in a blanket made by students and members of the surrounding community is a way to honor and remember what the Cameron tree stands for, while showing unity and community attention.

“Putting [the blanket] on a tree that has such great symbolism on campus and in our community kind of shows us that we come together,” Simpson said.

Those who want to contribute to “Sweaters for Cameron” don’t have to be advanced level crocheters and knitters; all levels of experience are welcome to participate in the weekly circle, which Simpson hopes to continue in the spring semester.

The circle will not meet during the Thanksgiving holiday, but recurring meetings will resume the following week.