With the ever-growing pool of clubs, choosing to participate in only one can be difficult for students. One club that students can consider is Nifty Knitters, which was created by the group’s co-presidents to address two student interests, creativity and community service, while working around the strains of academic life.
While they were still in high school, Megan Epp and Shawna Langer began to think about creating a club with both a creative and a philanthropic focus. Despite not knowing a lot about yarn work at the time, they drew up the plans for what eventually became Nifty Knitters, a club for students with the aim to create knitwear and donate it to those in need of winter clothes.
Megan Epp, now a second-year psychology major, explains that the club’s main purpose is for students to help the local community in a creative way.
“We wanted to learn how to make something for someone else, rather than just donating money,” Epp said.
Any student can join Nifty Knitters regardless of their previous knowledge of yarn work, and Shawna Langer, a second-year kinesiology student, explains that the communityservice aspect of the club makes it a good resumé builder.
She recognizes that a lack of knowledge of yarn work, and of the materials needed for it, can seem like a barrier to prospective members, but she emphasizes that the club is meant for beginners.
“We can facilitate their learning by being an additional resource,” Langer said. “If they have an idea of what they want to make, we can give them different [knitting] patterns that give them an idea of what type of materials they need.”
Epp notes that, with the club, students have access to both the materials and the learning community needed to get started on yarn work.
“We also have yarn available for members,” Epp said. “[And], we have a lot of members who are willing to help other people learn.”
Fall 2017 was Nifty Knitters’ first active term, Langer says, and the members closed out the term’s activities by donating their work to Ronald McDonald House Charities Saskatchewan, a charity that provides accommodations for the families of children receiving medical care in Saskatoon.
“We ask for each member to donate one item per term. Last term, we got around twenty donations, and we went to the Ronald McDonald House to donate the mittens, toques and scarves,” Langer said.
Members also have the option to buy winter apparel to donate instead of their own work if they are reluctant to part with it. Langer says that, at the moment, the co-presidents are planning a fundraiser that will take place before the February reading week to provide further materials to the club’s members.
The only other requirement for being a member is that students need to attend at least one weekly meeting per term. Students can work on their projects on their own time and join the group whenever they can, Langer explains.
Nifty Knitters meets every Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Campus Club Space in Place Riel. Langer explains that their intention is to make the club a flexible time commitment, so that each member can choose how much space to give to it in their personal schedule.
“We understand that people get busy, but people who are more interested and want to make more of a difference can also come more often. We also made our meetings longer this term, … so members have more time options,” Langer said. “The commitment level is low, and the club is what you want to make of it.”
Ana Cristina Camacho
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor