Last year, Librarian Patty Pardue opened the Library at 7:45 for extra activities for those students that arrived at school early. One of the activities that was an immediate hit was knitting. She asked Campus Technology Manager, Grace Frederick, to teach the students. Mrs. Frederick learned how to knit when she was eight and has won multiple ribbons at the State Fair of Texas for her knitting and weaving. The project appealed to Mrs. Frederick. Knitting is known to be great for developing fine motor skills as well as enforcing mathematical concepts.
The group was started with a handful of needles from estate sales and discount stores and yarn donations from local knitting groups (mainly the CARTEL in Grand Prairie and the Sisters of the Wool in Fort Worth). It was immediately apparent that the size of the group would be limited by the lack of knitting needles rather than lack of enthusiasm from the students. The size of the group varied, but students sometimes could not join in because there were not enough needles to go around.
That’s where the Knitting Fairy, a yarn shop in Grand Prairie, got involved. When Alissa Barton, the owner, heard that supplies were needed, she enlisted the help of organizers of the DFW Fiber Fest and the DFW Yarn Crawl. Both of those groups spread the word that Ashworth needed knitting supplies, and customers from the Knitting Fairy, the DFW Fiber Fest, and the DFW Yarn Crawl delivered! Piles of yarn and large numbers of knitting needles were dropped off at the Knitting Fairy during the DFW Yarn Crawl from customers from all over the DFW area (and beyond). Some needles were even shipped to the school from as far away as Holland, Michigan!
The list of supplies that has been collected is sufficient to keep the kids knitting for a while to come! There was sufficient yarn that the knitting group is sharing with Art teacher, Ms. Piveral, who includes weaving in her curriculum. The students are excited about the wide range of colors and textures and by the challenge of knitting something using five needles at once.
Mrs. Frederick is encouraging the knitters to “pay it forward” by knitting baby hats for patients at Cook Children’s Hospital, scarves, hats, or gloves for the homeless, and blanket squares for Warm Up America! She would also like the students to try entering knitting in the children’s categories for the State Fair of Texas creative competitions next year.