Knitting for Mental Health with the CWGS

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Staff Writer: Maya Arruda


Every single student has a familiar friend on campus: stress. Exams cause stress, an overabundance of school assignments causes stress, and balancing work and school also cause stress. 

Stress is everywhere on campus this month as finals are rapidly approaching. Coincidently, April also is National Stress Awareness Month. 

Even though national mental health awareness month is May and the nationally observed mental health awareness week is the first full week of October, UMass Dartmouth decided to host a mental health awareness week from April 10th to the 14th. 

Considering the recent tragic deaths, the timing of this mental health week was carefully chosen to provide mental health support to students, though this has not been explicitly mentioned on the university’s website.  

As part of the mental health awareness week, the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CWGS) hosted a knitting night on April 13th from 6 to 8 PM. 

Yarn and needles were supplied for free. Yarn Master Kim provided guidance during the session, making this event welcoming to people of all skill levels.

Crochet hooks were also provided as an alternative handicraft. 

In addition to being an expert knitter, Yarn Master Kim is also a crochet aficionado for those interested in learning the way of the hook instead of the needle. 

Humans weren’t the only staff at knitting night. Gracie, the adorable therapy dog on campus, made a special guest appearance at knitting night and very cutely relaxed in the air conditioning.

While knitting may seem to be a random activity for the school to pick, knitting is actually shown to have benefits in dealing with mental health, including reducing stress and anxiety. 

With finals just around the corner, every student could use a little bit of knitting. 

Knitting Night took place within the CWGS office, just above the commuter cafeteria in the campus center. However, due to the fire alarm that set off midway through knitting night, a forced relocation outside was in order. 

Luckily, the sun was still out, and the mild breeze made for a pleasant outdoor knitting session. Music from the nearby cultural festival provided an excellent ambiance. 

A small group showed up for knitting night, making for an intimate and friendly atmosphere. 

Most of the attendees, myself included, had brought a current project to work on as part of a group. We ended up talking about our projects and getting into an amicable discussion about the pros and cons of different knitting techniques.

Two students in attendance had broken into the stockpile of yarn to begin their first project as knitting beginners under Kim’s tutelage. By the time the night ended, their stitches were looking pretty nice. 

I would like to give personal kudos to Kim the Yarn Master for help untangling the absolute mess of what once was called a ball of yarn. It’s always inspiring to see a master at work, especially when I was two more knots away from bringing out the scissors. 

Overall, the night was a pleasant evening that was both educational and relaxing. The company was excellent, and the vibes were impeccable. 

When the night ended, I almost didn’t want to leave. 

The yarn provided was good as well, though I had brought my own. Grey wool yarn was the most abundant in the selection, but there were other colors as well. 

Every attendee left with a free gift card for Purl Soho, the brand of the yarn.


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