Adapting to a virtual world amid a global pandemic has become the new norm. Student organizations, like the University New Hampshire (UNH) Knitting Club are adjusting to virtual meetings instead of their regularly scheduled face to face meetings in the Memorial Union Building (MUB). The UNH Knitting Club now meets once a week, scheduled Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m. via Zoom.
“The knitting club is a place where anyone who knits or crochets, or wants to learn how to knit or crochet, or even practices some other craft can come and really just relax, or learn new stuff, participate in fun events, and occasionally do some charity projects,” said Emily Simkins, president of the UNH Knitting Club. Simkins has been the organization’s president for the past three years.
This UNH Knitting Club has been around for about 10 years in various forms. The club started as a place to bring your crafts and socialize with people who have similar interests. That mission remains the same today.
“UNH knitting club is like a group of friends hanging out,” said knitting club member, Victoria Kapantais. “We all have different majors and are in different years, but everyone is so welcoming and kind. Even if it is your first time coming you will be included in the conversation. Mostly we just chat and work on our projects. It is a very social group.”
Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the UNH Knitting Club would meet in one of three conference rooms located in the MUB. Simkins said that typically five to 10 people would show up every week and often they would have one or two people show up asking to learn how to knit or crochet. The group typically works on their own project/craft, but occasionally they plan a group project where everyone can work on creating the same item during their meeting time.
This semester is creating new challenges for the UNH Knitting Club. It has been extremely difficult for the organization to reach out to potential new members. Typically, during their meetings they would post flyers around the MUB, or people would walk by when a meeting was taking place and ask members about the organization; now, the existing members are struggling to find ways to reach out to potential new members virtually.
The organization did have a spot at the university’s virtual U-Day and is hoping to once again host socials and events. Whether those are virtual or in person will depend on COVID-19. The organization also enjoyed teaching people how to knit or crochet, this virtual platform is challenging to teach someone a hands-on activity, but the group is willing to try or they will direct new crafters to resources that can help them.
Another difficulty the organization is facing is getting supplies to group members who may not have any. Members have always had the opportunity to get supplies from the organization, but COVID-19 has created an added challenge for members to meet and get these supplies to one another safely.
While their normal meetings have been moved online for the time being, the members are adapting to this and enjoying the time they get together. The meetings are scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m., but Simkins said they typically go over the scheduled time because they are all passionately working on their projects while enjoying the company of one another.
“It is a great social opportunity for people of all abilities,” said knitting club member, Elisabeth Hunter. “No matter your skill level, you are still welcome.”
Photo courtesy of Emily Simkins.