‘Weak knitters in the front’

Dr. Mike Bellah
Photo courtesy of DR. CLAUDIE BIGGERS | Dr. Mike Bellah, an English professor, shows off his knitting skills
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Students, faculty become stitched together

Students take classes to learn how to solve complex math and science exercises. They attend English classes to learn how to work through grammar and syntax puzzles. Now, a group of students and faculty members has found a method of troubleshooting non-academic issues.Linda Hendrick, director of the Student Support Services STEM program, has begun leading a group in weekly knitting sessions.

“It’s a way to problem-solve,” she said.

Hendrick, along with other members of the group, said focusing on the task of knitting allows them to clear their minds of the thoughts that crowd a person’s mind and may hinder the discovery of a solution.

The group, which conducts meetings in the basement of Lynn Library, is made up of Amarillo College students, faculty members and employees and their friends and family members. While the meetings so far have consisted of only female members, Hendrick said anyone, male or female, adult or child, AC member or not, is welcome.

While they meet to learn or improve on their knitting techniques, the women and girls also spend the time in fellowship, discussing everything from husbands and children to work and extracurricular activities among laughter and teasing.

Taylor Pedigo, an education major and president of the TEACH club, and Reem Witherspoon, a math instructor in the Lynn Library ACcess Learning Center, discussed raising chickens with Christy Schroeder, a biology/psychology major and president of the Finishers and the Psychology Club, and Dr. Claudie Biggers, an assistant biology professor and a Finishers sponsor.

Witherspoon mentioned it was interesting that no matter what the reason or where a group of women gather, the topics of discussion and dynamics of the groups are similar.

Hendrick agreed.

“We’re all at different stages of our lives, but we all have the same issues,” she said.

Hendrick said that many times, people get caught up in everyday tasks and duties and need to make time to do something like this for themselves.

Across the room, Hendrick assisted Kylie Orcutt with her stitches. Kylie came to the meeting with her mother, Michelle Orcutt, an interpersonal communications and public speaking instructor.

Cathy Trujillo, a friend of Hendrick and Biggers, brought her two granddaughters, Alicia, 8, and Madelyn, 5, who were visiting from Lubbock. The girls said it was their first time knitting but that they enjoyed it and would like to continue with the craft.

Hendrick and Biggers came up with the idea for the group after enjoying several craft weekends along with Trujillo.

Biggers described Hendrick as “Amarillo College’s True Pioneer Woman” and said the skills she could teach the group members are numerous, ranging from knitting to crocheting to milking cows, hinting at the 20 years Hendrick spent as a farmer/rancher.

Biggers added that while Dr. Mike Bellah, an English professor and a Finishers sponsor, had not yet attended any of the sessions, he sent photos of himself in which he appeared to be working on a knitting project. She said she hopes to see him at one of the meetings soon.

“Weak knitters in the front,” she quipped, with a laugh, referring to a hike she and Pedigo completed with Bellah in which he made them lead the group because they were the least experienced.

The group has not decided on a meeting schedule but discussed meeting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday. Hendrick said anyone interested in attending may call her at 806-371-5498 or stop by her office, room 9 in the basement of Lynn Library.

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