Knitting Up a Storm


Suhaima Islam

Members of Stitch & Relax start off with the basics, learning how to cast-on.

Every day is a challenge for Bronx Science students.  Workloads increase, sleep schedules become shorter, and the stress levels are always high. But a new initiative is taking on these challenges by storm: Ms. Cooper’s Stitch & Relax!

With meetings held every Wednesdays during and after SGI in Room 114, Stitch & Relax offers a safe, welcoming, and relaxing environment for students of all backgrounds to come together and learn three main skills: knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. “It’s one of the most stress-relieving activities you can do.” said Alice Abas ‘19, the Vice President of Stitch & Relax.

Suhaima Islam
Alice Abas ‘19 (right) crochets during a Stitch & Relax meeting.

Stitch & Relax was born out of Bronx Science’s Mental Health week in 2018. It was then that the Assistant Principal, Organization, Ms. Cooper, decided to take the initiative and make the one-time knitting program into an actual, long lasting, extracurricular activity. “I can see that so many Bronx Science students are really stressed out, and just like meditating, knitting does wonders with unwinding and relaxing,” said Ms. Cooper. But unlike meditation, craft activities result in tangible products for personal use. Since the club’s creation, the number of members has continued to increase from a ragtag group of friends to a thriving community.

There’s one more thing that Stitch & Relax is exceptionally talented at, and that’s dispelling the notion that some people aren’t “crafty” enough and therefore can’t knit, crochet, or embroider.

This “unofficial-official” club (according to the L.O.P.) simply asks that you bring in one thing to attend: yourself. “Stitch & Relax also provides you with supplies, so you don’t need to come with anything,” said Mary Tyrell ’19, secretary of Stitch & Relax. All the balls and skeins of yarn, knitting needles, and crocheting hooks are provided. “We allow you to keep all of the materials you need with you so you can continue to complete your work, as long as you make sure to return them back when you’re done,” said Caroline Gallagher ’19, one of the Co-Presidents.

Bronx Science students who have read Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ know of Madame Thérèse Defarge, a fictional character in the book who is a ‘tricoteuse,’ French for a woman who knits, but many Bronx Science students have not tried it themselves. Now they can!

Of course, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery are very difficult to master; your rows can get uneven for knitting, you could lose track of where your hook needs to go for crocheting, or you may not have enough floss for your embroidery. However, at Stitch & Relax these issues do not pose as a problem. “There are people there who are willing to teach you how to do all of them,” Tyrell said. Even with the many obstacles that future knitters, crocheters, or embroiderers may face, Stitch & Relax continues to be a judgment-free zone for all.

Suhaima Islam
Vivien Lin ‘20 (standing in the center) is focused as she learns how to knit during a Stitch & Relax meeting.

There’s one more thing that Stitch & Relax is exceptionally talented at, and that’s dispelling the notion that some people aren’t “crafty” enough and therefore can’t knit, crochet, or embroider. Essentially, by joining Stitch & Relax, anyone can learn how to do so. It doesn’t take a special arts and crafts gene. You just need to follow a few basic rules and, most importantly, you have to want it. “Keep trying, and ask for help whenever you get stuck! I had so many works come out poorly before they even started to look good,” said Michael Prizant ‘19, one of the co-presidents.

With strong ambitions and motivation, the leaders of Stitch & Relax are looking forward to seeing students having fun, making friends, and learning new skills.