OPRF Yarn Club weaves a fun, calm environment

The Oak Park and River Forest Yarn Club creates a community that seamlessly knits together peer support with a beloved craft.

Walking into the room, which feels tucked away in a corner of the third floor, one is immediately hit with a feeling of serenity. Compliments are thrown around lovingly by people sitting on the floor or seated at any of the tables not covered in bags filled to the brim with yarn or snacks.

Helpfulness can be seen all around, with more experienced knitters lending their expertise to newcomers.

“Everyone is so open to spend their time teaching (others),” said club sponsor Cameron McLaughlin, a gym teacher.

While knitting is often stereotyped as feminine or elderly, it has become a hip pastime in recent years. The 2004 book “Stitch ‘n B****: The Knitter’s Handbook,” by Debbie Stoller, helped launch the trend.

McLaughlin encouraged those who may deem it not “masculine enough” to “expand their idea of what it means to be masculine.” He “hope(s) that they can learn to accept any person.”

Support has always been at the core of the Yarn Club, according to club co-president Riley Sarsany, a senior. “When we were first learning…after each completed row, we would all kind of cheer for each other,” she said.

Junior Ella Smith talked as she continued to knit her sweater. “It’s a really nice community,” she said.

Senior Alex Uz was in the process of making a hat. He found out about Yarn Club during his advisory and “just came out of interest,” he said.

Senior and co-president Cate Ryan said, “It’s honestly just a good vibe.”

Yarn Club meets Wednesdays after school in Room 3301.

Club members collaborate on a project.
Riley Sarsany assists club member Lily Hint.