It’s the lunch hour on campus, and a group of staff from the Kelley School and SPEA meet on the fourth floor, as they do every Thursday. But instead of economics or public health, these staffers are talking about knitting, crocheting and sewing.
An interest group formed last February to give staff hobbyists a place to practice, and now four to five staff gather each week to discuss and work on crocheting, knitting and other needle projects.
“We were batting around names for the group and came up with Twisted Stitchers – We figured that covered everyone,” said Tammy Martin, director of finance and administration for Kelley Indy. “It’s for anyone interested in any kind of needlework. Mostly we get crochet and knitting because those are our interests.”
The four regulars also include Sherri Hendricks, retired administrative assistant to the dean at Kelley Indy; Barbara Fisher, assistant director for Executive Education at SPEA; and Cindy Grubbs, administrative assistant and recorder for Executive Education at SPEA. The group is currently working on a unique service project.
“We talked about doing a service project, and since we’re so environmentally conscious at SPEA, we decided to repurpose plastic shopping bags to make sleeping mats for people living with homelessness,” explained Fisher.
Using a crochet hook and strips of plastic bag tied together into what they call “plarn” (plastic yarn), the Twisted Stitchers have recycled thousands of plastic bags throughout the project. But crocheting with plarn is quite different from their regular material.
“You’re knitting with plastic and it’s double ply, which is more difficult,” says Martin. “Plus, you have to cut the bags into strips and roll the strips into a ball instead of just buying yarn and getting started,” added Fisher.