October 21, 2009
WOOSTER, Ohio - It's a quiet Sunday afternoon at The College of Wooster, and many of the male students are either studying, sleeping, or watching football. But on the northern edge of campus, seven juniors in one of Wooster's program houses are sitting around shooting the breeze...and crocheting.
Twice each week these daring males, who refer to themselves as the Wooster "Bro"chet Society, gather to crochet hats and scarves for three area agencies: Every Woman's House, Christian Children's Home, and the hematology and oncology center at Cleveland Clinic Wooster.
The group evolved from another program house, which provides service to the Boys and Girls Club of nearby Orrville. Several residents of that house were intrigued by the crocheting skills of Matt Pullara, a psychology major from Littleton, Colo., who made hats for fellow students in his free time. "That got us interested in learning how to do it," said Zachary Boylston, a junior economics major from Charlotte, N.C., who serves as the club's co-president. "Then we started talking about making it an ongoing service to the community."
The group presented the idea to Wooster's Office Residence Life, which oversees the program houses, and "they loved it," according to Boylston. It took the guys about a week to learn how to crochet, and another week or two to become proficient, or as Boylston says "be able to do it without really paying attention." Some of the participants are better than others, partly because of experience and partly because of natural ability. "My mother was really into knitting and crocheting, so I was exposed to it early in life," said Boylston. "Matt (Pullara) is the best. He's incredible."
Hats can take anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours to complete. "It depends on the number of colors,
the stitching, and any extras you want to add, like ear flaps and poof balls," said Boylston, proudly displaying a bright pink tassel cap custom-made for a four-year old girl. The group's goal is to produce 21 items per month (three per person, seven per agency).
So far, the guys have demonstrated a surprisingly high level of skill, but there are occasional
defects, like the time Boylston failed to add earflaps because he ran out of yarn. As for measurements, there's no particular procedure. "We just use our own heads as a way to approximate size and adjust from there," said Boylston.
Later this month, the group plans to share its work with the rest of campus and expand its network with a crocheting party in Wooster's Lowry Student Center. "We're going to open things up and let others join in the fun," said Boylston.
In the meantime, they continue to gather twice a week to talk about "football, (the HBO series)
'Entourage,' and other 'guy' things," but in the process, they expose a more gentle side when they critique each other's work with such comments as, "nice choice of colors" or "lovely design."
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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