Knitting isn’t an activity for mothers and grandmothers anymore. Thanks to a grant from the city of Gaithersburg, students at one school are getting excited about stitches and looms.
Julie Stinger, art teacher at St. Martin of Tours School in Gaithersburg, started teaching a few students how to knit when they saw her knitting hats on a circular loom at school.
“I taught about seven girls back then. Since then, every winter I get a few that wanted to learn,” she said.
Stinger’s knitting club, “Knitting for a Cause,” has expanded to about 30 students in first through eighth grade. They knit hats on circular looms to donate to the St. Martin’s Church coat drive and the Lord’s Table soup kitchen.
The yarn, looms and a small stipend for Stinger are provided by a grant through Gaithersburg.
Lisa Schuler, a parent and parishioner at St. Martin’s Church, helped Stinger apply for the grant last spring.
The city awarded them $970 for advancing the grant program’s mission, which includes promoting student well-being and positive academic environments.
The students have completed about 80 hats in the last two and a half weeks, Stinger said.
Though the students don’t meet the people who receive their hats, she said they do know the hats will help those in need.
“The look on their face is just over the top for me,” Stinger said. “They just can’t believe they have created something so wonderful for someone else.”
She said she plans to teach them how to make baby blankets and scarves once they master hats.
A few of the students’ scarves and hats hang on a small Christmas tree at St. Martin. Schuler saw the tree when picking up her daughter from the school.
“These kids are going gangbusters,” she said.
The grandmother of a fifth-grade club member and a few mothers also come to knit with the students, Stinger said. She plans to continue the club year-round.
“I have always felt a need to reach out to those in need,” Stinger said. “Knitting and keeping someone warm in the winter to me is a great combination.”
The club is now accepting donations of yarn at St. Martin’s Church and at the front desk of St Martin of Tours School at 115 S. Frederick Ave.