Behind the poetic-because-it-rhymes but “politically incorrect” name: Stitch and Bitch (oh well, the B-word is often a great way to attract students attention and interest!) resides a whole lot of fun and friendship spirit.
The Missouri Valley College Stitch’n’Bitch (SNB) session replaces the Yoga session this year. The leader of yoga session left, so a new activity to gather and relax was needed. Some people brought up the idea of a social knitting group, and Brian Hampton, the library events coordinator, patched together the session.
Hampton found the idea interesting also for the historical value that Stitch and Bitch has, he said.
Anne MacDonald, an activist Australian author who wrote “No Idle Hands” and “Feminine Ingenuity,” defines the Stitch’n’Bitch as an organized weekly retreat that started back in 1920 (post-World-War I). Basically, while their husbands were overseas, women would gather, gossip, and chat about anything from their children’s monkey-business to President Woodrow Wilson. They were exchanging advice, like which color should be the next baby blankets or if Dolores’ daughter Margaret should get married to the young Walter before the call to duty rings!
SNB spread around America, increasing with the feminist movement. Debbie Stoller, a feminist New-York Times best-selling American author, started in 1999 a SNB group in New York city.
Nowadays, the SNB tradition is still spreading around America, and some universities and colleges are tradition torch-bearers: University of Missouri (MIZZOU), Truman College, and MVC, to only mention a few.
The Missouri Valley College SNB group is more of a social gathering where everyone is welcome–men and women from the college or the community, Hampton said.
To define the Missouri Valley College SNB group, the term “crafternoons” (the word actually exists, some groups swap it with SNB because it is less culturally offensive) could be used. Indeed, the group expands to more than just knitting.
Pam Reeder, Murrell Memorial library director, is maintaining a scrapbook during the session, Hampton said.
The scrapbook is a gathering of pictures, cards and pieces of materials that her grandmother did but it is getting old, so she tries to maintain it as much as she can, Reeder said.
Even if Brian Hampton is considered as the group leader, it is Christi Hicks who is the expert, Hampton said.
MVC Accountant Christi Hicks shows her meticulousness through some pictures she has of some dolls dresses she made.
She started when she was 12 years old. She was just doing what every girl her age was taught, Hicks said, adding that now it is considered as craft and it is expensive to make your own sweater as it costs around $75, she added.
The best thing she has ever knit was a long-sleeve sweater for her sister but she is better at crochet, Hicks said.
Hicks enjoys knitting as it is another way to bring people together. It keeps her from biting her nails but also, behind every knitting organization or shops, she knows there is some charity event going on, she said.
People can think about the Krochet Kid international organization or, as Hicks mentioned, a local yarn shop that knitted for the victims of the Joplin tornado. There is also a Chemocaps organization that hand-knit caps for cancer patients.
Yes, knitting and crocheting might seem like a older-lady-type-of-thing activity, but Bailey Gambrell, a 19-year-old sophomore, is enjoying it. “I also consider myself as an old lady!” she added.
Bailey Gambrell crochets which means she uses only one hook, whereas knitting requires two needles, she explains.
She was taught to crochet when she was 8 years old but thought it was “lame.” It was only in high school when she realized that…well, she was bored… that she decided to really get into it, she said.
It is pretty cool to be able to make your hat. Indeed, Bailey’s specialty is the hat. She makes some with flowers, a lot with different patterns and colors. She is actually working on a football hat; a hat that has the egg-shape of a football!
To make a hat is quick. Thanks to a lot of practice, it usually takes her two hours to make a hat, she said. She likes to do hats as she can move onto the next one easily and it gives her a great sense of gratification and accomplishment.
She sells her hats for only $10 a piece. Her hats can fit from hipster to rastafari-style. Gambrell’s hats are a great deal! Given that winter is here and Christmas time, her hats can make great gifts.
As for the session, Brian Hampton gives updates in student emails about the SNB session. It is free and everyone, equipped with their own tools, can join, learn and share a whole lot of tips.
“Beginners, don’t give up!” Gambrell advised.