One semester, 8 scarves, 4 hats, 15 dishcloths, a pair of socks…

While students around her furiously take notes during a lecture, third-year history major Beth Knowlton is doing something completely different. 

Since her junior year of high school, Knowlton has been crocheting, a skill taught to her by her godmother.

“The first thing I made was a dishtowel,” said Knowlton. “I forgot to chain at the beginning of a row, so I actually ended up learning how to get rid of rows first before creating them.”

Crocheting is a needlework technique performed by using a crochet hook and usually yarn to create pieces such as scarves, hats and socks, just to name a few.

Knowlton does not know how many pieces she has made to date, but she does know that last fall she made eight scarves, four hats, 15 dishcloths, a bag and a pair of socks – mostly while in class.

“I started to crochet during class while I was in high school,” said Knowlton. “I am not prone to take notes during class and my hands need to do something. It helps if I have a repetitive pattern to work on during class so that I can multi-task.”

The multi-tasking has come in handy because Knowlton is scheduled to graduate a year early.

Knowlton said that at the start of the semester, she asks her professors if they have a problem with her crocheting during class, and they usually don’t.

The majority of the pieces Knowlton makes are for gifts.

“In one of my high school math classes I made a prayer shawl for my friend’s dad, which was two feet wide and six feet tall,” said Knowlton. “It was weird when I finished it because I noticed that I was cold. It was sort of like a blanket.”

Knowlton is currently in the midst of crocheting all of her Christmas gifts, which this year include scarves, hats and a stuffed animal, a project that she has never before tried.

The costs for yarn vary, but Knowlton says that she is willing to cut costs by using less expensive yarn.

“I buy all of my yarn at once when I have my list of things that I am going to make and I do think about the costs,” she said. “I made a sweater which called for wool to be used. If I did that, it would be a $50 sweater, so instead I spent $15 on two large rolls of yarn that worked just as well.”

Depending on the project and the amount of time she has, Knowlton said that she can finish some items in a day or so.

“It really depends on what I am making,” she said. “A scarf takes longer to make, but I can finish a hat in a day. On a trip to D.C., I was able to make a dishcloth an hour.”

Some of her classmates have asked Knowlton if they could buy some of her work, but she said that she usually just crochets for her family.

“I have had classmates who have asked me to crochet them something,” said Knowlton. “They even offered to buy the yarn.”

Crocheting, for Knowlton, is a stress reliever that she can take anywhere.

“When I am at school, I crochet as long as I am there, except at lunch,” said Knowlton. “At home, I crochet less. When I am sitting down and watching TV, I may crochet then.”

Knowlton takes great pride in her work and once she finishes her project, she is excited to give it to the recipient.

“Last fall my boyfriend’s dad got remarried, so I made them apple-pie pot holders, which were really fun to make,” said Knowlton. “The sweater I made took a long time, so I was really proud when I finished that project.”