Hooked at P.S./M.S.114


There’s a crochet craze sweeping P.S./M.S.114Q and Miss Abby and Miss Lisa are leading the charge.

While some use their breaks to check emails or Facebook, and one or two may even still slip out to grab a smoke, Safety Officer Abby Yearwood and School Aide, Lisa Consavo are using their breaks to teach the smallest of hands how to work a loom, a hook and knitting needles.

Yearwood, or the Crochet Queen as some call her, picked up her skills from Consavo, and together the two women are paying it forward.

A few years back, Yearwood noticed students hovering around her desk, fixated on the rhythmic movement of her hook as she worked the brightly colored yarns into hats and headbands.

With each passing week, the crowd of pint-sized spectators grew, and it wasn’t long before they wanted to join in. Within a few weeks the floodgates opened; knitting and crocheting was a hit and Yearwood couldn’t have been happier. Together, the women volunteer their lunchtimes, breaks and after-school time to teach the kids, some as young as seven, how to make brilliant blankets, scarves, coasters and even pocketbooks. 

It’s been two years since that first student sheepishly asked for a lesson and The  Crochet Club is now booming with both boys and girls from first through fifth grades participating at lunch and after school.

On Monday morning, at exactly 10:47 a.m. as the classroom doors open, children spill out into the halls, shuffling from one room to another. It’s the change of class for some but for others it’s what they’ve been waiting for all morning:  knitting and crocheting time. Hurrying over to Miss Abby’s desk, a group of about ten boys and girls gather cross-legged on the floor, pull out their creations and get to work.

“Miss Abby, should I rip this out?” “Miss Abby, is this ok?”  “Miss Abby, is this long enough?” “Miss Abby, do you like this?” 

With her gentle voice and simple instructions, Miss Abby guides her students through the stitches, standing by like a proud mother watching over her brood.

Yearwood patiently works with each student until she finds what works best for them. “It took one student weeks and weeks to finally get it. I tried her on the loom, then with a hook, then needles.  She finally got it and I was thrilled,” Yearwood said, beaming at the accomplishment. “Another student was so shy when she started with me. She barely ever spoke. Now she comes to the club and she’s made friends and is happy.”  

There’s not a cell phone, iPad or electronic device in sight, not one eye riveted on a screen—only a group of children keeping busy with their individual crochet projects, all the while, encouraging each other with exclamations of “You’re doing great,” and “Wow, that’s really nice.” 

“I mean, look at them,” Yearwood said pointing to “her kids” sitting on the floor beside her, focused on their yarn, some tongues sticking out as they work intently. “They’re learning a skill and gaining confidence too. I’m so proud of them,” she said. 

Fourth-grader, Dylan Taruskin is delighted with his multi-colored blanket that’s almost complete. “I’m so proud of what I’ve made. When I finish something I go right away to start something new.  I just can’t wait to start the next thing.”  Other students show off vibrant headbands, blankets, scarves, doormats, coasters  and hats they’ve made.

Assistant Principal Deana Folchetti-Puglin said," On behalf of Principal Welsome and I, we're very appreciative of the time and dedication they devote to the P.S./M.S.114 community. The crochet club offers our students another opportunity to pursue interests and discover hidden talents. We are very excited to see their hard work materialize into beautiful creations."

The club’s open to any student as long as they agree to Miss Abby’s three rules:  1) No gossiping, 2) leave  “I can’t” at the door and  3) respect the two  “Ps”—patience and practice.  

Yearwood credits co-worker Consavo for getting her hooked and now together, it’s their mission to ‘hook’ as many kids as possible while un-hooking them from social media, if even just for a while.   

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