Knit together: Turning a hobby into much more
To know Jessica Poskozim is to have seen her knit. Because Jessica knits. A lot. During meetings, over lunch, while waiting in line, riding in the car, during baseball games, at play dates -- you name it. "I've been known to knit in a bar," she s...
To know Jessica Poskozim is to have seen her knit. Because Jessica knits. A lot. During meetings, over lunch, while waiting in line, riding in the
car, during baseball games, at play dates -- you name it.
"I've been known to knit in a bar," she said with a laugh, "in downtown Stillwater the day before Christmas to finish a project."
That's one of the things she likes about knitting. She can do it while multi-tasking - a necessity in the busy life of this wife, mother of two and full-time sales representative for the Duluth News Tribune. She is also a blogger (check out areavoices.com/knitting) and the recently elected
president of the Duluth Noon Optimist Club.
"It's something to do with your hands, so it just kind of keeps me busy," Poskozim said. "Otherwise, I'm making lists and thinking of all the things I have to do for the kids and the house, and this is just kind of calming. I can sit in a meeting and I can knit. And I can pay complete attention to
the meeting and still be productive knitting."
Poskozim began knitting eight years ago. Now, it's rare to find her without at least one knitting project in her purse.
"For the sake of my marriage, I don't think we want to talk about how many
needles I have, or how much yarn," Poskozim said, laughing. "I think that might be very dangerous. A yarn store has not yet called me to ask if I have a particular ball of yarn that they need, but that day is coming."
Most of her knitting is given away as gifts. A scarf for her mom was one of her first projects. Family and friends have also received hats, booties, socks and even sweaters.
Some very tiny strangers also have felt the warmth of Poskozim's projects. For several years, she's needled fellow Optimist Club members to help her make and donate hats to the birth centers at St. Luke's and SMDC Health System. The Bethany Crisis Center, Lincoln Park Elementary in Duluth and Cooper Elementary in Superior also have received hats.
"Really it started as an intergenerational project because the Optimist Club had a lot of 70-plus-year-old men, and then 50- and 40-year-old people, and then myself," said Poskozim, who was in her late 20s at the
time. "I was thinking maybe some of their wives who hadn't knit in a long time would donate knitted hats. And it didn't quite work out that way. I got a couple male knitters. They used a circular loom. And then I taught
a class to the Optimist Club about knitting and got more people involved that way."
It may not have worked out as planned, but it has resulted in hundreds of hats being donated to premature babies and children in need.
The hats' destination was enough to convince Charlie Heinmuller to pick up a loom and yarn. "The whole premise of the Optimist Club is to help kids. Anything that helps kids, I'm all for, no matter what form it takes," said Heinmuller. He's made more than a dozen hats, though still claims he doesn't know how to knit.
For Poskozim, knitting something for someone else makes the project extra special. "My favorites are the ones you give away," she said. "It makes me happy that someone else takes pleasure from them."
Many knitters feel the same way. "I would say that most people are knitting for other people," said Barb Engelking, owner of Fabric Works in Superior. "Scarves and shawls and things that make good Christmas gifts, and then kids things are always fun because they're quick and easy."
Poskozim figures part of the appeal of knitting is that it's practical. She also appreciates the permanence of what she makes. "You really feel like you're accomplishing something," said Poskozim. "In a world where I can clean my house and my kids can destroy it in a half an hour, the hat
that I make stays."