Chloe Bazlen ’17 believes in working with her hands.
“I love tactile experiences,” says Bazlen, president of the Scripps organization Babes and Blankets. “In college, you often forget how great it is to use your hands.”
And Babes and Blankets keeps her hands busy. Founded in 2002, the club/organization (CLORG at Scripps) meets weekly to knit and crochet blankets, scarves, and other yarn crafts, which they then donate to local nonprofit organizations and groups in need. Babes and Blankets partners with Binky Patrol, which gives baby blankets to hospitals, and the Red Scarf Project, which provides scarves to foster youth in college, among others.
Although the official mission of the CLORG is to craft items for donation, Bazlen describes the purpose of Babes and Blankets as threefold because it also teaches students to knit and crochet, and students benefit from the stress relief the skills provide.
She emphasizes that knitting and crocheting is not only a profitable skill, but an art form with a long tradition.
“My own feminist idea about it is that women’s work and women’s crafts have been undermined for so much of history,” says Bazlen. “We’re trying to redeem it a little bit, bring it back up and recognize it as something that’s wonderful and creative.”
Babes and Blankets also acts as a creative and social outlet for students who need a break from writing papers or crunching numbers.
While knitting and crocheting, club members watch a movie and eat snacks.
“Taking a breather to craft can be really therapeutic,” says Jamie Haughton ’20, vice president of the CLORG. “For me, it’s not always about the finished products; it’s more about the experience of taking that time and having a two-hour period that I’ve set aside for myself.”
The club aims to make knitting and crocheting accessible to everyone, whether that is through teaching skills or providing hooks and needles for people to borrow for the year.
For Bazlen, teaching others is the most rewarding aspect of club involvement.
“I love teaching people how to produce this thing, especially when you get someone who doesn’t see themselves as creative or artsy. With just some wrist movements they are able to create this amazing, beautiful product that’s very tangible,” she says.
Many beginners learn how to make six by six squares. Once a year, after they accumulate many of these squares, the administrative team combines them into patchwork blankets.
Haughton says they are planning to send a donation before winter break.
“We currently have a lot of final projects that I’ve been tying all the loose ends of, literally,” Haughton says.
The goods will reach babies in hospitals and individuals in homeless shelters just in time for the holidays.