Crotchety crocheters stress importance of letting go

Justine Haaland

Justine Haaland

Do you ever find yourself bored on the weekends, wishing there was something worthwhile for you to do? There is group in Brookings known as the Coalition of Guerrilla Knitters or-more affectionately-the Stitch and Bitch group.

They are a group of people who meet at Cottonwood Coffee on Main Street in Brookings every Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon to do just what their name suggests: knit and chat.

The group was started in Brookings two years ago by Ivy Schwartz-Smith, an SDSU alumnus.

According to their blog,, during their meetings they “plan tactical engagements and recall successful ambushes on the unsuspecting public.” It’s a low-key social group that knits for fun as well as for good causes.

They have a different winter project every month. Some of their past projects include knitting Teddy bears to send to children in Africa and making hats for premature babies. They also do things like knit scarves and hats for foreign exchange students who have not seen snow before “and would be very cold without them.”

“Anyone is welcome,” said Schwartz-Smith. “If you want to learn how to knit, we’ll teach you.”

There are a number of SDSU students involved in the Coalition of Guerrilla Knitters, including junior environmental management major Josh Wagner and Amanda Kauer, a junior French major.

Kauer said she joined the group because she really likes to knit. “You can talk to these ladies about anything,” she said. “No one is really stuck up. I would really recommend this group for anyone because all the ladies are great and always ready to help you out.”

The Coalition of Guerrilla Knitters is a group that is spreading throughout the state. Former SDSU students Carrie Greywood and Rayelle Loose moved to Spearfish and started a “Coalition of Guerrilla Knitters Western Chapter.”

“We teach knitting, spinning and crocheting,” said Schwartz-Smith.

People of all different skill levels are welcome. The people in the group range from veteran knitters like Schwartz-Smith to intermediate knitters like Kauer-who has been knitting for four years-to people whom have never picked up a pair of needles.

Knitting is not all this group does. According to the blog, they discuss important issues like “The Outing of Albie,” referring to author J.K. Rowling’s announcement that the Harry Potter character “Albus Dumbledore” is gay.

They also play games such as Scrabble.

“We can play Scrabble in four different languages,” said Schwartz-Smith “You can come even if you don’t want to knit, but we’ll probably end up teaching you.”

#1.883119:4139217994.JPG:stitch and bitch.JPG:Ivy (far left) knits a yellow infant sock while SDSU student, Josh (far right) carefully stitches a multicolored scarf at Cottonwood Coffee on Main Avenue in Brookings.:John Dahmen