Carnegie Mellon University
April 28, 2022

Yarn Bombing the Askwith Kenner Global Languages & Cultures Room

By KellyAnn Tsai

There is a big concrete pillar in the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room. “It felt like an empty canvas just waiting to tell a story,” said Stephan Caspar, the room’s director and Assistant Teaching Professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Modern Languages.

So, naturally, Caspar contacted a group of knitters.

He didn’t have to look far. The CMU Women’s Association Knit & Crochet Club is a community of knitters, crocheters, and other textile makers at Carnegie Mellon who meet regularly to create new work, share ideas, and donate handmade hats and scarves to benefit refugees in the Pittsburgh area. At the club’s helm is Emily Half, Deputy Director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy, whose department shares a home with the Modern Languages in Posner Hall.

When Caspar asked if the Knit & Crochet Club would be interested in making a cover for the 10-foot tall pillar, Half jumped at the opportunity. “None of us had ever done anything like that before, but it sounded like a really exciting project,” said Half.

The connection between the Kenner Room, an immersive technology-driven space with multiple virtual reality stations, and the Knit & Crochet Club, a group celebrating a centuries-old practice, is not immediately obvious. But behind the apparent contrast lies a shared appreciation for creation, social connection, and the joy of learning by doing.

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