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Knitting some hope

Third grader Lauryn Trebel takes her time to perfect her blue knitted hat.1 / 2
Third graders Caroline Nickoloff, Rachel Manske, Caitlin Gardiner, Angeline Rath, Matthew Zhang, Lauryn Trebel, Noah Weinmeyer and Evan Clemens show off their completed hats.2 / 2

Third graders at Liberty Ridge Elementary are in the giving spirit this holiday season.

"In terms of service learning, you should be doing things all year long instead of just at Christmas time," third grade teacher Diane Masloski said.

Masloski's third graders, as well as the other classes, are in the process of knitting, on knitting looms, winter hats to donate to Sharing and Caring Hands homeless shelters.

"We thought it would be a great idea to do more of a service learning project instead of always saying 'Mom and dad can you bring this to me,'" Masloski said. "Why not have them be more of a part of the donating process?"

Whereas every student is Masloski's class is knitting hats, each other class is only knitting a few hats. The group started on the hats at the end of October.

Masloski said the goal is to have every one of her students complete a hat to be donated by Christmas.

"I'd love to see one from every student," she said. "I don't know if that's going to be practical or not."

Masloski herself has also been knitting a few hats to donate.

Small hands,

big help

The knitting project started when all of the third grade classes decided to join together for the service project Small Hands, Big Hearts through the Minnesota Children's Museum. The project aimed to collect mittens and socks to be donated to a homeless shelter.

That was when Masloski had the idea of having the students knit hats to be donated.

"When we met with the people originally we talked to them about kids possibly doing this knitting," she said.

However, along the way the Children's Museum decided that they only wanted mittens and socks, which is how Sharing and Caring Hands came into the picture. However, students are still collecting mittens and socks to be donated to the Children's Museum.

Since Masloski really wanted to continue with the knitting project, she approached the school PTA for help with purchasing the knitting looms and the yarn.

When the students first started knitting the hats, it was a challenging and long process, Masloski said, since none of the students had ever knitted before.

"They had kind of a hard time, but we moved on from there," she said. "Doing it on the looms verses the needles has been helpful."

How a knitting loom works essentially is that yarn is woven through peg in a circular motion, thus creating the hat.

"We have had a number that have been messed up," Masloski said. "But, you take them apart and try again."

Masloski said all the students have greatly enjoyed the knitting project, not only the knitting itself but being able to help others.

"It's really exciting for them to be a part of it," she said. "This class has been very caring about what other people don't have."

Once the hats are finished, Masloski said she is hoping to take a weekend field trip with students and their parents to the homeless shelters to donate them.

But before they do that, Masloski said she is going to teach her students about what they will potentially be seeing.

Masloski said she hopes to make the hat knitting project an annual service learning project for her third graders.

"I want the students to understand about helping others and doing it themselves rather than asking mom and dad," she said.

For information on Sharing and Caring Hands visit

For more information on Small Hands, Big Hearts, thro

ugh the Minnesota Children's Museum, visit

See the Dec. 15 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin for additional photos.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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