LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — A new generation of crocheters in Lawton is ensuring the crafting art does not fall by the wayside.

Michell Rosario, activities coordinator at the Owens Multi-Purpose Center, has hosted a twice-weekly crocheting class since June. The class has attracted around a dozen participants — many of whom are teenagers and young adults — that have learned there's so much you can do with a needle and a bundle of yarn.

"So many of our young participants are so invested and intrigued with what they can do with the yarn and the ability to make these intricate pieces," Rosario said. "It's fascinating to them. They're like sponges, soaking up all of this knowledge and information."

Rosario, who has crocheted for many years, first taught a class for young students in April during the teacher walkout. She said she wanted to teach the students a constructive hobby while schools remained shut down during the protest.

"I wanted to show them there are so many things that you can do with yarn that they don't teach you about in art class in school," Rosario said.

She found that not only was the class successful, but there was a desire in the community for more. Crocheting is an art that is slowly dying and here was an opportunity to revitalize it.

"I saw not only a need for children to learn, but also adults too," Rosario said. "It's one of those things that between work all day or family, those that have the skills don't have time to teach it and pass it onto the next generation. I wanted to be able to do that."

At 11 years-old, Andrea Johnson is one of the youngest participants in the crocheting class, the Lawton Constitution reported. Generally thought of us an older person's hobby, Johnson wanted to buck that misconception. She tried crocheting once before and didn't get very far. But when she heard about the class Rosario was offering, she decided to double down and do her best this time.

"It didn't take with me last time, but I wanted to try it again," she said. "I like how the yarn is so soft. That's what I really like about this because you can do so much with this really soft yarn."

One of the biggest issues many face, she said, is how intimidating it can be to start. Crocheting requires a lot of coordination between each hand, the arms and the eyes. It can be overwhelming at first for someone who's never done it before. Mistakes will happen, but that's one of the best things about crocheting. Mistakes are meant to happen. They add character to each piece.

"You should never have two pieces that look exactly the same," Rosario said. "That's because you're going to make mistakes and you just keep on going and incorporate those into your work. You don't have to be perfect."

When someone does get the grasp of crocheting and can move beyond simple patterns into something more challenging, it can become second nature, Rosario said. She's discovered that sitting at home at the end of the day with her crochet needles in her hand and a blanket or scarf or some new item she's working sitting on her lap, she can drift off into a relaxing trance because the rhythm of the work is peaceful and relaxing. Student Fleashia Ford agreed.

"It's so peaceful," Ford said. "It takes away my stress. I'm focusing on trying to do this and only do this. Everything else — what I need to get for dinner tonight, what I'm working on for other things — that kind of stuff doesn't matter here."

Johnson has come to the class each week and her skills have progressed since she started. She's leaned on the advice of other, more advance, individuals in the class. She said she has no grand aspirations of doing really extensive pieces. Instead, she wants to focus on something a little smaller and more unique.

"I'd really like to do make little caps for cats and that sort of thing," she said. "I have a cat at home and if he sees this yarn, he won't stop playing with it."

Rosario said she's proud to see young people like Johnson really take to crocheting and how excited she is to learn. Her goal with the class is to ensure the art doesn't fade away with time and it appears she's going to be successful.

"There are several young men and women who have come here and have really enjoyed their time learning," she said. "I love crocheting too much to see it die out and I want to make sure that these younger people can find this hobby and find that they enjoy it."

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Information from: The Lawton Constitution, http://www.swoknews.com