Syeisha Byrd has been crocheting since she was 7-years-old. It’s a skill that’s been passed down her family tree.
“I walked into my grandmother’s apartment and there were doilies everywhere," Byrd said. "I fell in love. Everywhere you looked there was a countertop doily, a couch arm doily.”
She says crochet connects her to her family, even down to where she sits.
“It’s how my grandmother used to crochet," Byrd said, swaying back and forth. "You need the rocking chair.”
Now she’s the director of engagement at Syracuse University, where she teaches HNR 210 - Crochet For A Cause. The items her students make are being donated to the rescue mission and include ear warmers, scarves, and hats ahead of the cold winter.
“We can’t be there physically right now, but we still have an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we know we’re SU, but we care,' " Byrd said.
Unlike traditional academic classes, Syeisha views the elective as a chance for students to decompress during an otherwise very stressful semester.
“As a teacher, that’s most important," Byrd says. "I can’t reach a class of students that are going through something, so I like them to get it out, share, let go of it, and then they can focus on the class.”
And it’s not just for her students. Byrd plans to teach crochet over Zoom to anyone in the community through the holiday break, free to join Sunday nights at 6:30 p.m. If you'd like to join and learn, email Syeisha@yahoo.com.