Knowledge and knitting: A profile of senior Sydney Muchnik
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 10:51pm
IF YOU SHARE a class with senior Sydney Muchnik, you have probably noticed the main preoccupation of her fingers — knitting. While other students zone out during lectures, Muchnik creates yarn garments, generated by the supplies she keeps in her knitting bag.
"I keep whatever project I'm working on and the yarn I'm working from," she explains of the contents of her bag. "And then also I have this — it's called a Knit Kit. It's this little blue disc thing and it's got scissors, a darning needle, a tape measure, this little thing to count rows, and some stitch markers. It's all you could ever need to knit."
Like many others, Muchnik learned to knit from a kit she received as a gift when she was a child. However, she did not really become interested until her subfreshman year, when a knitting Agora Days class reintroduced the hobby to her.
Since then, Muchnik has taught Agora Days knitting classes of her own. She has taught for the past two years. This year, along with English teacher Suzanne Linder and sophomore Sierra Maniates-Selvin, Muchnik taught a Knit Bombing class.
"It's [knit bombing] also called knit graffiti," she explains. "It's kind of crazy. [...] Sometimes it's used to make a political statement, or sometimes its just to leave your mark for fun."
The mark that the Uni knit bombers made upon the school was the scarf draped upon the urns outside of the library windows.
Muchnik does not limit her knitting projects to the simple scarves, however. One of her most ambitious projects was a dress that she made for Winter Formal 2009.
"I knitted a dress for winter formal freshman year," she says. "It was really cool. It was dark blue and it was all princessy, with a tight bodice. [...] I didn't use a pattern at all; I just decided I was going to make it, drew lots of pictures, and it turned out really well."
She also knits on the whimsical side, creating small yarn animals.
"I made a cute purple squid; it was really long [and] it had cool little twisty tentacles," Muchnik says. "I make these little mini, itti-bitty, pink pigs that are slightly purple-ish, and they're really cute!"
Yarn is not the only way that Muchnik has expressed herself while at Uni; recently she has also acted in several Uni productions. She started her Uni acting career with Big Show 2011 as a way to fill her after-school time after having quit the basketball team after freshman year.
"I didn't really have school-related extracurricular activities sophomore year, and I was like, 'Huh, you know, I miss that,' so when junior year came around, I was like, 'You know, Big Show will be really fun,'" she recalls.
After doing Big Show her junior year, Muchnik moved on to a more traditional play, "Night of the Living Dead."
"I was a zombie," she says. "It was awesome; I loved that. I had to just stumble around the stage and moan. I got to be dead and dragged across the stage, which was disgusting because it was the North Attic. I'd end up with like dust and grime all over my back, but it was really fun."
Muchnik then went on to conquer her third appearance in the North Attic as Jade in senior Maia Gersten's play "ily2," as part of this year's Student Productions, "When Love is Pants and Lips Crumble."
"[In] StudProd, there's obviously a director who's also a writer and they are the mastermind behind the whole thing," she recalls. "And for my play, Maia had this vision, and so we were helping her create that vision, which is really cool."
Much like a director's vision of their play, Muchnik has changed during her time here at Uni.
"As a very beginning subbie, everyone thought I was crazy weird," she remembers. "[...] I came here from Countryside, so I knew a decent amount of people that were in my class. And so, as you do, you cling to the people that you know, and the relationships, and the jokes, and all that stuff that you had."
Throughout her years at Uni though, Muchnik has branched out and learned some valuable lessons.
"I've learned a lot about friendships," she says. "I think that one of the interesting things about Uni is because our classes are so small, you're kind of forced to interact with everyone. [...] In some situations, it would be easy just to avoid people, [...] but in Uni you can't do that, so you learn to work through it.
"I think that's been really good for me; I've learned a lot about communicating with people."
In the end, though, it all goes back to basics. When asked about how she imagines her distant future, Muchnik simply says: "One day I'm going to be that old grandma sitting on the rocking chair, drinking tea and knitting."