New Lenox teen enjoys traditions learned from close-knit family
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent October 5, 2012 4:44PM
Deanna DiMonte, 17, a senior at Lincoln-Way West High School, is an expert at crocheting and knitting and now teachers others as seen Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, at 21701 S. Gougar Rd. in New Lenox. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 8, 2012 1:00PM
Deanna DiMonte likes to create things.
Some of those things allow the New Lenox teen to carry on family traditions she learned from her two grandmothers.
DiMonte, 17, a senior at Lincoln-Way West High School, learned how to crochet from her maternal grandmother, Betty Orlando, of New Lenox, when she was just 5 years old. As her proficiency grew, she wanted to tackle knitting.
Now, knitting club is one of many extracurricular school activities in which DiMonte is involved. And she seems to be a natural.
“I wanted to learn how to do a cable stitch. It just looks so professional, like a sweater you buy at a store,” she said. “As soon as I learned to knit, I learned how to do a cable stitch a week later.
“I like giving people knitted projects because it looks very finished, but crocheting is nice because it is more free-form.”
DiMonte finds both knitting and crocheting therapeutic.
“It is relaxing to do the stitches,” she said. “You have to do it right. You can’t rush. Then you have a great feeling of accomplishment when you finish a project. I only wish I had more time to do it.”
DiMonte said she has several unfinished projects and many more planned that she has yet to start.
One factor in her having a list: She also has other interests learned from her paternal grandmother, Angie DiMonte, of New Lenox.
“She is one of my role models. She immigrated to the U.S. from Italy when she was 16. She worked her entire life and is a brilliant seamstress, a great cook and baker, and she’s good at gardening,” DiMonte said. “I’ve learned to bake from her.”
DiMonte has a lot going on at school, too. Her extracurricular activities include mathletes, Pi Sigma Pi (a history honor society), Mu Alpha Theta (a math honor society), Scholastic Bowl, National Honor Society, Principal’s Cabinet and Homecoming Olympics. She also plays golf and badminton, and plays the harp for the Madrigals group.
Her knitting club experience began when she was a freshman and the club was in its infancy.
“I learned how to knit just before my freshman year,” DiMonte said. “We teach new members how to knit, and a couple of times a year we host a tea party in the school library.
“Our goal is to try and complete projects. But a lot of times I find myself helping people with their stitches instead of finishing my own projects.”
But DiMonte has crocheted afghans, and even knitted a stuffed dragon for a friend’s birthday present.
She also co-founded a Quidditch Club. Quidditch is a fictional sport created by J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” series of books.
“You run around on broomsticks and try to score goals anyway possible by kicking the ball or throwing the ball,” DiMonte said. “One person on each team is a goalie. In addition, there is one person who is not on either team who has a tennis ball. You have to try and capture the tennis ball.”
DiMonte said her family — parents Luann and John DiMonte, and brothers John, 22, and Daniel, 21 — are her support system.
“They do everything for me. They cheer me up. They play sports. My family is just a very good, strong family, and I love being with them,” DiMonte said. “My brothers never exclude me from being with them. We always do stuff together. We have strong family values.”
DiMonte’s future plans include possibly studying engineering.
“I really like math and science. I also like creating things,” she said. “I love working on stuff. I like the sense of completing something. I am always trying to work toward completing a project, homework or doing good on a test.”