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Home : Community : Charity Connection : Stories : Lap Robes for Hospice

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Caring and Sharing

While so many of us love making things for ourselves and our families, many in the Lion community go further, creating for those in need. Join us in this section and be touched by these true stories of caring and sharing submitted by Lion Brand readers.

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Lap Robes for Hospice

Wanting to learn how to "knit and pearl," I approached a master knitter in our area about starting a class for beginning knitters at the local library. I was a "hooker" (crochet enthusiast) who learned the chain stitch while sitting on my mother's knee; but no matter whose patience I tried when it came to knitting, I couldn't grasp the concept of TWO needles making magic with yarn. Helen Colclaser didn't hesitate. "When do you want to start?” she asked. Word of the class for beginner knitters spread like a wild fire, and the space around the "study table" in our little library was soon crowded with others eager – aptly called The Knotty Knitters - to grasp the concept of the craft. Under Helen's tutelage, we moved in no time from swatches to service projects - i.e. scarves for Special Olympics, scarves and hats for Seeds of Hope Homeless Shelter (Pittsburgh, PA) and local shelters/missions. We made afghans for a struggling nursing home shelter (80 such articles were distributed in one trip), as were/are hats for preemies and newborns (both locally and internationally). The local women’s & children’s services also benefited from our projects, and even non-KK crafters donated to our causes. Although we do not seek publicity, the Knotty Knitters have been featured in local newspaper stories as well as in Good Housekeeping Magazine. We meet every Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Delmont PA Library and encourage anyone - no matter age, gender, ability or needle craft choice - to join us. Several in the group have become "master helpers" and willingly, eagerly teach “newbies,” and to problem-solve creative errors. The Knotty Knitters share more than just patterns, yarn and ideas. We've evolved to become a lifeline of caregivers to each other - a support network of empathic friends who lovingly address the emotional, psychological and mental holes in today's life fabric ... we call it "therapy without the couch." In sharing and caring, we've halved burdens and doubled joys for each other and for ourselves. In such an environment, how can we not gladly reinvest our time, talent and resources to magically turn yarn into warmth and support outside our circle. Much of our "resources" comes from our own stashes; much of it is given to us through donations in which we find beautiful, colorful, perfectly preserved skeins still wrapped in the Lion Brand Yarn wrapper. Many in our group are currently making lap robes for the Greensburg, PA Excela Health System Hospice program. Our colorful crocheted, knitted, quilted and machine-sewn creations are distributed to hospice patients in Westmoreland County. The family of each patient is given the article as a "memorial blanket" upon the patient's passing into new life. Although all the lap robes and afghans are deeply appreciated, program director Joan Roth reports that the eyes of a patient who served in the Armed Forces light up when he/she sees the “red, white and blue” in the lap robe or afghan. Considering all these veterans have done to serve our country, complying to Joan’s request for patriotic-themed lap robes is the least we can do to say “THANK YOU for your service.” The feedback on this project has been phenomenal.
THANK YOU, Lion Brand, for the opportunity to share The Knotty Knitters of Delmont, PA story with you. . As perpetual (and obsessive) yarn lovers, we share our enthusiasm for the resurgence of yarn crafts and offer our appreciation for your very, very fine products.
Nancy A. Clark - for the Knotty Knitters.

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