I’ve been quite envious for years of my two sisters who are part of a lively knitting group in Clarkesville, Georgia. They meet once a week and chat as they knit scarves, shawls, hats and more. But the other day I was in the area with the right time frame and was able to drop in on them.
Both my sisters, Jackie and Suzanne, were there, as well as my dear niece Freida whom I seldom see. And there were several more ladies, knitting needles or crochet hooks clicking away. I met KK, Edith, Yvonne, Cheryl, and Carol Ann.
This group, Skeins of Love, meets in the Ministries Building of Clarkesville First United Methodist Church. They have a large open area where they with their knitting bags can circle up and see each others’ faces as they talk, as well as observe each others’ progress on their projects. Adjacent to this area is a nicely stocked supply room. It looked just like a little yarn store with cubbies for skeins of yarn in various colors and weights. But at this “shop” knitters don’t have to pay for supplies, although some do bring their own. The church and many donors keep them stocked in yarn, needles, all they need. Suzanne thoughtfully chose yarn for her next project, a prayer shawl. “It’s always fun,” she says, “to pick the color you want to work with, and live with, for a while.”
Also, in the supply room, was a bulletin board covered with thank you notes from many of the recipients of scarves, shawls, hats, etc. from this busy bunch. They literally send them to all corners of the globe as they learn of needs, although most go to folks in the general area. Blankets and scarves were sent to soldiers in Afghanistan. They knit hats for cancer patients, blankets for babies, scarves for cold people everywhere. They send shipments of knitted pieces to veterans’ homes, to orphanages, to hospitals, to homeless shelters, and hand deliver to many nearby, including individuals who just need the hug of a prayer shawl.
One lady told me she makes four-inch squares with a cross or a heart design in the middle. “For patients,” she said, “just to feel of and find comfort.” She knows how much something small can help because she was a cancer patient herself not long ago.
Another lady remembered an instance when someone wrote that they had found a blanket such a help. This recipient had rolled the blanket up tight and used it for a pillow. That information inspired some of the knitters to start making pillow covers of various designs. The pillows themselves are sewn by one or two who, in addition to their work in the group, also like to sew. Like Yvonne, for example.
Yvonne enjoys sewing simple, useful bags, as well as pillows. My interest was piqued as to what other endeavors the rest of the ladies apply themselves to. I went around the circle and found a treasure trove of talent. Edith, for instance, writes poetry and songs. Two of the knitters are artists and have expressed themselves through their paintings for years. At least two of the members volunteer at the local Soup Kitchen. Suzanne and her husband raise and can some eight hundred quarts of vegetables each year for their large, burgeoning family. Nearly all have grandchildren who become subjects of stories told in the circle. Several are members of the church where Skeins of Love meets. Some are from other churches.
As I chatted with each one and looked at their varied work, each piece unique as the knitters themselves, I was excited about the immeasurable difference these ladies are making in the lives of others. A knitter knows that simply to knit is wonderful therapy. Knitting, or crocheting, or quilting along with friends is even better, a healing, soul-satisfying thing. And then to be able to send those finished pieces out far and near is wonderful indeed.
Skeins of Love has been active for seven or eight years, though no one seemed to be positive how long they’ve been knitting together. Marilyn, their leader, was absent that day. The knitters do occasionally go by church bus to deliver things to a nursing home. And they might enjoy lunching together on rare occasions. But most of the time they can be found on Thursday mornings stitching away at the church.
I expressed my sorrow that I don’t have a knitting group near me. One lady responded, “Why don’t you start one?”
Someone said it was time for prayers. Suzanne prayed a dear plea for the Lord to bless the knitters, the work of their hands, and the folks who will receive the scarves and shawls.
Before I left, we all sang one of Edith’s songs, a beautiful song to lift one’s spirits and point us to the Great Creator.
God the Father knows all about knitting: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13