ANDREA F. CARTER | CapeNews.net
Residents at the Carriage House Shelter in North Falmouth for young homeless mothers and their children may feel a bit warmer this winter, thanks to blanket donations from a knitting group from Cape Cod Senior Residences in Pocasset.
“They [the blankets] are incredible,” said Katie Geissler, the director of Carriage House Shelter. “You can definitely tell they are made with thought and love.”
On October 17 the group donated seven lap robes and two larger blankets to the shelter, said Paulette C. Loomis, who is one of the knitters.
They are now working on baby blankets for the next donation. One baby blanket will have 20 squares.
“Kids like to have something to hold onto,” Ms. Loomis said. “My children seemed to like to hold onto blankets.”
The group meets both at the residence once a week to sew blanket squares and then at Michael’s craft store in Falmouth once a month to sew the squares together.
They started meeting at Michael’s for the Warm Up America! program last year. Michael’s stores across the country sponsor the charity program in the fall, bringing knitters together to make blankets. This group decided to go all year-around.
“The ladies wanted to take it one step further,” Darlene Simmons, operations manager at Michael’s, said. “It allows everybody involved to make things a little better, and gives us the opportunity to reach out and bring comfort to people.”
Even though the knitters do not meet the blanket recipients, they learn that they are appreciated. The resident is able to take the blankets with them after they leave the shelter.
“Because they are homeless they really don’t have any possessions,” Ms. Geissler said. “I think the women are always touched when someone shows that they care.”
Ladies in the group, whose ages range from 75 to 85, have been knitting since they were young mothers themselves.
Bridget T. Fallon is using leftover scraps from blankets she knitted for her children to make a baby blanket. When you have 10 children, you have a lot to choose from, Ms. Fallon said.
Their experience makes them productive. Group member Betty Dewar has been known to bring in 30 squares to a gathering.
Staying involved with the community is also a motivation to be part of the group.
“If you are doing things, it helps you to relate to the world,” Ms. Loomis said. “You don’t just want to go off and be a fossil.”
It also helps with certain aspects of aging.
“We all have arthritis,” said Rose McGillycuddy, who will be 95 next month. “Knitting helps.” She adds that it also helps her from falling asleep in front of the television.
“I find knitting a great stress reducer,” Ms. Cunningham said. “If I don’t have my needles, people think I am sick.”
The group have become good friends and support each other’s efforts. Ms. Loomis used to knit sweaters but now she is blind, so she sticks with simpler squares. The group will help her with mistakes she makes and correct them.
Not everything they make is donated. In-between knitting squares they make projects for their families, even for themselves. Recently Ms. Loomis made a blanket with a purple square theme for her bed.
“I love hot purple,” she said.
The group is always looking for more knitters to join them each month at Michael’s. They are also always looking for yarn donations.