Women knit friendships as they warm their corner of the world

Linda Lakes, Cindy Shideler, Kathy Harrell, Beth Fulton, Sandy Diffenbaugh, Dortha Beachy and Sally Schenkel (from left) are members of The Loose Ends, a knitting and crocheting group.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Originally published May 7, 2009

For many people, crocheting and knitting offer a form of therapy and allows them to create pieces of art.

One local group of women has taken its love for the art form and used it to help others.

Beth Fulton heads up The Loose Ends, a group comprised of area women who love to crochet and knit.

"We started last October," states Fulton. "I was asked by a friend to start up a group that could get together."

Fulton, who says she has a life-long love for knitting and crocheting, says the group was formed so women who share her passion could meet in a comfortable atmosphere. She sent an e-mail to a group of women who she thought would be interested and thus the group was formed.

Member Sally Schenkel says it's not just about knitting or crocheting, either.

"We are a group of women from all different backgrounds and ages that have found new friendships through the group," Schenkel states.

Fulton adds that the common bond of the art forms has led the group to embark on project to help others in need.

"Currently we are working on a project, which benefits Stitches of Hope - Head Huggers of Northeast Indiana, in Bluffton," Fulton states. "We are making hats for cancer patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy."

According to the Web site www.stitchesofhope.com, the organization has distributed approximately 1,400 caps since June 2008. The site has guidelines on the recommended types of hats needed as well as patterns and links to other cancer services organizations.

"We are planning to work on our hats until the fall," says Fulton. "After we collect them all, we'll take them to Stitches of Hope and donate them to the organization."

Fulton adds that the group gets together once each month to work on the hats. However, members also work during their free time.

"I personally can make two to three hats per night," Fulton says. "I just love doing it. Other members may work faster or slower as well."

She adds that the group always welcomes newcomers, even if the person has no previous experience knitting or crocheting. Members share tips and tricks of the trade as well as patterns and materials.

"Our youngest member is 8 years old," states Fulton. "There are no restrictions on who can be apart of the group."

Linda Lakes says one of the things she likes about the art form is its lasting quality.

"After you make an item, you have a finished product that is tangible and long-lasting," she says.

Schekel adds that it costs less to knit or crochet a hat than it would cost to go to a movie.

"In most cases, it's more satisfying than the movie and the fact that we are doing it for a good cause helps too," she says.

Fulton says the group donated three bags of hats to the Boys and Girls Club last Christmas and that the gift was well received.

"I wasn't sure how it would be received, but I was surprised that everyone, especially the kids, loved them," she states. "It was nice to see that what we do for fun and a hobby was so much appreciated by others."

The donated hats were made by members of The Loose Ends as well as a few ladies from SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, who have a small group of their own.

Fulton says approximately 50-75 hats were donated to the Boys and Girls Club.

After the Stitches of Hope project, she adds that the group will be focusing on the Warm Up America project.

According to the Web site www.warmupAmerica.com, the foundation is an organization made up of volunteers who create handmade afghan blankets, clothing and accessories to help those in need. These items provide warmth and comfort to people who have lost their homes, fled abusive relations, or are being cared for in hospices, shelters, hospitals and nursing home.

Volunteers donate their time to crochet and knit a seven-inch by nine-inch rectangle (or more). Sections are either joined by individuals or groups in a community and donated locally or sent to Foundation headquarters for joining and distribution.

"We will be making the seven by nine-inch sections," states Fulton.

She adds that although future projects are also being discussed, members still like to create items for themselves or families.

"We have many women who are grandmothers and they love to make items, including scarves and blankets for their grandchildren," Fulton states.

Currently the group has approximately 20 active members.
To facilitate the varying schedules of the group, The Loose Ends meet on Monday at 10 a.m. and Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Coffee D'Vine, in Huntington.

"We encourage anyone interested in learning how to crochet or knit or someone who already knows how and wants to be a part of our group to call and let us know," states Fulton.

"We always look forward to meeting new people and sharing ideas and our love for the hobby."

For more information on The Loose Ends, contact Fulton at 3358-1652.

Coffee D'Vine is located at 44 Vine St.