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Knitting the community together

Newcomer to the knitting group, Gail Notts, is knitting a hooded baby blanket.

St. John’s Episcopal Church fellowship hall is a busy place on Wednesday mornings, as area women regularly gather to knit or crochet a variety of items.

The number of participants varies from week to week, but on average there are at least a dozen or so whose needles are moving in and out among the threads and yarns. They create baby caps for hospital newborns, knit hats for elementary children who must walk to school in the cold, or even design an elegant evening bag for sale at the upcoming church Festival of St. John the Apostle on Nov. 19-20.

This year a new project is under way, coordinated by Susan Cummings, director of the church gift shop. The women of the Bainbridge community are invited to help knit or crochet camouflage scarves to be placed in care packages for the troops.

Cummings said she had contacted the USO and Care Packages organization about the need and her original goal was to have 300 scarves collected by Nov. 23. As of this week, she has 100, but the ladies are still knitting, and there is still time to get involved. Camouflage yarn can be purchased through the local Walmart store, or from Cummings, who has a supply available at the church hall. Additionally, Walmart donated $25 toward the project.

Each finished scarf is placed in a quart size zip-lock bag along with a “handwritten” note or card from the person who made the scarf. One example shown carried the message, “I hope this will help you keep warm this winter. Every stitch is a prayer for your safety. Thank you for keeping us free and safe.”

The group runs the gamut from beginning knitters to “masters.” One of the regulars, Paula Grollman, said she saw an article about knitting for charity in The Post-Searchlight in January and although she had never knitted, she had always wanted to learn.

She began coming in February and the other women have been patiently teaching her. “My first project was a baby hat,” she said. Grollman said she, like several others, is not a member of St. John’s, but finds the women there so warm, friendly and welcoming, she would encourage anyone who wants to learn to come and join in.

One of the group, Gail Notts, recently moved to the Bainbridge area from South Carolina. She says the move has been a life-changing event and getting involved with the knitters has helped her make new friends. She describes herself as much more active here.

Cummings said there is a revival of the art of knitting. There are a couple of other knitting groups in town working on this and other projects — one at the Methodist Church meets on Wednesday afternoons and another meets at The Bean on the Square on Saturday mornings.

Every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., there is knitting and/or games at St. John’s church hall.

“It has become a social event, similar to the old quilting bees,” said Cummings, who extends an invitation to the community to come and join the fun.

For more information, contact Susan Cummings at (229) 246-9127.