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Knitters donate 2,000+ items to charity

Instructional Knitting group turns knowledge into mittens, scarves, blankets, and more

Created date

March 22nd, 2010

Joyce Chananie has created an army of do-good knitters. [caption id="attachment_8991" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Joyce Chananie shows off some of the hats that the Instructional Knitting group has made for local charities. (Photo by Tony Ciavolella)"]Cedar Crest, she reflects, it seemed like every clubhouse had its own knitting or crocheting group. But we didn t have one in our neighborhood, so I put up some ads and it grew from there. The club was a hit. I didn t expect this many people would want to learn, Chananie says. People just kept coming by and we kept learning and knitting more and more.

Learning the ropes

Now the group has about 12 regular members as well as numerous others who join them from time to time. I think when we started, most of our members had never knitted before, Chananie says. One of those rookie knitters who joined the club two years ago was Muriel Eirmann. I did a little knitting 50 years ago but really forgot how to do it, she admits. When I saw this was instructional knitting, I thought it was right up my alley. Since joining, Eirmann has learned to become proficient at both knitting and crocheting. I m a visual learner. I need to be shown how to do it. That s why Joyce is great, says Eirmann. She can show you anything and fix, go around, or make anything you do better. Nothing stumps her. She spends so much time helping others and giving individual instruction each week that she doesn t get much knitting time for herself. But we all appreciate her help. I look forward to going each week for the knitting and the camaraderie, adds Eirmann. We love to get the gab sessions going. I don t live in their neighborhood, so I love to go and get all the good new gossip.

Charity comes

Once everyone learned, the items started piling up, Chananie says of the club s evolution. We had piles of hats, scarves, and mittens that we needed to do something with. So the group made its first big donation to nearby Valley Hospital. After that, word got out. Soon otherCedar Crestresidents who volunteered at different places in the area started asking if the knitters could make items for their charities too. In the following months, as demand and the members skills grew, the club expanded its offerings. In addition to hats, scarves, and mittens, it began making afghans, lap robes, and blankets. Now, we re always looking for yarn, Eirmann says. It s hard to keep up. Many of our neighbors atCedar Crestdonate their old yarn to us, and we make sure every bit gets made into something that we give to charity. Some of the recipients have been Chilton Memorial Hospital, Eva s Village in Paterson, the Armed Forces, and a few smaller homeless and domestic violence shelters. You re just making a helmet liner for a soldier or a blanket for a hospital, but you feel like you re really helping out, Eirmann explains.

Close-knit group

The group continues to meet once a week and Chananie gives instruction whenever anyone has a question. But we ve really moved past that [beginning phase] to the point where we re creating as many things as possible for local charities, she says. We re a charitable group first. That doesn t mean the group has stopped enjoying themselves. We re always laughing and having a good time, she says. You can t get a bunch of women together without doing some talking and having fun. The ladies agree. Of course, you catch up with friends and it keeps your hands limber and all of that, says Eirmann. But the best feeling is when you make something that may help someone have a better day.