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Sharing their gifts

Yarncrafters knit and purl for Special Olympics

Created date

December 21st, 2010

What made Fox Run s Yarncrafters group take on a large-scale knitting project just as the weather heated up last June? Michigan s Special Olympic athletes. When Virginia Gardner learned about a project to provide 2,500 winter scarves for the athletes and support staff of the 2011 Special Olympics Michigan State Winter Games, she immediately suggested it to Yarncrafters. Deloris Roman co-chairs the knitting and crocheting group with Shirley Handley. Everyone really gravitated to this project because it s for Special Olympics, Roman says. All of the athletes are disabled. The fact that they re competing the group found that heartwarming. We wanted to do our bit. Members supplied their own yarn for the scarves and adhered to project guidelines for scarf size and yarn colors. But each followed whatever pattern captured her fancy. That freedom to create made the group eager to see one another s work. By August, Shirley and I were curious to know how the project was coming along, says Roman, so we invited the members to a Special Olympics Winter Games knitting spree. The Yarncrafters gathered on Fox Run s poolside patio to admire the completed scarves, continue working, and enjoy dessert. When we adjourned, Roman says, several women asked when we could do this again. I guess the [get-together] was a huge success. The project was equally successful. Before the holiday rush, the group shipped more than a hundred scarves to the project s collection point at Central Michigan University. The scarves will be distributed at the state games Feb. 1-4.

A crafty history

Deloris Roman started Yarncrafters in 2006 with the goal of knitting and crocheting for charity. She hoped that women who weren t involved in other activities at Fox Run might enjoy the socialization of a crafters group. But the ladies who ve come forward are all active, busy people, she says. They re also committed; the group has never had fewer than 20 members. Although most of them can both knit and crochet, only Geneva Corbin crochets her items. She specializes in lap robes the group gives to Renaissance Gardens, Fox Run s on-site rehab and skilled nursing neighborhood. Yarncrafters also knits for off-campus organizations; they make chemo hats for local hospitals and knit wool helmet liners for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group is also collaborating with Renaissance Gardens on a Beanie Babies project to benefit shelters and children s hospitals. Members knit baby blanket squares that Renaissance Gardens residents then wrap around the Beanie Babies. Our projects are relatively simple, Roman says. We don t ask people to do complicated knitting. When you re knitting for charity, you want to produce. The group welcomes donations of acrylic yarn. Members knit on their own, coming together just twice a month for an hour at a time. Everyone is welcome. It s a very congenial group, Roman says. We bring the work we ve finished, chitchat, knit, and get ideas from one another. And if someone has a problem, there s always a very good knitter there who can help.

Want to knit for the Special Olympics?

Virginia Schultz of Clarkston, Mich., started the scarf-knitting project for Special Olympics Michigan after reading about a similar project for the 3,000 athletes who competed in the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Michigan s 2011 State Winter Games will take place Feb. 1-4 in Traverse City, Acme, and Bellaire. The deadline to deliver scarves to Schultz or to Central Michigan University is Jan. 15. Yarncrafter Deloris Roman at Fox Run estimates it only takes a few days at most to complete a scarf, so skilled knitters or crocheters might still meet the deadline. Details about size, colors, and addresses are at Click on media room, then knitting hopes and dreams.