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Knitting’s not so boring after all

Not when you’re in this social knitting group

Created date

May 21st, 2013

Yarn Creations isn t your normal knitting group. This task force of 20-plus women turns out hundreds of knitted and crocheted sweaters, scarves, hats, and lap blankets for profit and for charity each year. And they have a blast while they re at it. Our group is very social, says group leader Evelyn Deleeuw. One of our ladies reads funny emails aloud while we re knitting, and we all have a good laugh. Evelyn and her crew all live at Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J., where the group meets every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Knitting for the needy

Evelyn reads off a list of at least seven organizations to which Yarn Creations makes donations: CUMAC/ECHO, Inc., an organization for the needy in Paterson; Gift of Life, a charity for transplant patients in Philadelphia; Healing the Children; Soldiers Angels; Tri-Boro Animal Welfare; the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous; and the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children. These organizations receive knitted items either to give to those who need them or for fundraising. For example, CUMAC feeds and clothes people in need, utilizing the knitted hats, scarves, and sweaters from Yarn Creations, while Tri-Boro Animal Welfare auctions donated items to raise funds. People hear about us, and they ask us for knitted and crocheted items, Evelyn says. Sometimes it s through people who live here who are connected to an organization. Many people who live at Cedar Crest volunteer their time to on- and off-campus organizations, supplying a healthy handful of various charities from which Yarn Creations receives requests.

Pastime for profit

But the group does more than donate knitted items; they also donate the proceeds from anything they sell. Twice a year we have a sale called the Fruits of Our Labor, where we sell our wares, Evelyn says. Seabrook hosts the event for all residents to display and sell their creations, from paintings and photographs to potted plants. Additionally, Yarn Creations sells items year-round. We have a lot on hand that we sell, and we take requests, she says, adding that the majority of their requests are for baby outfits. Yarn Creations donates the proceeds from sold items to a campus charity, with some of the money used to purchase supplies.

Social hour

Evelyn says she enjoys the group more for the camaraderie than for the knitting, though she logs about 80 hours a month knitting in her apartment home because they get so many requests. I really enjoy it because we have such a nice group. It s so social, she says. We have experienced knitters and beginners all levels of knitters and crocheters. Fountain of youth Spend a day with Evelyn Deleeuw, and you d never guess her age. Evelyn plays golf, tennis, and Wii bowling. She walks, is active in church, and writes poetry. I m a young 90, she says. I ve been very blessed with my health, and I have a very fast pace. I always have one activity after another. That s the secret to staying young. Her other secret to youth has been living at Cedar Crest, the Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J., where she can stay active both physically and socially. The community has more than 180 clubs and activities, an on-site fitness and aquatics center, five restaurants with healthy dining options, an on-site medical center, and maintenance-free living so she has time to enjoy all the amenities she loves. I love Cedar Crest, and I think it s the best thing I ever did, she says.