Tribune Print Share Text

Creative hands

Knitting and other needlework help those in need

Created date

January 4th, 2016
Creative Hands knitters at Tallgrass Creek
Creative Hands knitters at Tallgrass Creek

Dedication and creativity come together in Tallgrass Creek’s Bluebird Classroom every Friday at 1 p.m. That is when residents arrive with needles, looms, and other knitting supplies in hand. For the next two hours, they use these tools to create colorful blankets, scarves, and hats. The beautiful results of these artistic labors are not for residents or their family members. Instead, they go to impoverished or homeless Kansas City area children and families.

“We all enjoy working with our hands, and it’s something we can do to help out,” says resident Ginny Caldwell, the group’s organizer. 

The gathering is aptly named Creative Hands. In addition to knitting, most participants sew, crochet, embroider, and needlepoint. 

“We’re all about anything with a needle,” laughs Ginny. “We’ve taught quite a few residents over the years to knit, so anyone who wants to learn is welcome.”

Helping hands

Ginny began spearheading a special project several years ago when she learned about homeless children in the Kansas City metro area who needed warm blankets. Ginny heard about the need through Marcia Merrick, a well-known Kansas City volunteer who provides hundreds of lunches daily to the homeless in the Kansas City area. 

Merrick visits Tallgrass Creek monthly to pick up dozens of homemade cookies Tallgrass Creek residents make for the lunches, an effort organized by residents Bunny Brown and Fran Wolfe, also members of Creative Hands. 

“Many of the children who need blankets live in cars, and blankets are easy for us to make,” says Ginny.  

The group knits eight-inch squares of yarn. Once they have about 30 squares, they sew them together to create a large, warm blanket. The knitting group appreciates the closet full of yarn that neighbors and their friends and families have donated. It allows them to create and give away several blankets each month. 

“It’s a group effort,” says Elsie Pickett, a group member and talented artist who does other forms of needlework. “These blankets are from all of us here at Tallgrass.”

It’s good to give

The group also uses the donated yarn to create multicolored hats and scarves given annually to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, an organization that provides holiday assistance to low-income families. 

“We enjoy helping and enjoy each other,” says Loretta Henshaw, an excellent seamstress who made clothing for all of her 12 children. “It’s relaxing to knit and share our experiences.” 

As needles click, other members of the group heartily agree.

“You’re producing something someone needs,” says Ginny. “That’s a good feeling.”