Sarah is well known among Residents for her positive disposition, fun, and wide range of abilities. We know that we appreciate her, but it is great that others do too, and one such group is none less than the Indiana State Fair! Sarah won First Prize in the category of Home and Family Arts – Needle Art and Sewing, for mittens she knitted. These are not your ordinary mittens; these mittens require the ability to use a variety of techniques from a variety of cultures.
What prompted you to enter?
I’d finished the mittens for myself before I decided to enter them in the Fair. The ladies in my Friday night knit group have been encouraging me for a few years to enter something in the Fair. This year one of them threatened, “If you don’t enter those mittens, I’m going to steal them and enter them for you.”
How did you learn to knit?
I’m mostly self-taught, although I was inspired by a friend who showed me how to get started during a car ride in Brown County, Indiana. There’s an “I taught myself knitting” book and kit available at most craft stores that I recommend to everyone interested in starting knitting. There are also many other knitting books I adore and find indispensable, and I’ve built a pretty extensive library. I quickly became obsessed with learning every technique I could find out about. You could certainly get away with calling me a fiber-nerd.
As Activities Assistant, do you do any needle arts with St. Augustine’s Residents?
No and yes. At this time, I don’t have the opportunity to lead needle arts as an organized group activity, but our Resident population, and their abilities and interests, are always changing, so you never know what the future may hold. However, many of the Residents I visit with on a one-to-one level USED to knit or crochet, and although they no longer can, because of loss of vision, motor ability, or other difficulties, they often enjoy reminiscing about favorite projects or people they’ve knitted for. They can also take comfort in the feel of a soft afghan or a nice ball of yarn and the fond memories they stimulate. One Resident has a collection of afghans she has crocheted, and at one time her closet door was lined with photographs of afghans and quilts she has made. Even though she can no longer speak clearly, she beams with pride and recognition whenever someone asks if one of these is hers.
Also…and this is VERY COOL…a few of the Residents started their own Prayer Shawl ministry. I do not take any credit for this; it was completely Resident-initiated and organized, but my involvement has been to occasionally provide patterns or “technical assistance.” I have to admit my favorite part of a work day is when I get an urgent page…”There’s been an emergency, please come right now, I’VE DROPPED STITCHES!!!”
What else would you like Blog readers to know?
There is something magical, beautiful, miraculous about belonging to the right knitting/crocheting group. Not only do we share inspiration and encouragement, but we share about our lives. It quickly becomes a kind of group therapy, each person taking turns sharing their personal struggles and joys throughout the week, and soaking up advice, encouragement, or at the very least commiseration from her friends. Sometimes no one knits a stitch because we’re too busy solving all the world’s problems. Also, “what happens at knit group stays at knit group.”
All that and a blue ribbon too!