A group of Delaware County women is spreading the love, one square at a time. Led by Karen Miller, a Delaware resident, the women have come together over the past few years to turn their passion for crocheting and knitting into donations for those in need.
The group began meeting three years ago at Pat Catan’s on South Sandusky Street in Delaware as part of the franchise’s “Warm Up America” project. The project asked knitters and crocheters to create 7-by-9 squares that would then be sewn together and donated to local organizations that could put them to good use.
Miller said there were around six people who met originally to work on the project, and they met for around four weeks during that year while the “Warm Up America” project was ongoing. Over that span, the group created nine blankets, which were donated to United Way of Delaware County. During the last session, as that year’s “Warm Up America” project came to a close, the group came to the conclusion that it would be “silly” to stop meeting and creating just because the project cycle was finished.
So, the decision was made to continue meeting for three hours on the second Saturday of every month at Pat Catan’s to continue their work. But during the second year of Pat Catan’s program, the store informed the group they would no longer be able to construct their crafts at the store as they were beginning a Saturday craft workshop that would need to utilize the space in the store. Still, the group created 18 blankets and donated them to the Women’s City Club in Delaware.
Searching for another space the women could convene, Miller, who works for Columbus State Community College, reached out to the Delaware campus. With ladies coming from Powell, Sunbury, Ostrander, and all around the county, the CSCC branch campus made for an ideal meeting spot for the group.
CSCC granted the group, which has grown to around 12 women on any particular day, permission and they continued to meet every second Saturday of the month. Miller said the Pat Catan’s store that donated the most through the project would receive recognition within the company, and that served as motivation for the women to create more squares and, ultimately, completed blankets.
However, the group was informed the Delaware location was scheduled to be closed, and with that, they were no longer participating in the “Warm Up America” project. But that didn’t stop the group from continuing on with its work.
Along with a considerable donation of more than 300 squares from a woman in Columbus, the group spent two months from February to March of this year turning the squares into completed blankets. The end result was 80 blankets — as well as several tote bags, pot holders, and “lovie blankets” for the children — ready to be delivered to a worthy destination.
Because the squares were all sorts of different patterns and colors, Miller said the blankets looked like patchwork quilts.
“It was fun to put them all together sort of hodgepodge,” she said. “It was really neat to see how they all came together.”
With Turning Point opening recently in Delaware and still settling in, Miller said the domestic violence shelter was a natural selection to receive the large donation. They made the donations on March 31 to much appreciation from the Turning Point staff.
“The blankets are beautiful, and each one is special because there is no doubt the blankets are made with love,” said Paula Roller, executive director at Turning Point. “These ladies are creative, generous, and a great example of a kind, caring community.”
She added, “Each resident is given one of the blankets during their shelter stay, and the residents are amazed that people would make something just for them. The blankets provide a tangible reminder that there are people who care about them and that they are not alone or forgotten.”
While the group started out as strangers who simply shared a creative passion and kind hearts, Miller said they have become friends over the past few years, supporting each other and even getting to know each other and their respective families through conversations.
Asked what else the women enjoyed about getting together, in addition to helping people in need, Miller said, “It’s just something we can do for ourselves. And it’s relaxing for us all. Instead of doing the laundry, doing the grocery shopping, going here and there, it’s time for us to be able to sit and do what we want to do.”
As for what the group’s next projects may be, Miller said there is a veteran’s drive for gloves, hats, scarves, etc. at CSCC coming toward the end of the year. She said the group plans to craft and donate items there, as well as more blankets to places in the colder months.
Donations of yarn and material are important to the group as it often crafts using their own supplies. Anyone interested in donating supplies, or even their own squares, can bring them to the group during one of their meetings at the Delaware CSCC branch, 5100 Cornerstone Dr., Delaware, from noon to 3 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month. The group can typically be found right inside the lobby.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.