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Skilled hands seek yarn for projects

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Loving Hearts of South Puget Sound donates items to nonprofits

Have yarn, will knit. And knit, and knit, and knit.

That's the mentality for a local Shelton nonprofit group, Loving Hearts of South Puget Sound.

"I'd estimate I've made well over 100 children's hat-and-scarf sets this year," said group member Lou Ann Strand. "I can get one set done in a day if I get in a rhythm."

The group, which has members across the county, can churn out hundreds of projects each month, including children's hat-and-scarf sets, shawls, blankets and bags. The group donates these projects to residents in need through programs like CareNet Pregnancy Center, Community Lifeline, Vista Oncology and nursing homes.

Speed and talent with a set of needles are not the group's problem.

What they need is more yarn.

"Usually, most of our donations come if someone passes away and they have a lot of yarn, the family will just give us the yarn," said member Jackie Martin. "Or if someone has some left over from a project and they don't know what to do with it. We'll figure out how to make anything work."

Donations of any kind, color or amount of yarn help the group out tremendously, Martin said. The group is also hoping to begin applying for grants for funds to buy supplies.

Donations are down to about half of what they were at the same time last year, said one of the group's organizers, Kathy Lester, adding that they expect the need will be greater this winter, after the two Simpson Lumber Co. mills shut down this year and left many people out of work.

Yarn or monetary donations for the group can be dropped off at Yards of Yarn at 1800 Olympic Highway South in Shelton, which is where the group meets from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. the third and fourth Monday of each month.

"They really do a wonderful thing," said Yards of Yarn owner Karen Chesnik.

The group was founded by Shelton resident Hilda Ware in 2013, when a handful of women began knitting items a few times each month in the library at First Baptist Church in Shelton.

Slowly, the group gathered members by word-of-mouth and the knitters outgrew the church library.

Last year, Ware approached Chesnik to ask how much it would be to rent space in Yards of Yarn and Chesnik allowed the group to knit in her business twice a month, free of charge.

"More people are always welcome to join," Chesnik said.

"The more the merrier," Martin adds.

Many group members are unable to make the bi-monthly meetings, so they knit or crochet at home, dropping off items at the store whenever they finish something.

"People tend to miss a couple months here and there, so our membership always fluctuates," Martin said. "Sometimes we'll have eight people sitting in here knitting. Other times, only one person will show up."

Throughout the year, the group knits or crochets items for various events or charities.

During the holiday season, the group donates blankets to nursing homes to pass out to residents who may not be receiving a gift on Christmas morning.

"Not everybody in there is getting a gift since some people have family far away or not at all," said Lester. "This is just one way to make them feel loved."

In addition to giving to those in need, the group acts as a social time for the participants. The group invites area residents with any skill level in knitting or crochet to attend a session to learn from other members and improve their skills.

"It's nice to have an outlet for our hobby," said Martin, as she gestured to the bright red shawl she was working on. "Our families will only accept so many (knitted) things, and this really gives you a sense of satisfaction."

For more information or to make a donation, contact Yards of Yarn at 426-6230.

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: August 27, 2015

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