Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Every second and fourth Monday of the month, long enough after lunch to be ready for a nice cup of afternoon coffee, a group of crafty women meet in Old Trace Park. Armed with sewing boxes and lumpy bags of yarn, they converge on the Ridgeland Recreation Center for an hour and a half of crochet, coffee, conversation and lots of laughter.
The Thread, Yarn, Crochet and Coffee Group started about eight years ago to give people an opportunity to spend time together and learn how to crochet.
"People would come and try to learn. Some got frustrated and didn't come back," Senior Adult Programs Coordinator Lynda Assink says. "Eventually, the group decided just to do their own crochet and needlepoint projects. "
The members of the group, primarily women of a certain age, make good use of their time together. They exchange ideas and share their finished projects. Sometimes, they work on projects together, donating their handiwork when the opportunity arises, such as giving crocheted scarves to the winners at the Special Olympics.
Judy Thompson, a bright-eyed, nimble-fingered 69-year-old, has been a member of this lively group since 2010. She learned to crochet as a child.
"I've been crocheting, off and on, for most of my life," Thompson says. "My mother and grandmother used to do it, my grandmother especially—I learned from her."
Like many yarn and needlecrafts, learning from a friend or family member is tradition. Inspired by the blanket a friend made, Thompson recently learned how to do the afghan stitch. She put her new skill to work to create her own leaf-and-vine patterned afghan.
"I liked the way her afghan turned out, so I decided to try it myself," Thompson explains. "She taught me the stitch that creates a square pattern and allows you to cross stitch."
Thompson has donated the lined afghan for a fundraising raffle that will support the senior exercise program at Ridgeland Rec Center. (Tickets are $5 a pop and the raffle will run through Nov. 14, the group's annual Thanksgiving luncheon).
Thompson says six or seven women attend the group on a regular basis. Most of the members do crochet, and a few knit or do embroidery. They celebrate birthdays together, bringing in baked goods to go with their coffee.
"You become friends, you sit and talk." Thompson says. "You get ideas from other people—it's a good social activity."
Anyone who would like to learn how to crochet can attend the meetings. As recently as this past summer, the group welcomed a mother and her two daughters.
"The group meets in the afternoon, so it's geared toward people who are at home," Assink says. "Every once in a while, we'll have a young mama come in (who) wants to learn."
As for the lack of men in the group, Assink laughs. Men are scarce but welcome.
"Just women so far, but everyone is welcomed to come and enjoy—We'd love to have them."
The Thread, Yarn, Crochet and Coffee Group meets on the second and fourth Monday of every month, from 1:30-3 p.m. at the Ridgeland Recreation Center (137 Old Trace Park, Ridgeland) For more information, call 601-856-6876.