If there’s one thing the Yarn Club knows how to do, it’s keep people warm.
Its members — a collection of women who crochet and knit together in the Hermiston Public Library twice a week — are always on the lookout for who might need the next hat or blanket or scarf.
“If I see a mother in the store, I ask her, ‘Do you have a blanket for that baby?’” Gladys Morrison said. “If she says no, I get her phone number and tell her I’ll make something ... It’s important that those babies are warm and covered.”
Veterans, nursing home residents, new babies, hospitalized children, victims of domestic violence, the homeless, hospice patients and the local animal shelter have all been recipients of regular donations from the Yarn Club over the seven-year course of its existence. Members of the club, which meets at the library Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m., can work on personal projects too, but when they’re not making gifts for family and friends they are often creating items for someone in need.
“If people donate yarn to us, we make it all up into things we donate,” LaVera Sanchez said.
She was working on a baby blanket in rainbow of neon colors Saturday, in preparation for an upcoming baby shower. While some women are solely knitters or crocheters, Sanchez does both, although she said knitting is her favorite.
There are varying levels of skill and experience in the club, but they all help each other out. When Morrison was having difficulty figuring out a new stitch on Saturday, she showed Sanchez the pattern and asked for her advice on her “problem child” of an afghan.
“We have to go through a lot of things, when we’re learning a new stitch, but we all put our heads together,” Morrison said.
Kathleen McCall was also having a bit of difficulty with a pink blanket she was knitting to add to the bag of baby blankets she has ready to donate to Good Shepherd Medical Center, but she worked it out. Some days go smoothly, the group said, while others are “tear-out days” that call for some re-doing.
As they worked around two tables in a back corner of the library, the ladies chatted about their lives and their families. They usually continue the conversation over lunch or dinner after leaving the library, and Donna Backan said they had a yarn-themed Christmas party together in December.
When Morrison came in, she handed Backan a set of crocheted pot holders and sponges.
“See? We love each other,” Backan said. “She just handed me a gift. We never know what our friendship will bring.”
On Saturday there were eight women present, but on Thursdays, they said, it’s often closer to 20. One group member stopped by briefly to say hello and apologize that she hadn’t been around recently due to juggling work and classes at Blue Mountain Community College.
“Every time one of our sheep goes astray, we wonder what’s going on,” Morrison said.
There are multiple mother-daughter pairs who attend the club, although none of them were present Saturday. The oldest of those pairs has been knitting 50 and 70 years, respectively.
The club loves to add new members, and they’re always happy to give advice to anyone who stops by to ask a question about yarn-based projects or donate leftover yarn.
“Yarn Club handles it all,” group member Helen Hauser said.
Contact Jade McDowell at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.