A group of women at the Washington Commons Retirement Community meet for an hour each Friday to stitch their way into the hearts of many.
The women are part of the Dropped Stitches group. They knit and crochet scarves, lap robes and other items which are donated to those in need, said Holley Howard, the activities director at Washington Commons.
"You know, these ladies put their heart into it," Howard said. "They want to do something that's completely selfless."
Thelma Wall originated the idea for the group when she was hospitalized for a knee replacement surgery. She said she saw how useful lap robes were when a woman received one from a church group.
The group was named when another resident told the members he couldn't knit or crochet, but joked that he would help pick up the dropped stitches, Howard said.
Dropped Stitches started three years ago and the women have already made more than 200 lap robes.
"We found that we could do something for somebody else," Wall said.
The women are now in the process of making 44 caps for soldiers serving in Afghanistan to wear under their helmets and when they go to sleep.
They must use dark green, brown and tan colors so the service members will still be camouflaged, Wall said.
They also are creating caps for children in Afghanistan made from various colors.
After the group finishes that project, Wall said they will begin making teddy bears for Alzheimer's patients.
In the past, the group has made baby hats for premature newborns at hospitals.
Before Christmas, the group delivered more than 100 baby hats and 20 baby blankets to premature infants.
They've also made blankets for assisted living and nursing homes. This year, Howard said, after the group delivered blankets and lap robes to a cancer clinic, they were able to meet a couple of patients.
"They were the most grateful people you ever saw," said Anne Clark, a member of Dropped Stitches. "They thanked us and thanked us and thanked us."
The group is also a good outlet for socializing.
"We have a good time reminiscing and telling stories from way back," Wall said.
Howard said the group now consists of about 12 or 13 members and is both popular and appreciated by residents at Washington Commons.
"When they do a fund-raiser and sell their wares, the residents here are very supportive of that," she said.
At a recent fund-raiser, the women made tote bags and pillows, which raised more than $1,000. The money is used to buy yarn and other material that the women need to work on their numerous projects.
Dropped Stitches always welcomes donations so they can continue to help others in the community.
"None of it goes to waste," Clark said.
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