“When old ladies go wild”

Marymount Manor residents get together each Wednesday to knit items for charity.

It really shouldn’t be surprising that when you get a bunch of women together, you get a lot of noise.  Well and food.  Lots of food.  Although the noise thing is a pretty good factor, too.  Which doesn’t bode well to the idea that all these women, 18-20 of them each Wednesday afternoon, are doing so in order to knit for charity.  But knit they do.  A year ago in June, Georgie Springer and several residents from Marymount Manor, 317 152nd St E, in Spanaway decided to knit for charity.  They knit lap robes for nursing homes and hats for chemo patients, particularly men as there is a need for them.  They knit baby blankets and baby booties and scarves.  “In the first three months,” said Patricia Marvin, “we made 300 pieces.”

As you can imagine, all those pieces require patterns and few people like to do the same thing over and over again so Springer is always looking for more patterns.   Then someone sent her an article cut from a newspaper and on the back was an article about plarn.  Plarn comes from plastic bags that have been cut into strips.  The strips are then knit or crocheted, just like yarn, into items such as hats, sandals and mats.  The ladies make mats to keep homeless folks off the ground.  The mats also generate or reflect heat.  The additional benefit to plarn is that it’s abundantly available at no cost.  It takes 700 bags to make a mat.  That’s 700 bags that don’t see the landfill, or float ghostlike through the landscape

Anyone can join the group.  You don’t even have to knit.  Barbara Riffle said she’s the mascot and that at 83 years old, she sees her job as keeping the rest in line.   And Janie Hildahl rolls yarn and untangles skeins because, “I was a big tom boy and never learned to knit.”  She adds though that it’s “nice to get together with the girls.” Debbie Walters “rolls the yarn for the girls” and cuts strips.  “I’m left handed,” she said, “and it’s hard for me to do.  It’s just something nice to do in the afternoon…get together and gossip.”  Of course there is a lot of laughter as well.  Char Bowman suggested that the article should be called, “When old ladies go wild.”

Of course someone has to do the work of crocheting or knitting.  Marvin said she’s been crocheting since 1963 and that it’s good for her arthritis.  Ethel Haddentan specializes in crocheting blocks for afghans.  Nadine Abbott knits and crochets and has been doing both for decades.  She makes mittens and repairs and finishes other projects.  She also lauds the health benefits of hand work.  She was in a car accident and her cousin brought her some yarn, needles and instructions.

Judie Denoo prefers to multi-task.  “I cause a lot of trouble.  I’ve been a knitter and then Char (Bowman) taught me how to crochet.  My main job is to put together the squares.”  Denoo added, “We‘ve had family members come in.  I’ve had my granddaughter come in.  She’s just started and she’s better than all of us.”

Denoo and Springer are neighbors.   Springer has the yarn and Denoo hs the finished product.  “Wall to wall yarn,” added Springer.  “Thank God for my computer.”
The group aims for having fun.  “Perfection is not our goal,” said Springer.  “We have fun.  I look forward to Wednesdays.”

If you are interested in donating supplies or becoming a member of the group, call (253) 537-8910.