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Needlers share sweaters, fellowship

September 29, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

QUINCY, Pa. - Even as the knitting needles click with skills refined over a lifetime to produce sweater No. 300, then 301 and 302, the women say their true specialty is chatting.

Conversation at the weekly sessions of Quincy Needlers transitions from who is ill to who needs help to whose grandchildren are visiting, they said.

"Baby pictures are passed around," Patricia Yetter said.

"Some of the folks who have computers bring jokes they have or stories," Mollie Lyon said.

"We're a lively bunch. We may be getting older, but ..." Anne Aclin trailed off as the room again filled with laughter. It had only dissipated moments before as they recounted Aclin's near-collision with a wall while trying to move Lyon's electric wheelchair.

"Made with Love" might as easily be sewn into each sweater as the "Made in the U.S.A." tags that actually are.

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"These go not only to children in need in the states, but out with missionaries around the world," Aclin said.

The group's knitted and crocheted creations in children's sizes 2 to 10 are sent across the globe through Guideposts Magazine's Knit for Kids project. As of March 2005, the program had provided 200,000 sweaters for children, according to Aclin.

Seventeen Quincy Village residents and four others from outside the Quincy Retirement Community contribute to the Guideposts project, Aclin said. Quincy Needlers also provides sweaters, quilt squares and quilts to other initiatives.

The Guideposts gang started passing around Aclin's pattern about two years ago, she said.

Their sweaters come in myriad colors with yarn donated from people who learned about the work through word of mouth. Every last bit is used, Lyon said.

Each woman has been knitting and/or crocheting for decades, and most learned from their mothers, Yetter said.

"My mom was making socks for the men in the service," Lyon said.

The others listened to Lyon talk about her mother and shared similar stories ... the signature aspect of a gathering.

"There's never a dull moment," Bernadine Geesaman said.

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