Visit the Fiber Studio on the first Wednesday of the month, and you will meet a group of generous knitters eager to share their latest creations. The Fiber Arts and Churchmouse Charity Knitting Circle ranges in size from six to 18 at its monthly meetings. The group has been meeting once a month at the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas shop in Winslow for at least ten years.
In 2017, BARN volunteers offered time and space in the new Fiber Studio so that the Circle could enjoy an additional meeting on the first Wednesday of the month. Both the scope of projects and the community connections are extensive. For example, these knitters are donating tiny red hats for newborn babies as part of the American Heart Association’s program, and they also donate soft washable “chemo caps” to patients at Swedish. The artists knit a specific cap pattern that meets regulations for men and women on the Navy ships. Through other local connections, hats and scarves are delivered to homeless people in downtown Seattle. Bainbridge’s Helpline House regularly receives donations from the group, including baby surprise sweaters taught in a BARN class earlier this year. This fall the Charity Knitters also created 50 children’s hats and 35 fingerless gloves for Helpline families.
The generosity of the Bainbridge Island community makes these knitting creations possible. “We couldn’t do it without the customers,” said Sally Dunbar, a Churchmouse employee. In 2018, customers donated over 300 pounds of yarn, to receive credit at the store’s annual sale. Through the skills of the Charity Circle knitters, this donated yarn is transformed into warm hats, scarves, and even ponchos for the local community.
Helpline House has received a number of knit goods from the Fiber Arts and Churchmouse Charity Knitting Circle. Executive Director Maria Metzler described how the Helpline House staff “ooh and ahh at the intricate and beautiful patterns and designs. We are so happy to see them go to our clients because they are such a loved donation.”
Both Metzler and Dunbar used the word “amazing” to describe the group’s creations. The knitters had a more practical perspective: “They have a need, and we have busy hands, so it’s a good match,” said Charity Knitting member Hollis Spitz.