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90-year-olds knit, donate items

March 8, 2011

A group of Hickory women are Knit Wits, and they don't care who knows it.

The women, who are in their 90s, live at Pinecrest Retirement Community in Hickory, where they knit lap blankets, head coverings and baby caps to donate to area hospitals and other organizations.

"I feel like we're doing something for somebody that needs something special," said Romalda Aman, 95.

The Knit Wits started about six years ago with the women knitting baby caps for newborn babies in area hospitals. The women decided to knit bigger things and moved to lap quilts and larger caps for women undergoing cancer treatment.

"We'll have a project, and we'll get so many (knitted items) of each kind," said Margaret Fry, 90.

Yarn the Knit Wits use for their projects is donated, and they need all the donations they can get. They'll take any kind or color. All that matters is that they're able to continue knitting.

"It's a pleasure for us to do it," Fry said. "The joy isn't just for the people who get the items."

The women meet each Saturday to talk, laugh and, of course, knit. Other women not involved in the Knit Wits' projects often join the group just to enjoy each other's company.

"It's about the camaraderie," said 90-year-old Audrey Powell.

For the Knit Wits, knitting the baby-soft blankets and hats is one way to continue practicing a skill the women have known for decades.

"I don't remember not knowing (how to knit)," said Juanita Sigmon, 92.

After each hat or quilt is finished, the group stores them together until they have enough for a donation. The Knit Wits said they don't get attached to each item, no matter how long they work to complete it.

"We make the items with the intent to give them away," Sigmon said, "so we don't get attached."

The women recently donated 25 caps and 15 lap quilts for cancer patients and the elderly. Some of the Knit Wits' caps were donated to breast cancer patients in Catawba County.

Brenda Putnam, the county's Breast Cancer Coalition coordinator, said donations, like the ones from the Knit Wits, make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.

A woman sought help Tuesday from Catawba County's breast cancer resources. The county provides cancer patients with wigs, scarves, bras and head-coverings to help the women overcome their cancer diagnosis.

"She was just so down and out and concerned with her diagnosis," Putnam said.

After the woman was fitted with a head covering and other donated items, Putnam said she "walked out like a different person."

The Knit Wits estimated they've donated more than 100 items in their time together, and they hope to continue making more.

The Knit Wits request yarn donations be dropped off at Pinecrest, located in Hickory at 29th Avenue Northeast.

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