Head-warming work

Yarn, in its simplest form, is a rudimentary slew of twisted fiber.

Straighten out and sew those fibers together, however, and twine becomes strand. That thread is then stitched, crocheted and bound into a variety of items, including paper, rags, canvas — even clothes.

A Conover sewing group has embraced this concept and is taking it to the next level. The group proves that sometimes something as simple as sewn string can mean the world to someone in need.

Last November, Harriet Bolick and her friend, Linda Ward, traveled to The Corner Table soup kitchen in Newton to deliver new and gently used coats, sweaters, scarves and gloves that had been collected at their church, Mt. Zion Lutheran Church.

A group of adults and children had gathered out front on the cold November morning. They were waiting for lunch.

When Bolick and Ward pulled up to the kitchen, many of the adults helped the two Conover residents unload the items they had come to donate. Bolick was carrying a bag of 20 hats that she had crocheted to give away.
As she approached the door, a little boy with red cheeks and red ears came running up to her.

“I have something in my bag for you,” Bolick said to the little boy. She pulled out a new crocheted hat and handed it to the boy.

He pulled it on his head and smiled as he ran back to play with his friends.

After dropping off the other donations, Bolick went home. The woman couldn’t stop thinking about the boy with red cheeks and red ears, though, and began crocheting more hats.

About three weeks later, she returned to The Corner Table and donated 25 more hats for the hungry and homeless. This time when Bolick left, she was so inspired that she started a sewing group — the Mad Hatters — for the sole purpose of donating winter hats.

Since November 2010, the Mad Hatters of Mt. Zion Lutheran Church have donated 225 hats to The Corner Table and Hickory soup kitchens. Composed of seven women from the church, the hatters knit and crochet winter hats for the homeless and needy in the area.

Bolick, a retired school teacher, was once a single mother of three and understands how hard it is for some people to make a living.  

“Life isn’t easy always for everybody, and you have to make the best out of it,” Bolick said. “When I lay down at night, I am thankful for the warm place I have, but some people don’t have that.”

The Mad Hatters' donations are well appreciated, too.

Dianne Leatherman, director of The Corner Table in Newton, said warm hats are desperately needed during winter months.

“It has been absolutely wonderful, because as it’s getting cold weather they ask, ‘Do you have a toboggan?' And we have been able to get one of the toboggans that have been donated and give it to them,” Leatherman said. “We could not afford to purchase toboggans and gloves if people didn’t donate them.”

Leatherman said The Mad Hatters have donated more than 100 toboggans to The Corner Table.

Currently, The Corner Table is in need of blankets, and anyone interested in donating items can call 828-464-0355 or visit the kitchen in Newton at 122 N. Main Ave.

On Saturday, The Mad Hatters are selling hats, scarves, baked goods, chicken pies, homemade dolls and hot dogs at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to buy more yarn and sewing equipment for the Hatters.