There is no telling how many mittens the Jersey Shore Knitting Guild has stitched up over the past 15 years, but there is no end in sight for the club that, since its inception, continually knits for the community.
On Sept. 5, the Jersey Shore Knitting Guild had its monthly meeting in the Ventnor Cultural Arts Center community room. The theme of the meeting, Smitten with Mittens, was meant to encourage participants to share ideas, patterns and completed items with the group. Members also were able to pick up kits and patterns for mittens to be completed by the November meeting. The resulting mittens will be donated to a local charity.
"We've been doing this for the past 15 years," said Liz Slater, of Ventnor. Slater is an active member of the guild, and she organizes the big knit-out - an event where members spend all day knitting - every March.
"We've really run the gamut as far as different charities and different things that we knit for them," Slater said, adding that the guild has made hats for cancer patients, scarves, hats and mittens for Hurricane Sandy victims, teddy bears for police officers to keep in their cars in case they encounter a child who needs comforting, and helmet liners for military personnel overseas.
"The helmet liners were a big deal because they had to be wool and special, there were guidelines that you had to follow, certain size, stitch and weight of the yarn," Slater said.
Those are just a few of the projects the guild has undertaken. Slater said the group tries to rotate different charities to serve and different projects to fulfill their needs. A steering committee of about five members will meet on their own time to brainstorm charities to benefit. Slater said she is usually the one who has the final say on the spotlighted organization.
Anita Lamey, of Somers Point, said she has been part of the knitting guild for at least 20 years. Lamey is a retired teacher - she taught at the Dawes Avenue School in Somers Point for 20 years.
Lamey said that last year's knit-out was for a mission in Atlantic City.
"Wherever there is a need, we try to do whatever we can to help," she said.
At the monthly club meeting, Lamey said, the guild tries to feature a speaker or a workshop that helps the members of guild grow as knitters.
One of those workshops featured a physical therapist who gave useful tips on how knitters should take care of their shoulders, backs and hands.
Slater recalls a workshop where the group learned to make cupcakes - knitted cupcakes, that is - which is the strangest thing Slater thinks she has probably ever stitched.
"We love to knit," Lamey said. "That's what it is. We love to promote knitting. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have knitting, really."
The Jersey Shore Knitting Guild meets the first Thursday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the community room at the Ventnor City Cultural Arts Center.
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