Patty Pierce and Margaret Seligman noticed that knitting had become quite the rage again.
"We thought there might be interest in knitting at our church and we could perform some kind of ministry at the same time," says Patty.
So the two women got the word out at Zion United Lutheran Church in Brodheadsville, inviting those who knit and those who crochet, and for those who couldn't do either but had an interest in learning. They began meeting twice a month since November 2011.
"Sometimes we have eight or 10 ladies, sometimes more, sometimes less. And there are others who work from home," says Margaret from Stroudsburg.
Patty, an accomplished crocheter from Brodheadsville, had never knitted before and just completed a knitted intricate Hugs and Kisses block for a blanket the group is working on for Camp Noah, a nationally recognized program for children affected by natural and human-caused disasters, run by adult volunteers. It is a part of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and its mission is "to express the love of Christ for all people through service that inspires hope, changes lives and builds community." Any community in any state can sponsor a Camp Noah. The Zion Knit and Crochet Club blanket is earmarked for a Camp Noah that will be helping children that survived a gas explosion.
The Knit and Crochet Club make chemo caps, baby blankets for hospitals, preemie caps, prayer shawls and helmet liners for soldiers in Afghanistan. They also made Christmas ornaments for the church's Christmas tree this last December.
Twice they've combined knitting with Bible studies from Stitches in Scripture. One involved making knitted dish cloths, which taught them how to increase and decrease. The second one was knitting scarves, which taught them to knit and purl. The scarves were donated to the Christmas at Sea program of the Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) in New York. The SCI ministers to all those seafarers who serve aboard ships.
Joanne Rush of Saylorsburg says she never crocheted or knitted before joining the group.
"So here I am at age 69 learning how to do something new," she chuckles as she knits away on a baby blanket.
Diane Giffels of Lehighton has been crocheting since she was a teenager. She thinks crocheting goes faster than knitting "but knitting is more versatile."
"And you can knit and watch TV at the same time," adds Margaret.
Diane recently crocheted a Dignity Bag for a catheter out of Shop Rite plastic bags. It was difficult to do and took her about two months to finish but was glad she did it.
Pat Black of Brodheadsville has been knitting and crocheting a long time, but prefers knitting.
Amanda Heller of Saylorsburg says she learned to knit when she was in Girl Scouts, about 66 years ago, and has been knitting ever since.
"It's nice to be in a group if you're a beginner. There's always someone to help you," says Diane.
The ladies agree that it's a lot like quilting bees, a chance for ladies to get together socially while accomplishing a task.
"What I like about crocheting and now knitting, it forces me to sit, I'm learning something new, and we're helping others," says Patty.
"It has proved to lower your blood pressure," adds Margaret.
People from the church has been donating the yarn the ladies are using and their supply grew quickly. But they plan on using it all as they continue to meet and crochet and knit.
They extend an invitation to anyone who would like to join them.
"You do not have to be a member of Zion to join us. And if you've never knitted or crocheted but would like to learn, please come the second and fourth Tuesday of the month," says Margaret.
The group meets at 1 p.m. at the Zion Lutheran Church's social hall located on Rt. 209 in Brodheadsville.
They promise you'll feel a part of a close knit group one stitch at a time.