BEAVERCREEK — One knitting group that was formed in the Beavercreek Senior Citizen Center is making an impression not only at the senior center, but also in the community.
A group that started out as five women, is now a group of 20-25. The group is called Knit Wits.
Beavercreek resident, Sarah Haller, was approached by a friend, Roberta Shiverdecker, and volunteer at the senior center about her knitting abilities. Her friend asked if she would be interested in teaching a knitting class to some of the women.
“I was excited to get started,” Haller said. “That was 11 years ago. A lot has happened throughout the years, but this class really means a lot to me. These women are amazing.”
In the beginning, the 4-6 week class was designed to only teach the basic skills. Since then, the women have learned to knit purses, blankets, sweaters, hats, scarves and much more.
“If you can master the pearl and follow directions, a person can make about anything they set their minds to,” Haller said.
Last spring, the group almost came to a halt after Haller and her husband were involved in a very serious automobile collision in Indiana. They were on their way to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary when a man running from the police raced his vehicle over 100 miles per hour, lost control and went airborne across the median, impacting side of the Haller’s vehicle on the driver’s side. The man running from the police, died on impact. The Haller’s were rushed to an Indiana hospital, both with serious injuries, more so for Sarah Haller.
“We celebrated more than our anniversary in the hospital. We celebrated our lives,” Haller said. “I remained in St. Vincent Hospital in Indiana for a month.”
After returning home, Haller spent months recovering from her serious injuries and has recently been able to graduate from a walker to a cane to assist with her walking. But, she traveled a long and painful road to get to this point. To help maintain her emotions, she continued with her knitting projects. Her group visited and provided support. Because of being bed bound, she completed a lot of knitting projects.
“I used to volunteer a lot, but had to give a lot up,” Haller said. “But, I couldn’t give up Knit Wits. These ladies are so excited and surprised and thrilled by what they could knit. They were having great grandchildren and wanted to knit something for them such as blankets, sweaters and stuff.”
One of the most inspirational seniors to Haller was Sandy Clark who had recently suffered head trauma. Clark wasn’t supposed to have been able to walk or talk again. But, now, she rides her bike to the senior center approximately 18 miles before coming to class. She’s now in her 70s.
Clark had been a champion card player in her time. She no longer has an interest in playing cards. She just wants to knit.
In the beginning, some women had knitted before, but it had been so long they’d forgotten. Some didn’t know how to knit at all, and some already knew. Haller started the group off slow with learning how to knit a dishcloth. Then a scarf. Then a sweater. At the beginning of each new class, the group develops a philanthropic project. Last year the group made hats and matching scarves for the Dayton VA Alzheimer’s Unit.
“It was very heartwarming,” Haller said. “They really loved them.”
“Because of this class, I’ve started knitting more, Haller said. “Before, I’d just knit to give as a gift to someone. But now, it’s like I knit a lot. I’ve also learned a lot because the ladies would want to make something that I didn’t really know how to do it. So, I had to learn myself before teaching them. So, I’d get some yarn and learn it.”
For the past two years, the Knit Wits donated 75 preemie baby hats to Soin Medical Center for the maternity unit. They make hats for all sexes, even sport themed specialty baby hats. Last year, they helped the Xenia Women’s Shelter by knitting hats and scarves for women and children.
The Knit Wits are always looking for new and exciting projects, but have not been asked by anyone else at this time. They will continue working on their own personal projects and making the preemie hats for the babies at Soin Medical Center.
The Knit Wits meet at the Lofino Beavercreek Senior Center 2-3:30 p.m. every Thursda. The group is for men and women 55 years or older. For more information contact the senior center at 937-426-6166.