Group helps others one stitch at a time
By Danielle Sottosanti
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 06.21.2009
A crafty group is knitting, crocheting and quilting up a storm in Oro Valley.
Since forming in March, the group Holy Needles has grown from eight members to more than 40 and donated 222 handmade items for newborns at Northwest Medical Center's Women's Center.
"I really feel an extraordinary passion to this," said Donna Bishop, the group's coordinator. Bishop, a 53-year-old Marana resident, created Holy Needles, which grew out of the fellowship group she is in at Casas Church, 10801 N. La Cholla Blvd.
Holy Needles meets twice monthly at the Oro Valley church. Members work there and at home — knitting, crocheting and quilting the items they donate — all with an attached business card that reads: "Created with love by someone who cares about you."
In May, Holy Needles made its first donation to Northwest Medical Center's Women's Center, 1920 W. Rudasill Road, where its handiwork goes to needy families.
Twenty items out of the 222 the group donated are left, said Kim Chimene, the hospital's marketing director. Though the center also receives similar donations, there still is a need for them because of the large number of families that need items for newborns, she said.
To help gather yarn and other supplies, Bishop posted notices asking for donations on the online forum tucson.craigslist.org People from the church and the outside community have responded to the need.
Using those donations, the group is knitting, crocheting and sewing blankets, booties, hats and quilts for its next donation. It will probably be in September, Bishop said.
She anticipates that the donation will be larger than the first and go to several places because of Holy Needles' growth.
Holy Needles used to meet only on the third Monday of each month, but in May Bishop added another monthly meeting on the last Saturday of each month to accommodate people who work weekdays.
Group members are of all skill levels and are not just from the Northwest Side. Some participants don't go to the meetings but work on their crafts at home and donate them.
Holy Needles' most recent meeting was Monday, and it drew two new members — Northwest Side resident Mary Weaverling and North Sider Chelsea Taylor.
Weaverling, 57, learned to knit when she was in the fifth grade, but she took a hiatus from knitting and crocheting until she learned about Holy Needles through her church fellowship group.
"Knitting at home is fun. It's relaxing, but it's nice to be in a group to see what they're making and learn from them — different stitches and different ways of working with the yarn," she said.
Like Bishop, Weaverling is a member of Casas Church. To join Holy Needles, people must be members or be invited by members of the church, including Bishop. People who are interested in joining can e-mail her at holyneedles@ gmail.com.
Taylor, who went to her first Holy Needles meeting on Monday, is not a Casas Church member. She learned about the group through her job at Office Max, where she designed the group's business cards.
Taylor, 23, plans to attend any group meetings that don't conflict with work and is glad to have an outlet for her knitting.
"I just knit all the time — for someone, and I don't always have somebody to knit for. This sounded fun because it's a reason to knit," she said.
Contact reporter Danielle Sottosanti at 618-1922 or at email@example.com.
Members of Holy Needles work on some of their latest handmade wares to be donated. Those involved in the effort at Casas Church last Monday included Margie Beaver, front, and in the background from left, Donna Bishop, Darlene St. Clair and Pat Childers.
jim davis / arizona daily star
To learn more
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to holyneedles.blogspot.com for more information on Holy Needles, a group that makes and donates blankets, beanies, booties and items for newborns.