- Associated Press - Saturday, February 11, 2017

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Needles clicked and yarn spun Jan. 28 as a way to help victims of domestic violence.

More than 20 women, toting bags of yarn, came to Normal Public Library to spend the afternoon knitting and crocheting hats and scarves for the Scarves of Strength event.

“The items made today will be collected and given to domestic violence victims,” said library assistant Silvia Schuh. “We put this together because we wanted to figure out a way for the community to give to the community.”

Schuh said the hats and scarves will be donated to local hospitals and police departments to be distributed any time a woman is deemed a victim of domestic violence.

“Sometimes people don’t really know how to get things like this out to help the community so an event like this makes it easy to share,” said library assistant Lisa Knuffman.

Each piece will have an attached note that says, “Sister, you have been given a scarf of strength, a gift from strangers to let you know that you are not alone. Every stitch is bound with thoughts of you. To help give you strength in your time of need. Wear it with confidence that you are cherished.”

“There are only so many afghans you can make and give to family,” said Angela Traurig of Normal, as she crocheted a scarf. “This gives the hobby a better purpose.”

The group settled in a circle in the library cafe, enjoying soft music, snacks and each others’ company. The library supplied yarn and a stash of needles, but most women brought their own supplies.

Pam Ward of Bloomington joked that the event was a good way to use up some extra yarn for a good cause.

“It’s amazing that I can sit here with a string and a stick and manipulate it into something beautiful,” said Ward. “I think the women who receive these items would be happy to know someone sat down and took the time to make them a scarf or a hat.”

Combining a hobby and a charitable cause is a “no-brainer,” said Ashlee Finck of Minier, as she stitched together a pink scarf.

“Hopefully these items will make things better in any little way for victims. We want them to know, ‘You matter’ whenever they wear it. I hope it’s a little beam of hope,” said Finck.

Nancy Lyons of Normal invited a few friends to the knitting circle. She said yarn work is her form of therapy; a time to sit and think things over.

“Making someone a hand-knitted gift is something that takes quite a while to do. It’s good to invest time and energy in helping others,” said Lyons.

Mother and daughter Jannette Tillotson of Bloomington and Ashley Bennett of Lincoln joined the group as a way to relieve some stress and create some pieces.

“I know whoever receives this will be going through something rough. Hopefully it’s a reminder that there are people there to help and there is good even in the rough times,” said Bennett.

Event organizers say similar knitting groups will be hosted at the library for other causes and will be shared on the calendar at www.NormalPL.org.

The library also will collect knitted and crocheted items from those who couldn’t attend the event.

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Source: The (Bloomington) Pantagraph, https://bit.ly/2knONL9

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com

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