About a dozen crafty women gather at Bill Heddles Recreation Center every Tuesday morning, a tradition that dates back to crochet classes that were offered 18 to 20 years ago.
One instructor moved, another took over but later passed away. Still the group continued to meet, with members ultimately deciding they needed neither leadership nor a formal organizational structure.
They call themselves the "Tuesday Needlers" and they invite anyone in the community to join them from 10 a.m. to noon. If you don't know how to knit or crochet, others are happy to help. If you're struggling with a pattern, chances are somebody knows how to do it properly. Interested in Swedish weaving? You'll find someone who knows that technique, as well as the full range of embroidery stitches. Around a large square table, afghans, scarves, socks, sweaters, headbands and more take shape.
"This is a roomful of extreme skill," says one participant. Those skills are not confined to needlecrafts, but also include quilting, stained glass and more.
The ladies take turns bringing treats; the recreation center provides the coffee and room to meet. A fee of $6 per quarter, per person, covers those expenses.
"It's amazing how much fun you can have in two hours," one woman comments.
Completed projects are admired during "show 'n' share." At the urging of Connie Barry, several of those projects were entered in the Delta County Fair. Barry picked up a first and third place, respectively, for a scarf and a pair of socks. Wendy Moder's afghan was awarded a blue ribbon. A knitted vest by Maria Botsford placed second.
In addition to supporting the county fair, they knit caps for newborn babies and the homeless, afghans for the Binky Patrol, and look for other ways their talents can fill community needs.
If you're interested in learning more, just stop by the recreation center Tuesday morning. Follow the click of needles and the hum of friendly conversation to the activities room.