At the Calvert Library, needlework creates a close-knit group

By Meghan Russell
The Calvert Recorder
Friday, January 7, 2011; 12:16 AM

The informal group began as six women who met to quilt. Over the next 15 years, the group gradually grew to include nine members and expanded its needlework to include knitting and crocheting.

Today, as it continues to grow, more than a dozen women meet at the Calvert Library every Friday afternoon as part of the On Pins and Needles group to swap creative tips and make new friends.

The group is open to anyone who enjoys needlework and a few good laughs, said Lynda Gallagher, one of the original members.

"It's fun, and you meet so many nice people. And sharing is always better than keeping it to yourself," said Faye Brookman of Huntingtown.

Brookman has been crocheting for about 40 years, she said. Although she no longer teaches classes at the Calvert Pines Senior Center, she enjoys teaching newbies who join the group, such as Prince Frederick's Catherine Goldman.

"I do cross-stitching and quilting, but I'm trying to learn to crochet, and I'm struggling here," Goldman said with a laugh Dec. 3, as she concentrated on weaving a small rectangle. "If it works, it might be a little scarf."

Brookman got a diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer in November but won't let that stop her from working on her craft, she said. Her knitted sweater won grand champion at the Calvert County Fair this year, and her quilt got the same honor the previous year.

"Breast cancer's not a death sentence anymore," Brookman said while knitting a beaded bag.

The inspiration she gains from women such as Brookman is one reason Joan Morgan of St. Leonard keeps going back.

"If it wasn't for this group meeting, I probably would not have met any of these women," Morgan said. The end of the craft table at which Morgan and neighbor Norma Hurt sat erupted with laughter throughout the meeting as they exchanged stories with other members.

"We all have different interests and yet all the same," Hurt said, as she worked on a quilt for her granddaughter that has been six years in the making. "It takes me back to the day when I used to play with paper dolls. But what do you do when you get old? This is what we do."

Dallas Bolen of Owings said she joined in October after a knitting group she formerly attended disbanded.

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