Dorothy Fischer, a member of First Christian Reformed Church in Sarnia, Ont., had always enjoyed using her creativity and talent in a variety of crafts. When her failing eyesight made that impossible, she found a new way to keep her hands and mind engaged in making something beautiful.
Dorothy lives with macular degeneration and is now legally blind. She uses her fingers to crochet bright, colourful circles, working on them sometimes two or more hours each day. She had created quite a few when her friend and fellow church member Diane Plug began to wonder how the bright circles could be used. Plug took the question to Nina VanderVaart, who was connected to a ministry in their church called the Willing Hands Yarn Club.
VanderVaart invited both Plug and Fischer to attend the yarn club. There, member Ena Welch saw the potential in the crocheted circles. Fischer’s circles are now the bright centers of granny squares that make up blankets.
The yarn club began about five years ago, said Plug. Twenty women from the church and community come to First CRC on alternating Wednesdays. They use mostly donated yarn to make hats, mittens, sweaters, blankets, and other items for local and international causes.
Some projects include hats for newborns in the hospital; hats, mittens, and scarves for children in families with low incomes; and most recently, twiddle muffs for seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. “An interest in using yarn . . . got the group together,” said Plug. “It has become an avenue for learning new crafts as well as networking with other churches who have similar groups.”
Welch and Fischer have made three blankets so far. Two are waiting to be shipped to ministries in Cuba, Guatemala, or the Ukraine, while the third is for Fischer to keep. Plug noted, “It is to remind her in her ever increasing dark world that there is a loving God and a loving church family that journeys with her.”