Knitting Club Warms Hands and Hearts at Homeless Shelter

As clubs go, it’s a small one, but its work has made a big difference in the lives of people dealing with Santa Fe’s winter up close.

Formed this fall by Department of Cultural Affairs staffers who simply enjoy knitting for themselves and their families, the members of the DCA Knitting Club had two aims: to share a dose of the social graces with one another while knitting, and to direct their efforts to people in need.

On Feb. 1, as weather reports warned of a coming cold snap, the first result of their bounty was delivered to St. Elizabeth’s Shelter — a pile of beautiful and colorful scarves, caps and mittens.

The knitters were: Susie Hart (pictured at left),  from the Historic Preservation Division; Kimberly Mann, formerly of the Van of Enchantment; Jamie Brytowski, of the Van of Enchantment; Diane Bird, from the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture; and Frances Levine, from the New Mexico History Museum. (Bird and Levine are pictured below.)

Levine and Hart said the original intent was to gather regularly and knit together, but busy schedules made that impossible. Still, they built friendships through e-mails, phone calls and shared knitting patterns. Among those patterns were ones that Mann’s grandmother had used to knit for soldiers during World War II.

“What we took over to the shelter represents the power of our collective energy,” Levine said. “This was something bigger than what any of us could do on our own and it made difference to the residents and clients. It showed us we can still be a force for change, a force for good. It was also good for each of us to see that side of one another, that compassionate side.”

The group hasn’t decided what project to take up next, but does plan to keep knitting for others. If you’re interested in joining, give one of the members a call. Everyone’s welcome, from beginners to experts, men, women and children.