PLAISTOW — A small group of women knitted nearly 300 hats, mittens and blankets this year — and donated all of it to charity.
The Plaistow Charity Knitting Group has been meeting every Thursday for the past year in Knit Pickings yarn shop's back room to talk and knit with friends. They knit sweaters and mittens for underprivileged children, caps for chemotherapy patients losing their hair, and blankets for homeless people at local shelters.
The group began with five people and has grown to 16 members, including a devoted group of eight who show up each week. All the members are women.
Carol Latta of East Hampstead has been a member since the beginning. She said they originally started by knitting helmet liners for U.S. soldiers through the Citizen Sam Project.
"The military was supplying liners made out of acrylic, which can burn very easily," Latta said. "So, charity knitters started knitting them out of wool, which is very warm, but also doesn't have the fire hazard acrylics do. The military now has their own wool liners so the charity organizations have been requested not to supply any more."
The knitters have since branched out into all different charities, bringing in issues they care about individually. Susan Hancox of Atkinson said the group just started working with Emmaus Inc., the nonprofit organization that provides housing for the homeless in Haverhill.
"We went and toured a number of the Emmaus buildings and they told us about all the programs," Hancox said. "They need everything: blankets, hats, socks, clothes for babies and people in shelters for the night."
The group also works with the Elliot Project, which sells handmade goods to raise money for research on childhood leukemia; Project Linus, which provides blankets for kids in need; Holy Family Hospital Cancer Management Center; and more.