By Janet Stoica
It’s an art for sure! Knitting and crocheting might become a lost art, but not as long as the Dudley Needle Workers are fiercely working at their awesome craft.
The members of the Dudley Needle Workers meet twice weekly at the Dudley Senior Center, located in the municipal complex, every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Their members are from Oxford, Southbridge, Webster, and Dudley. These ladies are simply amazing.
Are there any younger crafters, gentlemen included, out there who are willing to join them in their benevolent projects?
The finished products (95%) are gifted to the local needy community. Their largest client is UMass Medical Center, where their crafted baby blankets, hats, and booties are given to newborns as per hospital staff suggestion. These remarkable ladies also donate their handiwork to the local Salvation Army, First Congregational Church, and Dudley Police Department’s Christmas Drive.
Carolyn Earp, the group’s spokeswoman, says “We need more volunteers! We need help and donations of yarn too. It’s very important. We used to have 20 members but now we’re down to 10. We need more needle workers to help us. It’s great camaraderie as we all enjoy the social aspect of knitting, crocheting, and knowing we’re helping people and are involved with benefitting them.”
Ms. Earp heard about the program through Dudley’s Mason Road School. She is also a retired Shepherd Hill High School business teacher.
The group is tight-knit and all for charity. They’ve received awards from the Mass. Association of School Commissioners, Dudley-Charlton Regional School Commission, and the Webster-Dudley Veterans’ Council.
Carolyn Earp has been with the group for 19 years and Christine White, their inventory specialist, has been a member for nine years. Obviously, these wonderful ladies know what they’re doing and are only too willing to assist those in need.
They’ve taken part in reading activities for the local schoolchildren in grades kindergarten and first grade while also providing them with knitted hats after story time has ended.
The Veterans’ Council and local nursing homes - Brookside, Webster Manor, and Lanessa - have also benefitted from their donations of lap robes, hats, and scarves.
Annually, the Dudley Lions Club gives the group a list of children whose parents will receive a holiday gift basket and the ladies will knit a hat, scarf, and mittens for each child. How awesome is that?
“We’re knitting and crocheting with a purpose,” says Ms. Earp, “but as a group, we really care for one another. If someone doesn’t show up, we’ll try to learn if they’re okay. Another amazing member we have is Brenda Lund. If we have any questions about patterns, Brenda is our ‘go-to’ person. She’s a quiet lady but has lots of knitting/crocheting knowledge.
“Christine White can knit novelty hats, which the kids love, and we don’t know what we’d do without her! Theresa Farland sews our hats and mittens together, it’s wonderful. We have so much camaraderie, enjoy crafting, and know we’re helping people.”
For more information, please contact Carolyn Earp at 508-943-0890.