More than 500 hats/scarves will be donated in time for the 2018 Special Olympics Maine State Winter Games

Thomaston knitters work to keep Maine Special Olympics athletes warm and snazzy

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:45pm

THOMASTON—There are ladies who lunch and then there are ladies who knit.  Likely the conversation and camaraderie are the same, but the half dozen women who form “Knit Happens,” an informal knitting group who meet once a week at the Thomaston Public Library, are doing their part to make Maine stand out for the 2018 Special Olympics Maine State Winter Games at Sugarloaf Mountain January 28-30.

For the last two years, Trish Smith and Ellen Schooley have gathered in the library, opening up their group to fellow knitters have met at the library, starting in the summer, knitting together once a week, all throughout the fall, in order to have a certain amount of hats and scarves ready to ship to Maine Special Olympics athletes before the games. Knit Happens is one of many informal knitting groups and individuals across Maine doing the same thing, so that 500 to 800 of Maine’s athletes will be wearing the signature colors of black, purple and charcoal colors with pride.

Katheryn Wilde, a volunteer for the project in Buxton, said that once the announcement went out on Facebook, the idea spread far and wide, nationally with the farthest donation coming from Honolulu.

“We have a lot of Mainers in Florida and Arizona, knitting stuff at home and sending it to us to represent Maine,” she said. “I think it’s the coolest thing in the world.”

Using color combinations specified by the Maine Special Olympics Maine, the ladies buy all of their own yarn and spend their time turning it into stylish hats, scarf and mittens.

But, the group isn’t all about work. “We chat about politics, religion, books, dogs and community—all the things you’d expect,” Alice Dashiell, said laughing.

“And anyone can join us,” said Smith. “We’re here to teach anyone who wants to learn some skills. You can even make a project with these colors from home and bring it in.”

Beyond the project, Knit Happens works all year long to provide items to other community organizations. The knitters are beginning to knit warm hats, scarves, and mittens to donate to Thomaston residents of all ages who are in need through the Thomaston Inter‑Church Fellowship Food Pantry has graciously agreed to distribute the items. In addition the library will add the knitted items to the donations collected at the library's monthly CommuniTea.

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