Beanies for babies

Community Baby Shower coming up

June Fraley, a resident of Snowberry Heights, is one of many local women who are donating handmade items to this Friday's Community Baby Shower at Northiron Church in Ishpeming. The Snowberry Heights Knitters, based in Marquette, are involved in this endeavor. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — What Upper Peninsula parent wouldn’t want soft, hand-knit beanies for their infants or toddlers?

Keeping area youngsters swaddled in blankets and dressed for the weather was the purpose of a Friday get-together of the Snowberry Heights Knitters.

The group met in the community room at Snowberry Heights, an apartment community, located at 222 S. Fifth St. in Marquette, for people age 62 and up, handicapped or disabled.

The room was more colorful than usual that day with piles of hats, blankets and other knit or crocheted items set aside for the community.

The items — which come with tags saying they were made by a Snowberry Heights knitter — specifically were targeted for the Community Baby Shower scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Northiron Church, located at 910 Palms Ave. in Ishpeming, with registration at 12:30 p.m..

Julie Shaw, director of Aging Services and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program based in Negaunee Township, said the event is for new parents — those who have babies 6 months or under or who have not had their babies yet.

“All they have to do is call us and register,” Shaw said.

To register for the Community Baby Shower, call Shaw at 906-315-2607.

The event, which is a collaboration of many local agencies within the community, can accommodate up to 75 participants, said Shaw, who noted that although seniors make many items, grants also are sought to provide bigger items like cribs, she said.

There won’t be any hand-me-downs given away at the shower, not that used clothing doesn’t have a purpose.

“It’s all new items that have been made,” knitter Mary Ann Theis said.

The Snowberry Heights Knitters will present 118 knitted or crocheted baby items for the baby shower.

Community members donate yarn to the group, although some knitters use their own yarn. Coreen Compton of Ishpeming and Connie Scanlon of Negaunee supplied the group with a large supply of yarn this year, Theis said.

This is the fourth year the Knitters have made community gifts for a wide range of needs. This year they selected selected the following organizations, in addition to the baby shower, to be recipients: Marquette Area Alternative High School, UP Health System-Marquette’s birthing unit, the Marquette Women’s Center, the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, the St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Care Clinic and Sandy Knoll Elementary School, which will receive 2018 Valentine’s Day mittens.

Doing things with yarn, of course, is the main focus of the Snowberry Heights Knitters, but there’s also the willingness to be useful in society.

“We’re trying to make this community connection that seniors are still wanting to contribute to their community, and there are lots of ways they can do it,” Theis said.

People donate materials to the group, she said, so members recycle things and make items like “granny squares.”

For non-knitters, a granny square is defined as a piece of square fabric produced in crochet by working in rounds from the center outward.

A group of teens probably won’t spend time making granny squares for the betterment of the community, but the Snowberry Heights Knitters are different.

“I think this is an age group of people who lived through the Depression, World War II, and they know what it’s like to receive, and now they want to give back,” said Theis, who wants to get more young people involved in the activity.

June Fraley, who lives at Snowberry Heights, stressed she’s not a knitter.

“I love to crochet,” Fraley said. “It gives you something to do.”

However, Fraley still is donating her homemade items to the baby shower. It’s also not the first time she’s helped the community with her talents, having donated 11 shawls to Marquette’s Norlite Nursing Center in 2016.

To further spread the word about the yarn arts, the Lake Superior Fiber Artists will showcase their work in May in the first-floor display case of the Peter White Public Library.

The organization is composed of four groups: the Marquette County Quilters Association, which meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month in the PWPL Community Room; the U.P. North Knitting Guild, which meets from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. the third Thursday of the month, except for July and August, at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center, located in the lower level of the PWPL; the Yarnwinders Fiber Guild, which convenes at 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of the month, except July, August and December, at the MACC; and the Timely Stitchers, who meet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the third Saturday of each month at First Baptist Church, 728 W. Kaye Ave., in Marquette.

One section of the showcase will be devoted to collectible items related to various forms of needlework.

For more information about the show, visit www.pwpl.info or call 906-226-4318.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.