Every Friday about 20 women in their 70s, 80s and 90s get together and whip out their needles. Catharsis and camaraderie set in as the women sit in a large circle and begin to knit. These women form the group the, Knit Wits, which comprises Edgemere residents who knit baby caps for the premature, helmet liners for the troops, blankets and hats for the abused and teddy bears to calm children’s fears. Pat Londeree and Marianne Mead formed the group at their Preston Hollow retirement community five years ago when they started knitting sweaters for orphans and other charities across the world. Constantly seeking new people to knit for, the group started knitting hats for the homeless at The Stewpot, a Dallas resource center for homeless and at-risk individuals, which sparked their interest in turning their needles toward local causes. “Some of the women hadn’t knitted in 50 years and thought they couldn’t do it,” Londeree says. “That was the thing to do in college when we were young. We knitted argyle socks for our boyfriends,” she says with a chuckle. Their friends were surprised when they quickly picked up where they left off, knitting intricate scarves and hats for battered women and children seeking refuge at Dallas Genesis Women’s Shelter. In the corner of their brightly lit room, sizeable knitted teddy bears sit stacked on a table next to the women’s circle. The ladies knit the colorful bears with pants, scarves and shoes for “Teddies for Tragedies,” handing them over to local fire and police officials to provide comfort and alleviate the stress children feel in traumatic situations. “Knowing you’re doing something to help someone else, that’s important,” knitter Lou Coyle says. Currently the women are crafting stylish hats to be distributed through “Halos for Hope” to people who have lost their hair due to cancer. Mead says, “We share our expertise and we share our …” “… problems,” Londeree chimes in. “When you get older, it’s important to know what you’re doing is helping others,” knitter Ruth Daniel says. Some items, such as blankets, take months to prepare, while tiny baby caps can take just one evening. Another Knit Wit, Genie Stuart, says knitting also helps the women keep their limbs moving, which is good for arthritis. But all the women who sit or stand in the room share the same thought — knitting for others is, in turn, knitting for oneself.
Want to suggest a charity to the knit wits? Contact Pat Londeree at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214.739.8557.