TOLEDO, Ohio — A local group of knitters and crocheters are using their talents to give back to the community.
"It's showing love to others and that's what being together is all about here too," Elena Perry said.
She's a member of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Toledo and part of the group Warm Hands to Warm Hearts.
"It was just before COVID and not knowing that COVID was going to happen, well, it's been a blessing because we had yarn donated and people started knitting and crocheting, and it's just been wonderful," Dorothy Yakumithis said. "Especially during COVID with everyone stuck in their homes."
Warm Hands to Warm Hearts helped its members feel connected, even during a time of isolation. Eventually they were able to physically get together.
Now they meet once a month, bringing in the squares they knit independently to sew together into quilts.
"We have our famous template, so as I'm working I kind of keep it with me and I can gauge when to stop," Perry said.
Twenty-five 9x7-inch squares makes one quilt and these women have made more than 100.
There so many stories to share about the individual women. Most of them have been knitting and crocheting for decades. Many of them are in their 90s and one woman's son flies in from Florida each month to take his mother to the meetings.
What do they love so much about knitting and crocheting?
"It's very relaxing and it's very good therapy," Yakumithis said.
Plus, there's the challenge of learning a new stitch or pattern and doing something productive.
"You have something to show for your time," Perry said. "If you're watching TV or you're on your phone. If you're in the car or if you're exercising on the exercise bike."
So what do they do with all these quilts? They certainly don't keep them for themselves.
Some have gone to church families. Recently, dozens were donated to Merit House Assisted Living in west Toledo.
A message is pinned to each of these quilts: "A comforting touch. A prayer you can feel and a gentle reminder of how much you are loved."
Perry said she enjoys making people feel happy.
"[You're] satisfied that you're doing something good for someone else who may not have someone who's able to do that for them or care for them," she said.
The group is always looking for donations of yarn and other supplies. You can drop them off at the church, located at 740 N. Superior St. in Toledo.