Beverly resident Peggy Wilson started Knitters for Newborns at the Beverly Senior Center more than 10 years ago. Now retired, Wilson worked 40 years as a nurse in the maternity ward of Beverly Hospital, and had always knit caps during her working years.
“It’s very gratifying to know that we’re making something for a good purpose,” Wilson said. “We know we’re doing something for someone that they can enjoy.”
During the holiday season, the group makes caps with red and green yarn. For the rest of the year, it’s soft pastels.
Everything the group creates is made with donated yarn, dropped off by locals at the Beverly Senior Center. For hospice, the group makes “prayer squares,” a small textile for patients to hold, with a heart, cross or Star of David in the center.
The group fluctuates between 10 or 20 members on any given week, Wilson said. One member is blind, and “the most beautiful knitter you ever saw,” she said.
“It’s very social, very casual,” said Marie Lloyd of Beverly. “I like that there is a large range of people. ... It’s the camaraderie, really.”
Lloyd has crocheted since she was 8 years old, but is learning to knit from her friends at Knitters for Newborns.
“It’s not just people making stuff, we’re learning,” she said. “I learn so much (from the others), it’s incredible ... Everybody is welcome. It’s just a couple of hours to sit down and talk.”
Rita Geary knits on her own, at home, and brings her work into the Beverly Senior Center to add to the donations.
The items made for cancer patients are a personal endeavor for Geary, a cancer survivor herself.
“It makes you feel good, giving something back. And I have arthritis, so it keeps my hands moving,” she said. “It makes me feel good ... This is a good thing for me to do this.”