Sarah Tillery is careful to not schedule doctors appointments on Tuesdays.
Tuesday is her day to meet at Earth Fare and knit with her friends in the Hands of Comfort, an outreach of the Church of the Holy Comforter.
“It’s like my second family,” she said.
The knitting group was one of the first outreach ministries to grow outside of the walls of Holy Comforter, said Selly Goodwin, one of the organizers.
There are about 12 members who actively meet and about 15 who knit for the ministry, she said. They started meeting at the store when co-organizer Julie Kane offered to help a fellow knitter with her technique.
“I sent out an e-mail and I said, ‘Hey, (a friend) and I are going to Earth Fare. If anybody wants to join us, come,’” she said. “People came and we started knitting.”
They usually knit together for about two hours and then go out for lunch. Sessions are open to anyone. Goodwin said the topics for discussion are rarely centered on religion.
“We’re talking about patterns. We’re talking about who needs a shawl, who’s got one finished,” she said.
They mainly stick to knitting prayer shawls but also make lap blankets, pillows and other items that are designed to bring comfort to the recipient.
“We pray over each prayer shawl as it’s finished,” Goodwin said. “Often, we know who it’s going to. You can be specific about that person’s needs. Otherwise, it’s just a general prayer.”
They also make pocket prayer shawls, which are mini shawls attached to a prayer card. They’re quick to make and easy to give out, Goodwin said.
“You can tuck it in your pockets; you can keep it in the car. It’s more portable than the big ones,” she said. “We’ve given them to students, and how many have gone overseas to the military?”
Kane said finding khaki yarn to send was easy, but members of the group also went to the trouble of searching for red, white and blue yarn to make pocket prayer shawls to send to soldiers overseas.
Larger items are made for men and women. Kane said she sometimes knits pockets into shawls or blankets for remote controls or so men have a place to warm their hands.
“We wanted to make sure it was not a ministry just for women,” she said.
The shawls are not for sale, but the group does take donations to purchase yarn and supplies. They have collected so much in donations, much to the members’ surprise, that they are able to donate money to the Wounded Warrior Project every year. They also donate yarn to the youth correctional facility for women, Kane said.
The Rev. Cynthia Taylor said the group is awesome. She urged some of the members to knit when they were looking for a way to serve.
“This group is the backbone of Holy Comforter,” Taylor said.