‘Knitted together” is more than a trite play on words when used to describe a group of mature women who devote with few exceptions every Monday morning to knit, make quilts, blankets and other advanced fabric-arts projects while sharing everything from recipes and food to heartfelt matters.
In a rural home in Rensselaer County, capital region seniors Norma Messer, Chloe Van Aiken, Pam Hassett, Pat Cunningham and Gail Benmosche are the “Material Girls” who weave deep friendships and transparently share the ups and downs of their lives.
“We schedule our appointments away from Monday mornings and we call this our ‘sacred space’ and our support group,” said Van Aiken. “When I was working, Sunday night always carried some anxiety with it because Monday morning was coming. Now, that has been reversed.”
The six also have lots of laughs from “needling” each other, but levity is only part of their story.
They are skilled.
The treasures they create are lasting ones for everyone from newborns to newlyweds.
The group had its origins in a quilting class at Log Cabin Fabrics in Selkirk where Cunningham is an instructor. When Van Aiken mentioned to Messer that she’d like to learn to knit, materials morphed into a fabric of fellowship.
In an age where hands are primarily dominated by smart phones and computers, these ladies use their fingers and their heads to produce some sophisticated gifts from intricate and nuanced patterns and planned strategies. They purposely discuss how to approach the challenges of these centuries-old craft projects.
However, the group is anything but goal-obsessed. Multi-tasking is one of the keys to their meetings because the threads of their discussion keep in time with the threads of their projects.
“While this is a closed group, it can inspire other people to create a group like this because this is in fact why you live,” Hassett said. “It’s about building relationships with other people who have common interests. Even if it isn’t knitting or quilting or whatever, you must find other people to support you through your life because life is unpredictable.”
And unpredictability is what’s on the agenda every Monday.
“You never know what the topic of conversation will be when you arrive,” Hassett said. “But no matter what it is there will be laughter and joking and heartfelt support for whatever stage of experience we might be going through at the very moment.”
As useful as technology can be, something like this could never be found on YouTube.
Listen to the ladies spin their yarns on The Age Sage podcast at the-age-sage.captivate.fm/episode/the-material-girls.
Robert J. LaCosta is possibly the longest-running continuous interviewer of seniors in the world. Listen to THE AGE SAGE for free on your smart phone or computer – great for the senior in high school or college or the senior in years. He has spoken to over 700 senior groups. You may reach him at 518-435-1250.