Monday, January 01, 2007

Crochet 100

Article in the Longview News Journal..

Only disreprancy is that the Project Linus isn't JUST for newborns.. but maybe Ms Whitehead's blankets are newborn sizes.

I've also posted the article in full here.. incase the link quits working. I'll leave it unless/until the powers that be request that it be removed.

Blankets travel from 100 to zero
Volunteer, 100, crochets for newborn babies


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Margurite Whitehead has been crocheting most of her life — which is longer than most people have been alive. She turned 100 in August.

"I learned to crochet when I was real young and there was nothing to do in the summer," said the centurion.

Now Whitehead, who lives in Buckner Assisted Living, is taking her hobby and helping others with it. She crochets blankets for Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides handmade blankets to seriously ill or traumatized children. The organization offers blankets to children from infants to 18-year-olds, but Whitehead specializes in making blankets for premature babies.

She heard about Project Linus in 2004 through her daughter, who went to a meeting about it at her church.

"I said, 'I want to do that,' " she said, "So she got the yarn and I started crocheting."

It usually takes Whitehead a week to finish a blanket, and Project Linus Chapter Coordinator Pat Vanderwater collects them a dozen at a time. The last time Vanderwater picked up a set was in November, which brought Whitehead's blanket count up to 149 since she began making them two and a half years ago.

"I don't think anybody has turned in as many as she has," Vanderwater said.

Vanderwater also told of one large blanket that Whitehead crocheted for Project Linus. Project Linus donates blankets to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, and this year Whitehead crocheted a full-size afghan for the fund.

"We like to send patriotic blankets and Mrs. Whitehead made a beautiful red, white and blue blanket for them," Vanderwater said.

It can take Whitehead a while to situate the yarn and position the needle, but she says she hasn't slowed down a stitch since she began making these blankets. She works on one every day and faithfully turns in her dozen every three months.

"It's a blessing that I can do this because my eyesight is getting bad," Whitehead said, "I can't read without a magnifying glass."

She also is blessed by hearing from the families her blankets have gone to.

"Every once in a while I'll get a letter and a picture of the baby, and I do appreciate it," she said.

Vanderwater is thrilled to have Whitehead as a volunteer, and said that people like Whitehead fulfill the second half of Project Linus's mission statement, which is to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity to interested individuals and communities.

"I visit her on and off all the time. We've become really close," Vanderwater said, "She's more than just a volunteer to me, she's a dear friend."

Whitehead has no plans to slow down now that she's made the century mark. She said she didn't know what her secret was for such a long life, but she did know that she would keep crocheting for the rest of it.

"As long as I live, I'll be crocheting," she said, "I'll probably be crocheting when I die."

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