Every Wednesday afternoon, a corner in the Vermillion Public Library fills up with bubbly conversation and knitting needles.
The Vermillion Knitting Club is not a club for old ladies who find solace in peace and quiet; these women are vibrant and colorful, just like their fabrics and yarns.
“It’s more of a social club than anything,” member Sue Muller said.
Each member of the club brings their tools and projects to chat about life and its highs and lows – a type of “support group,” as Muller calls it. Though the name is deceiving, the Knitting Club welcomes all forms of fabric craft, from quilting to basket-weaving.
Dawn Newbre, a new member, said the Knitting Club has no rules or regulations other than for the members to enjoy themselves.
“If you don’t laugh there is something wrong with you,” Newbre said.
Diversity and adversity are celebrated in the Knitting Club, whether it comes to a sewing issue or life complications.
Betsy Simons is a long-time member who enjoys crafts like knitting, appliques and basket-weaving. Whether it be sewing issues or life complications, the Knitting Club usually has an answer, she said.
“There is always someone to ask about advice on a stitch to use or fabric questions. Or even what electrician to call,” Simons said.
Attendance is never required at the club and the women embrace its flexibility.
Diane Leja is a dedicated member of the Knitting Club and has been knitting since she was in high school.
“Every week is different with who shows up. It’s very fluid and that’s the beauty with our little club,” Leja said.
All the women have created friendships as tight as the stitches they make in their projects, Simons said.
“We always keep track of each other if someone isn’t here or if they’re sick,” Simons said.
Age doesn’t matter when it comes to crafting and conversation, member Carol Schoppe said. All ages are welcome to join the cordial environment.
“Most of the members are retired but we’ve had girls that are in high school and college come as well,” Schoppe said.
Projects range from personally knitted socks to baby hats and burp cloths, which are donated to newborn babies in the local hospital.
“It’s good to do things to give back and be charitable in the community,” Leja said.
During the holidays as the weather cools down, the crafting heats up, Simons said. Come Christmastime, the table in the library is full.
The women recently created a Christmas-themed wool applique – a piece containing scraps of fabric cut into shapes and sewn onto a larger piece of fabric.
“It was really interesting to see the individuality of each person’s addition to the project,” Simons said.
The women not only enjoy their weekly meetings but participate in classes led by their own members. Classes have included knitting, quilting, applique designing and basket-weaving.
Community members and students – whether new to knitting or experts – are encouraged to join the Knitting Club, which meets in the Vermillion Public Library every Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. Schoppe said the openness of the club is its most important element.
“Just come in. Everyone is welcome,” Schoppe said.