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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 25, 2010

Knitting together a community

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Huge garbage bags full of yarn come into Susan Kidder’s office in patches of mismatched colors and leave in neat, thoughtfully stitched rows.

Kidder, New Scotland’s senior outreach liaison, began collecting yarn before Christmas and distributed it to elderly women who wanted to make hats and scarves for people in an Albany homeless shelter.

“It’s so obvious that it’s hand knit and it’s made with love,” she said of the knitwear that people make compared to what can be bought in stores.  One woman knit a scarf of tight little stitches because she wanted it to block the wind from chilling the neck of person who lives on the street. 

Other women seek out new patterns to make stylish scarves for kids living in the shelter.  “They’re always thinking,” Kidder said of her woolworkers.

Kidder, too, has picked up her hook again.  “I haven’t crocheted since college in the ’60s,” she said.  Now, “I’m crocheting two scarves and a hat every week.”

She learned to crochet when she was 6 years old from her neighbor, 75-year-old Iva Singer.  “She was my very best friend,” Kidder said.  “To bring that back, I feel like my friend is sitting next to me.”

About 15 to 20 people are knitting for the homeless and for soldiers, she guessed, from yarn that is often donated in garbage bags.

“I’m a recycler from way back,” Kidder said, explaining that she was raised by people who learned to keep house during the Great Depression, so collecting idle yarn and putting it to use made perfect sense when Kris Carpenter suggested the project.

Yarn donation can be made at Town Hall, and those interested in knitting can get supplies, including patterns, from Kidder.

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