SUN CITY CENTER – The old adage “busy hands are happy hands” certainly applies to the Kings Point Krafters. The club’s 30 members knit and crochet their way to social bliss, while making items to sell for charity.
Formed in 1975 the Krafters donate handmade lap robes and afghans to the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa and other items to the SCC Emergency Squad and Samaritan Services as auction items for fundraising events. In the past, donations also have gone to Metropolitan Ministries for the homeless and to area nursing homes.
Members knit or crochet things like baby sweaters, stocking caps, hot pads and dish cloths – and tissue box covers and door hangers using yarn and plastic canvas – which they sell to cover the cost of operations and raise money for annual cash donations of $1,500 apiece to Samaritan Services and the squad. There’s even one member who does her own thing by making costume jewelry.
“Everything we make is either sold or given away,” said June Crittenden, club president since 2004. “Supplies like needles and yarn are supplied at no cost to members, who make items and donate them back to the club.
“What we don’t sell at our annual Christmas Bazaar and Spring Sale are donated,” she continued, “and the money we raise covers our expenses and the annual cash donations we make.”
Krafters, who presently range in age from 70 to 90, spend time talking with each other and practicing a craft many learned long ago from their mothers or grandmothers.
“We have a lot of fun,” said Carolyn Hyde, the club’s secretary. She added that when members don’t feel like knitting or crocheting, they just talk.
“And there’s a lot of that,” Crittenden said.
Eileen Schipper taught herself to knit when she was 10. That was 73 years ago and she’s still knitting. “It’s relaxing and the finished product is always satisfying,” the former New Jersey resident said. “I have four sons and they always had sweaters, hats and gloves or mittens I made.”
Schipper has taught her skills to many in the club.
Self-described novice Joyce Andrews joined the Krafters five months ago and learned to knit from Schipper and other members.
“They made me feel at home right away and taught me everything,” she said. “I’ve already made some wonderful friendships.”
Some of the women work in their homes, while most join the club’s activities in the Kings Point Craft Room. About a half dozen snowbirds make things in their summer homes elsewhere, and then bring them back to Kings Point in the fall.
Nothing goes to waste, Hyde said. She uses any leftover yarn to make hats for Billy Graham Ministries.
“Anyone in Kings Point is welcome to join,” said Crittenden, noting Sun City Center has a number of its own crafting clubs. “We meet every Wednesday throughout the year from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. There are no dues and we supply the needles and yarn.”
For information on the Kings Point Krafters, call Crittenden at (813) 634-3519.