Sue Hills never dreamed that the “Knot Group” she started several years ago at St. Veronica Parish, Milwaukee, would double in size and produce several hundred knitted and crocheted items for the parish and outside groups.

Members of the Knot Group from St. Veronica Parish work on projects during their weekly Wednesday session on Oct. 1. The handcrafted items will be donated to those in need. (Catholic Herald photos by Juan C. Medina)“Our parish used to have a ‘mission’ group which used to make items to donate and sell to raise money for various needed organizations,” said Hills. “I had always admired the dedication of this group. Through the years, the group got smaller and eventually disbanded. About four and a half years ago, I approached our pastor in regards to restarting a group like this. I knew how important prayer shawls were to people and mentioned about the good a group like this could do and there wouldn’t be any monetary cost to the parish.”

Most groups of this kind are started by those who like to work with their hands, meeting a few times with friends for socialization and encouragement in developing a hobby. But that wasn’t Hills’ reasoning.     

“Not having any real knitting or crochet skills myself, I’m not sure why I felt strongly about this venture, but do think it was ‘higher’ influence that made me pursue this,” she said. “I never dreamed this group would become what it is today. We started with about nine people and it has doubled in size. Ages range from about 35 to 80.”

According to Hills, people come from St. Augustine, Milwaukee; Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Francis; and Nativity of the Lord, Cudahy. Deloris, one of the older members who recently died, was from Nativity Parish. Hills noted that the 80 year old was involved up to the last year and used to crochet at home all day long.

“We welcome everyone, all ages, all levels of (knitting or crocheting) experience. We have people who have joined without any (handwork) background and have made many beautiful items because of the knowledgeable and patient people who gladly share their time,” said Hills.

Prayer shawls are still a big item for the group, which produced 42 last year.

“Our Fr. Mark Payne (St. Veronica pastor) does a blessing on the prayer shawls each year. The prayer shawls are

The Knot Group welcomes
donations of yarn. Contact the
St. Veronica parish office with
 questions about the group,
(414) 482-2920.
New members welcome.

then distributed as needed to people in the parish; extras are donated,” said Hills.

In addition to the prayer shawls, 32 lap robes were distributed to nursing homes, 12 sets of baby blankets and hats provided for the parish pro-life group, 41 sets of winter scarves and hats donated to the food pantry, and 100 plus preemie baby hats donated to Children’s Hospital. There were miscellaneous items made for other events such as a Packer wrap for St. Veronica’s Fall Festival and a large afghan for a cancer victim at Oak Creek Community Center.

Reggie Torcivia, a member of the group, was busily crocheting squares for a baby blanket in a doctor’s waiting room last July. Describing the group, she said she was “having withdrawal because the group doesn’t meet in July (or December, due to preparations for Christmas events). I love the group,” she told the Catholic Herald during that chance meeting in the waiting room.

During the meetings, Hills said the conversation steers away from controversial topics.

“As a rule we try to stay away from politics and discuss what is happening in our lives, or if someone can recommend a good plumber, roofer, landscaper, a recipe, etc.,” she said. “It’s amazing what we learn from each other and how dedicated these ladies are. Even with the most brutal weather last winter, we didn’t miss a Wednesday.”

“They are a very caring and generous group both with their time and talents. The group works on many projects and really puts heart and soul in doing the projects,” said Hills. “There’s lots of laughing and guffawing. We enjoy each other’s company but do get ‘out of hand’ sometimes.

“As a rule, we usually don’t have refreshments but occasionally someone will bring some baked goods.  There is, though, always plenty of laughter that is shared,” she said, adding, “I believe there are similar groups like ours at other parishes. However, I don’t know if any of those laugh as hard as we do.”