Crocheting for cheer

Cajun Needlers members Joanna Robinson and Kathryn Morin stacked more than 200 handmade stockings, blankets and caps on a table inside the Gonzales Senior Center.

The crocheted and knitted items will be delivered Dec. 2 to 175 children who have cancer and their siblings during a party hosted by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge.

The group, which serves a 10-parish area in the region including Ascension Parish, works to improve the lives of people living with cancer, the agency’s website states.

Each stocking will be stuffed with treats, said Cancer Services Children’s Program Coordinator Lindsay Wilson, who was on hand recently at the Senior Center to accept the mound of items.

Robinson, who has been with the Cajun Needlers for one year, has been knitting for only nine months.

“I know how to crochet and embroider, but I wanted to learn how to knit,” Robinson said. “My grandmother taught me how to do all that.”

Longtime knitter Doris Walker added her handmade items to the stack.

“It was a lot more fun doing these than unfolding them,” she said.

“It’s all worth it when these children get them,” Walker said.

After adding her items to the pile, Walker quickly sat and started working on her next project — a pineapple-style tablecloth.

“This is a wonderful, rewarding thing,” Walker said of her hobby. “I always have a basket by my chair and I just crochet, crochet and crochet.”

Across the room, Morin started to dig around in her bag filled with colorful yarn.

They began talking about yarn and thread sales and what color they each needed to finish their next pieces.

Newest member Claire Peychaud, who is being taught by Robinson, arrived and admired the work donated by the other members.

Wilson said the patients and children really appreciate the donated items, many of which were done in bright reds and greens.

Morin said the Cajun Needlers, who meet each Thursday at the Irma Boulevard center, work on the project year-round.

Not all of the items go to children, Walker said. Some of the lap blankets and caps are given to adult patients.

Wilson said cancer patients served by her agency “really appreciate these handmade caps, blankets and other items.”

As soon as the delivery was made, Morin, Walker and the others began working on items for next year’s donations to Cancer Services, Brave Heart and premature infants in area hospitals.