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They each came bearing beautifully handmade items for show-and-tell, a new skein of yarn from their stash to trade, and a boatload of enthusiasm. This group of 16 knitters and crocheters, who traveled from near and far throughout parts of Michigan, had won a chance to attend the second Detroit News Stitch-Together, held last Wednesday in our downtown office on Fort.

Once again, I had the pleasure of hosting the 21/2 hour afternoon of stitching, sharing ideas, showcasing finished projects, one-on-one demonstrations, connecting with other fiber enthusiasts, sipping apple cider, munching on donuts, and more. The group represented a total of 625 years of knitting and crocheting, with experience ranging anywhere from 3-71 years each.

Knitters and crocheters interested in a chance to be part of the Stitch-Together had submitted an online entry form and several photographs of their finished projects. After the difficult task of narrowing the entries down, I sent a letter of congratulations out to: Audrey Johnson-Chatman (Detroit), Cristine Kesler (Trenton), Daisy Bachik (Southfield) and daughter Janet Buckingham (Lake Orion), Ginger McMillan (Coldwater), Jan Jackson (Flat Rock), Jan Synk (Sterling Heights), Jane Page (Royal Oak), Jane Reiter (Lansing), Karen Hanosh, (Clinton Township), Laura Stern, (Farmington Hills), Maribeth Regnier (Brighton), Mary Wasser (Warren), Mary Weeks (Shelby Township), Paula Betts (Wixom), and Rose Varesi (Webberville).

The room was filled with much anticipation with each guest knowing she could become the lucky winner of a colorful basket, or “Fun Again Tote,” that sat nearby stuffed with yarn, needleart supplies, and a hefty knitting book. The door prize, with a retail value of $383.69, had been generously donated by Michigan Fine Yarns (37519 Ann Arbor) in Livonia.

Participant Jane Reiter, artist, teacher and owner of Retread Art (retreadart.blogspot.com), surprised everyone, including yours truly, with a kit that included copies of three of her original patterns designed around repurposing old videotapes by knitting and crocheting them held together with yarn. The kit also included a video tape and a color photograph of each of the three finished projects – “Drawstring VHS Knit Bag,” “VHS Tape Crochet Bag,” and “Repurposed Silk Crochet Bag.”

Knitter Maribeth Regnier put together a breathtaking display of 12 of her high-fashion Barbies, dressed to the nines in exquisite knitted attire she created using needles the size of a toothpick! The teeny-tiny stitches, detectable only upon close examination, were perfectly knitted to scale for the 11.5-inch collectible dolls.

Other show-and-tell items included intricate lace shawls, a funky knitted hat covered with tendrils in a variegated yarn, and crocheted totes made with recycled plastic grocery bags. Laura Stern arrived wearing her gorgeous jewel-toned entrelac wrap, and Daisy Bachik, “a grandmother who’s been knitting 71 years” (as described by her daughter), proudly modeled a loose-fitting A-line dress she’d knitted.

Upon arriving, each participant had received two ticket stubs with either a knitting or crocheting term printed on it for the door prize drawing. Homestyle editor Jodi Noding did the honors of pulling the winning term, “Cast On,” held by Paula Betts, who jumped for joy the moment she realized she was the winner. She says, “Now that I have the bag in my possession, I have decided that I will knit scarves, mittens, and hats for children in need.” How thoughtful!

As the Stitch-Together came to an end, Laura Stern came to me and said, “Jocelynn, when you go home tonight, I want you to sleep well, knowing what a successful event you orchestrated.” What a kind warm thought to leave behind!

(In case you missed my recent front page story on Lincoln Park resident Tonya Gore, who, despite being born blind, is an accomplished fiber artist, see detroitnews.com/homestyle.)

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150 or jbrown@detroitnews.com.

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