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Handmade: Black Sheep Knitting Guild aids those in need

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

Thanks to local groups like the Black Sheep Knitting Guild, many needy individuals throughout Metro Detroit will feel the warmth of helping hands this winter season.

Founded in October of 2007, BSKG has donated knitted items to Veterans Hospital in Detroit, the South Oakland Shelter and a children's head start program in Royal Oak. This year's charity project is making hats for newborns at Providence Hospital in Southfield. Members currently have 156 to donate.

Left to right; Harriet Atlas, of Southfield, seated left, Donna Mrozek, of Southfield, standing left, Judith Davis, of Royal Oak, standing right, and Kate Pultz, of Royal Oak are seen, Tuesday Nov. 11, 2014, during their meeting of the Black Sheep Knitting Guild at the Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Birmingham. (Steve Perez/ The Detroit News)

Judith Davis of Royal Oak has served as BSKG's charity coordinator for the past seven years. "I collect donated yarn from our guild (members) and I organize it. I then find an organization that can use charity knitted items, like hats," says Davis, who also finds simple projects and puts together kits with patterns for members to take and make various items. She created a "Random Acts of Kindness" kit for making hats that the knitters give to someone they see in need of a hat.

Members meet the second Tuesday of the month at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2225 E. 14 Mile in Birmingham. A class on things like knitting with four needles is presented at each meeting.

Black Sheep Face Cloths.

"We're actually an educational-based guild," says Davis. "Our goal is to educate each other in the community (on needlearts), and create items of beauty for ourselves, those we love and those in need." Knitters, crocheters and "anyone who loves fiber" is invited to attend a meeting twice as a guest to see if it's something they'd like to join. "We even have people who spin their own wool," she adds. The nearly 100 members range in age from about 25-70. The initial annual membership fee is $45, and $15 thereafter.

In addition to charity knitting, members meet socially every Tuesday from 4:30-9:30 p.m. at Panera Bread on Maple and Coolidge in Troy, where they work on personal items. "Some come for an hour or two, some stay the entire time, and some come after work," says Davis.

Detroit News Staff Writer Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150 or For more craft news and giveaways, visit her blog at

Black Sheep Face Cloth

Level: Intermediate

Estimated time: 3-4 hours

Tools: knitting needles 1 or 2 sizes smaller than recommended on label to create dense fabric, scissors, yarn needle

Supplies: a medium-weight unmercerized cotton yarn.

Abbreviations: CO cast on, st(s) stitch(es), K knit, P purl, pm place marker, g st garter st, st st stockinette stitch, BO bind off, RS right side, WS wrong side


CO 40 sts

K 6 rows for a 3-ridge garter border at beginning. On sixth row, k3, pm, k34, place marker, k3

Next 6 rows, K st st, with 3 garter st at beginning and end of row (on outside of markers). Note: sts outside markers are always knitted, for a 3-st garter border up sides of cloth.

Begin following chart for 34 sts between markers

Chart is worked on both right and wrong sides

Odd rows (RS): white = K and gray = P

Even rows (WS): white = P and gray = K

After completing chart, K st st for six rows, followed by 6 rows of g st.

BO all sts and use yarn needle to weave in loose ends.

Contact the Black Sheep Knitting Guild at