SHILLINGTON, PA – Joe Cates, a veteran who served in both the United States Army from 1956 – 1960 and the United States Navy from 1961 to 1964, shared his idea to create lap robes for veterans at the Lebanon V.A. Hospital with fellow members of the Mifflin Community Library Stitching group last spring. The Stitching group enthusiastically joined in knitting or crocheting half of the 75 plus colorful, warm, handmade lap robes, which will be delivered to the veteran’s hospital on November 6th.
“Many of his patterns are adapted from sweater or shawl designs, some patterns are his original,” says his wife Doris Cates. I am so proud of him. He is still giving back to his country, now helping his fellow vets in times of need.”
Joe took up knitting nine years ago when he was 70 years old. His first project was learning how to knit baby caps. The baby caps led to a sweater, then knit caps for patients receiving cancer treatments, adult caps, scarves and prayer shawls, and finally his first afghan at the age of 79. While at the Lebanon V.A. for his six month appointment he decided to go to the volunteer office. He walked in and said, “I knit and I am learning to crochet, what do you need?” They responded lap robes, any size, any shape, any color.
“We have been part of the Mifflin Community Library Stitching group for over three years now,” says Cates. Joe went first, and I was not sure the ladies would like having a guy in their presence. They welcomed him, and I followed soon after. Now when the ladies have trouble understanding a pattern they come to Joe and he can usually figure it out for them. He likes the challenge, and they appreciate the help,” she continues.
The Mifflin Community Library Stitching group is very active. There is no limit to their creativity. You can purchase some of their crafts at the library. Please stop by and see the current projects as it changes from season to season. New members are always welcomed, and the group always appreciates yarn donations, which can be dropped off at the library. The stitching group meets weekly on Mondays at 6:30 pm and on Wednesday afternoons at 1 pm.
For more information, please visit www.berks.lib.pa.us/mifflincl