Jersey Shore Knitting Guild regroups after 2-year hiatus

The Jersey Shore Knitting Guild has reformed and welcomes new members.

By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY

VENTNOR — The quiet click of knitting needles filled the meeting room on the second floor of the Ventnor Library on Wednesday afternoon, as the Jersey Shore Knitting Guild held its third meeting after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We used to meet monthly at the Senior Center, but we couldn’t meet there anymore,” said “by default” president Leslie Elero. “The library gave us this room and we love it. We contacted our long-time members who wanted to return and we have several new members here today.

More than 20 of the 46 guild members, some newbies, sat down as a group, sharing their current “show and tell” style projects, and some offered ideas for future philanthropic projects they are ready to organize.

The guild supports the teaching and preservation of the art of knitting and other needlecraft, but it is their philanthropic projects that keep locals warm during the winter months.

The guild had a table set where members placed their completed charity projects, including hats, gloves, scarves, and baby blankets.

“We’re making hats and gloves to take to schools in Atlantic City on November 15,” Elero said. “We do a charity project every two months and will soon decide on our next project. We like to keep it local.

The group recently dropped off four boxes of knitted washcloths and toiletries at the Atlantic City Women’s Shelter, she said.

Member Penny Kline, who was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting, encourages the group to consider making items to send to those suffering from the war in Ukraine. Cape May’s Enchanted Fibers store is collecting items to send to the beleaguered country to help keep families warm this winter.

One of the women, who recently received a box of yarn and knitting supplies from a loved one that included pre-made pink and white block squares, turned them into a baby blanket. Former guild president Liz Slater showed off a little blanket she had made and embellished with feather embroidery stitches.

Ventnor resident Fran Baronowitz showed off the bright red necklace she was knitting to attach to a jumper she will give to her granddaughter for her birthday later this month. Her granddaughter is a huge Harry Styles fan, and the sweater will replicate the colorful sweater Styles wore in a photo.

Another woman brought embroidery to work on during the meeting. She creates art in multiple mediums and has told her counterparts that one of her paintings was accepted into a juried art exhibition in Ocean City – one of only 15 works of art accepted from more than 150 submissions. Because she has macular degeneration, the woman said knitting is now her best medium because it’s more tactile.

Another guild member said that after a few years caring for aging parents who have since passed away, her involvement in knitting with students at Belhaven School in Linwood has rekindled her interest in knitting for fun.

Beverly Constant-Bromley of Atlantic City proudly showed off her skillfully knit shawl, which drew oohs and aahs from the group.

A few new guild members came from the western part of Atlantic County to knit with their new friends.

Mary Galloway Dovey, a retired teacher from Egg Harbor City who was attending her third guild meeting, said she had just finished teaching a knitting class at her church and had brought the one of his recent graduates at the meeting.

“The best way to get better at knitting is to knit with other people,” Dovey said, noting that youngsters learned knitting techniques easily.

She suggested knitting hats, gloves and scarves for the Mariners Church Institute, which provides knitted items to keep sailors warm when they go to sea during the winter months. The institute publishes a knitting guide for making scarves and beanies to custom specifications to best protect sailors.

Another woman said she moved to Mays Landing six years ago and was looking for a knitting company.

“I’m so happy to find this guild and make new friends,” she said.

She shared her current project, a “knitting mystery,” but she won’t know what it will look like until it’s finished. She follows an instruction booklet published by a knitting designer Steven West.

Guild member Eileen Risler said that since the group’s reformation, about 20-25 people attend each month.

“We knit, crochet, stitch and sew. We help each other with problems and have taught many new members to do these trades,” she said.

The guild meets from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. For more information, call Eileen Risler at 609-823-0953.

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