June 25, 2018
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New guild offers free knowledge in knitting, crocheting and other textile arts

By Ardeana Hamlin, BDN Staff

Joyce O’Rourke, Jody Wheeler and Lourdes Tutaine-Garcia, who live in the Prospect, Sandy Point and Stockton Springs area, have a strong appreciation for handcrafted textiles. O’Rourke knits, crochets and quilts. Wheeler has a degree in textile design, spins and weaves. Tutaine-Garcia spins and dyes. The three women, all in their 50s, want to share what they know about the fiber arts with younger women who want to acquire that knowledge. To that end they recently organized the Penobscot Bay Handspinner’s Guild.

“We feel knowledge is meant to be shared, and we want it to be free,” O’Rourke said. “Young people don’t know how to knit or make their own clothes. We can show them. It’s important for women to get together to be creative.”

O’Rourke met Wheeler at a restaurant in Verona.

“I was having breakfast and knitting,” O’Rourke said. Wheeler introduced herself and the two have been friends ever since.

“I met Lourdes’ husband at a hunters breakfast, and he gave my phone number to Lourdes and she called me. That’s how we met. Lourdes is new to the community,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke learned to knit in 2010, but has crocheted for many years.

“When I started quilting, I realized that most quilters also knit. I can take my knitting anywhere.” She also plans to learn how to weave.

O’Rourke already is passing some of her knitting and crocheting knowledge on to a younger generation. She leads the Prayer Shawl Ministry at the Congregational Church of Sandy Point.

“I’m so thrilled the young girls want to be with us older women. It’s the key to the success of the group.” She started the the Prayer Shawl Ministry in August and so far three young women have joined. “It’s for anyone, and the shawls are for anyone who is going through hard times. If you need a shawl or blanket, we have them. All you have to do is ask.”

The purpose of the handspinner’s guild, O’Rourke said, is to give women the opportunity to explore the crafts of knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving and dyeing, to let them figure out which crafts they want to learn. She, Wheeler and Tutaine-Garcia will give instruction. Knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn, spinning wheels and a table loom will be available for group attendees to try. Quilting may be included if someone is interested in knowing more about it, she said.

“They can attend the group — it’s free — and they can get knowledge for free there,” O’Rourke said. Other places to acquire free knowledge about the handcrafting textiles, she said, is at the New England Textile Arts weekend in Freeport each year and at the Page Farm and Home Museum at the University of Maine.

The group meets 7-9 p.m. the second Tuesday and the fourth Saturday of each month at the Congregational Church of Sandy Point, 698 U.S. Route 1. In June, meetings will move to the Community Club in Sandy Point.

For information, call O’Rourke at 567-3091 or email osandypoint@gmail.com.


A Knit-A-Thon will take place 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at St. Margaretʼs Episcopal Church, 95 Court St., in Belfast. The event is a fundraiser for the Interfaith Fuel Fund, a part of the Greater Bay Area Ministerium, which helps Waldo County residents in need of fuel during the winter season. All knitters, crocheters and other fiber artists are invited to join the effort. The event is sponsored by the Women of St. Margaretʼs. For information, to download a sponsor form, to make a donation and to learn how to participate, visit stmargaretsbelfast.org.

Go to blueribbondesigns.com to access several free counted cross stitch charts.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com. Don’t forget to visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.

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