October 10, 2005
By MELISSA PIONZIO, Courant Staff Writer
With nimble fingers and a calm demeanor, Kathleen Shepherd-Hutson
helps members of her crochet class master the intricate stitches
that form the blankets, hats, mittens and booties they create
for people in need.
About 10 women participate in the weekly class at the Salvation Army Senior
Center, at Trinity Episcopal Church on Sigourney Street in Hartford. The
finished projects are then collected by the Community Renewal Team, which
distributes them to hospitalized children and elderly shut-ins.
"That lady can do anything, Miss Kathleen can. Anything but fail," said
Audrey Brown of Hartford, a member of the crocheting class, which meets
Wednesdays. "I have learned to do different stitches and how to read
patterns, which is very hard."
In her native Barbados, Shepherd-Hutson learned as a teenager how to crochet
and do other handcrafts such as string art, needlepoint and tatting through
a club for youngsters. Now a senior citizen, she is passing on her knowledge
to other women so they can improve their skills and keep the tradition of
"You never stop learning," she said. "Every
day you can learn something new."
During a recent session, Shepherd-Hutson taught Hartford resident Lois
Davis how to cast on - or get started. As a strand of orange and white yarn
slid through Shepherd-Hutson's fingers onto a short metal crochet hook,
it was transformed into a neat chain stitch.
"Starting seems hard," said Davis, as she watched Shepherd-Hutson
rip the stitch out so she could give it a try herself. "I'm having
a hard time catching on. I always have help getting started and
I want to learn how to do it myself."
Margaretta Rush of Bloomfield joined the class in September and already
has learned several stitches, but she still turns to Shepherd-Hutson for
"This is a great teacher right here, especially with me, she's so
patient," said Rush, who plans to pass on her newly acquired skills
to the girls she works with at an after-school program. "At first I
learned a simple chain stitch and when I learned to double stitch,
I felt like I should have gotten an award!"
Last year, the Connecticut Children's Medical
Center presented the group with a plaque, thanking them for the items they
created for the children. The plaque, a source of pride for the group, hangs
on the wall in the classroom.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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