Austintown library hosts first crocheting class


Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Hilda Townsend of Austintown put her afghan on a table to display it to the other attendees of the crochet class at the Austintown library.


Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Austintown's Hilda Townsend, 86, showed off an afghan she crocheted that has a bear design during the crochet event at the Austintown library.


Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Beverly Miller displayed a miniature American flag that she crocheted during the last project in her crochet class.


Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Beverly Miller displayed a book she has compiled showing pictures of the afghans she has made over the years, plus blue ribbons she has won entering some of them in the Canfield Fair.


After the prior success of her crochet class at the Austintown Senior Center, Beverly Miller brought the class to the Austintown library on Sept. 30.

“I started it at the Austintown Senior Center,” said Miller, a retired librarian. “We had a crochet group there and that started there in April. We had a beginner’s group there and we had about 10-12 people that brought their projects and crocheted with us.

“I came to the library one day and [Austintown library supervisor] Linda Kucalaba said, ‘you want to do it here?’ I said, ‘sure why not.’ I like to do stuff like that. It keeps me busy.”

Miller said that every Tuesday in October, people who want to learn how to crochet can attend the Austintown library for beginner’s lessons.

“Beginners can come and we will show them how to begin to crochet,” she said. “Then we’re going to make little 7 x 9 rectangles to put together for an afghan to give to either the Rescue Mission, Beatitude House or some charity. Wherever the group decides to give it to.”

One of the attendees on Sept. 30 was Austintown’s Hilda Townsend, 86, who has been crocheting since she was 22.

“It’s exciting to see what you can come up with,” she said.

Miller said her beginnings with crocheting go back more than 45 years.

“I have been crocheting for years and years,” she said. “I started when my son [Eric] was born in 1968. Back then, I was teaching and they wouldn’t let you teach up until the day you delivered like they do now. So I had to quit since he was due in March so I had to quit in December. I had three months with nothing to do.

“I went down and bought some knitting needles and I learned to knit. I knitted him a little outfit. That went good, but then two years later his sister came along, so while I was trying to knit, Eric was pulling the needles out of my hand. Knitting needles, if you pull one out, you lose the whole row. I said, ‘this is not going to work.’ That’s when I took up crocheting.”

Miller showed off a book she owns that has pictures of all the afghans she’s made over the years, plus blue ribbons she’s been awarded for entering her projects at the Canfield Fair. She won her first blue ribbon in 1999.

She said she has afghans that she’s unable to give to her family, so she’ll be donating them.

“Now I have about 10 afghans and nobody in the family is getting married, having babies, moving to a new house, so I’m donating them,” she said.

Miller said learning how to crochet can have many benefits.

“First of all, it’s a skill that’s almost a long-lost skill,” she said. “Younger people coming up, they don’t always know. That’s what we want to teach them, to continue on the skills of our past. Plus, you end up with a real nice gift. It’s also good for small motor skills. When you’re working with a hook or knitting needles, that’s good to keep your fingers nimble and flexible and that’s what we need to do when we get older. It’s also good for relaxation and a stress reliever.”

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