From Island hands with love

The Mindful Knitting Group
The Mindful Knitting Group presented handmade items to Muriel Laverty who will take them back to her clinic in Nicaragua. (Standing from left) Ellie Bates, Shirlee Miller, Muriel Laverty's husband, Omar Gonzales, Shirley Dewing, Muriel Laverty, Mary Vancour, and Susan Desmarais; (seated) Laureen Van de Workeen, and Carol Faini. Photo by Ralph Stewart

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - October 18, 2007

Organizations around the world have benefited from the resurgence of knitting as a pastime and passion. At the Edgartown Senior Center a group calling themselves the Mindful Knitters have been meeting weekly to knit for charity. This year's bounty was donated to Muriel Laverty for her clinic in Masaya, Nicaragua. Ms. Laverty stopped by the center on Sept. 25 to thank the women and also to talk about the clinic.

"Life is difficult in the mountains," said Ms. Laverty in answer to Shirlee Miller's question about why the young women in pictures at the clinic look so sad. Ms. Laverty explained that the mothers are 12 to 14 years old and come to the clinic to give birth. The new mothers can stay at the clinic for eight days getting much needed rest, medical treatment, and a birth certificate for their children, an important document not available to them before. Since her clinic opened, Ms. Laverty has not lost a single baby or mother and she is very proud of the zero death rate. She said it is what keeps her spirit up.

The knitting group made tiny hats (the babies are very small) and blankets from cotton and other washable yarns. Often these are the only items these babies will have. Ms. Laverty cried when she saw all the knitted pieces spread out on the table in front of her.

The Mindful Knitters have made dolls for children in Darfur, chemo caps for women who have lost their hair during cancer treatment, scarves for all Islanders on active duty, and sent 167 hats to Africa as part of a Save the Children program. Knitting group members offer project ideas and decisions are made by the entire group. It is a labor of love for the knitters who are already working on several projects for next year.

Mindful Knitters meet on Tuesday from 5 to 7 pm at Anchors, the Edgartown Senior Center. For more information on Muriel Laverty's Siuna Foundation, visit or call 508-693-2121.