Feeling good about cleaning out

The Oak Bluffs library finds new homes for recycled yarn and fabric.

Unused fabric and yarn were accepted throughout the month of April. — Photo courtesy of Anna Marie D'Addarie

Last Saturday more than 80 people visited the Oak Bluffs Public Library, and they didn’t have books on their mind. Instead, they were there to pick up free yarn and fabric, and they had plenty to choose from.

Ten tables were piled high with recycled yarn and fabric that had been brought to the library during the month of April. Every available space in the library’s large Meeting Room was used for this resourceful program.

As part of the library’s Fit in ’15 wellness program, which promotes mind, body, and spiritual fitness, many people set goals to clean out closets and get rid of the excess. To help with this process, the library put out a call to patrons in the month of April to donate any unused yarn or fabric that was no longer needed or wanted. The response was huge, much larger than anticipated.

There was an overwhelmingly positive response from people as they dropped off their bags of yarn and fabric, thankful for the extra push to clean out their closets. Patrons were happy to be putting their unused materials to work, paying their materials forward, perhaps to inspire someone else to make something beautiful.

On Saturday morning, the doors opened and “shoppers” filed in, some early birds waiting for 20 minutes or more. The music of Count Basie filled the room, providing just the right upbeat atmosphere as patrons milled about making fabric selections. Rich Pease of Oak Bluffs learned to sew in middle school. He found wonderful fabrics, as did his friend Marit Bezahler of Vineyard Haven. Ms. Bezahler said, “I forgot how much I love to sew.” The friends enjoyed picking up fabric and discussing the possibilities.

Barbara Almquist of Edgartown proudly proclaimed, “I was in the parking lot first.” Ms. Almquist knits for many Island charities. The yarn she chose will be put to good use and repurposed for the community.

“I just got off the boat,” said Kathy Bakanas of Yarmouth. She was here visiting friends in Oak Bluffs who surprised her with a trip to the library, much to Ms. Bakanas’ delight. She had never heard of such an event at a library, and took full advantage of it.

The entire staff of the Oak Bluffs library worked hard soliciting donations over the past several weeks, and organized Saturday’s event with the help of local volunteers Jennifer Walton, Linda Dalton, and Rita Moors. The event proved wonderfully successful, and served as a friendly reminder that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Library Director Sondra Murphy proudly told everyone, “This will be an annual event.”

Anna Marie D’Addarie is program coordinator at the Oak Bluffs library and creator of the Fit in ’15 program.