One of Linda Cherry’s mini-afghans, called “lapghans,” is headed to a district competition put on by the Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs-Florida.
If it wins at district level, as one of her creations has in the past, it will go on to the state level. If it wins there, it will be entered into the national General Federation of Women’s Clubs competition. It earned a spot in the district lineup by winning first place at home in the Marianna GFWC chapter’s friendly contest among members.
But 15 more of her hand-stitched creations will stay right here to warm up the holidays for men and women who live at the Marianna Health and Rehabilitation. Her prayer shawls and lapghans were among 93 gifts that her club bestowed on residents there this week.
Cherry said she hopes they bring comfort to the body and a bit of therapy to the soul of each recipient, just as she experiences while she yarns the pieces together.
Some take four or five days to complete, with hours devoted to it each of those days. She crochets in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices and hairdressers, at night when she’s taking a break from daytime responsibilities, and in the little idle time she finds during the day at home. She cares for her 90-year-old mother and for her husband, who has health issues, and has the primary responsibilities of keeping the household in order as well.
“I love crocheting,” Cherry said. “I learned more than 20 years ago.” An old co-worker and longtime friend, Linda Hatcher from Sneads, taught her how.
After Cherry retired she started spending more time on the hobby. She knows a variety of stitch patterns and, in a year where COVID-19 has left her so often in virtual quarantine to protect herself and loved ones, she’s been using them all to create unique pieces for people she may not ever meet. That list of strangers includes 10 infants. They’re the babies of young mothers receiving support from The Pregnancy Center. Her work lines their layettes.
A twist exists in the fabric of this year’s local-level crochet competition: The pattern she used to make the lapghan that won in this year of COVID-19 is known in the art as the “virus stitch.”
That was happenstance, she said, but she found it most fitting.