Special to The Explorer

Holy Needles, the Northwest group that creates handmade needlework for needy people, is donating nearly 200 fleece blankets to the homeless this Sunday, Dec. 19.

The Casas Church-based group formed in March 2009 to create beanies, blankets and booties for Tucson’s disadvantaged newborns. In its 21 months, Holy Needles has distributed more than 3,600 items to those in need.

Donna Bishop, coordinator for Holy Needles, sent an e-mail to the clothing company Polartec last spring, asking if it would have any scraps or end rolls it could donate. “I told them a little bit about who we were. Their response, 12 rolls” of free, high-quality black fleece, adding up to 750 yards of material, more than 4/10ths of a mile.

“It’s an awful lot,” Bishop said.

The donation gave Holy Needles “an opportunity to reach out to others in need, beyond newborns,” a release said. Members have created blankets, trimmed with a crocheted border and a cancer ribbon symbol, for chemotherapy centers. Lap blankets and shawls have been created and bordered in crochet for the homebound. Infant blankets are also trimmed in crochet and distributed for newborns in need at local hospitals. Fleece from Polartec has also been used to create teddy bears and scarves.

Each of the blankets for homeless people is 70 by 90 inches. Presentation of those blankets begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Z Mansion, 288 N. Church Ave.

On average, some 40 women meet twice a month — the third Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Ocotillo Building at Casas Church, 10801 N. La Cholla, and the last Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the Saguaro Building at the church — to create items.

People are welcome to join Holy Needles, Bishop said.

“Our door’s always open, even if they don’t know how to do crochet, knit, quilt or sew,” Bishop said. “We teach them. A lot of the people involved are new at the craft.”

For more information, go to http://www.holyneedles.blogspot.com">www.holyneedles.blogspot.com.

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