SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Stitch in Time was started by Diane Charlesworth in 2015 when she worked as a clerk for the Spotswood Public Library. The group began simply enough, meeting at the library to help share the physical and mental health benefits of knitting and crocheting with enthusiasts and novices. In the beginning, the group had seven members. In the past four years, Stitch in Time has grown in number and relocated a couple of times. After a stint at the St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Stitch in Time found a permanent home at the Spotswood Senior Center and a unified goal. Along with the positive health and social benefits of being part of a knitting group, Stitch in Time began taking on projects to use their knitting and crocheting skills to help those in need.
In 2015, the group crocheted 20 mats for homeless veterans from plastic bags. Then, the group took on knitting and crocheting hats and scarves for Middlesex County families that utilized the Alice's CUP Food Pantry. After that Stitch in Time fashioned 31 red hats for the NICU at St. Peter's Hospital as a part of the American Heart Associations' Little Hats Big Hearts campaign.
This week Charlesworth and members of the borough's Stitch in Time group headed down to Atlantic City once again to deliver sleeping mats to the Stand Down at the American Legion. A Stand Down is where veterans are provided with clothing and other necessities while being provided with counseling and other programs to assist homeless vets.
Charlesworth first became interested in making mats for the homeless after watching a Facebook video about a group of Tennessee "Bag Ladies" who had knitted 80 sleeping mats for homeless people in their city. Making one three foot by six foot sleeping mat requires 600 to 700 plastic bags.
"A few ladies from Stitch in Time had the honor of delivering our sleeping mats to the Stand Down being held by the American Legion in Atlantic City," Charlesworth said. "This is the third year we've been involved with this amazing group of people who do so much to help our under-served and homeless vets. You can't imagine the array of goods and services that they have amassed from so many different providers. It's really mind-blowing! We wish we were able to do more, but are happy that we are able to help in some way."