EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The annual Middlesex County Fair came to an end on August 11, but not before three Spotswood residents and members of the Stitch in Time knitting and crochet group won blue ribbons for their creations. Gowri Eswaran won for her crocheted bedspread. Eswaran designed the bedspread's pattern and won a blue ribbon in her first-ever competition. Barbara Schmidt took home a ribbon for her hand-quilted table runner. Schmidt has many blue ribbons under her belt for her hand-stitched, quilted design. Diane Charlesworth won her blue ribbon for a crocheted shawl. It was Charlesworth's first blue ribbon. Last year, her baby blanket took second place at the county fair.

Stitch in Time was started by 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. Over the 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.

The group continued to crochet mats for homeless vets from plastic bags and recently delivered a bunch in May to a Stand Down in Atlantic City. 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.

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Stitch in Time has also knitted and crocheted hats and scarves for Middlesex County families that utilize the Alice's CUP food pantry, helping them stay warm during the winter months. The group joined the American Heart Associations' Little Hats Big Hearts campaign a knitted more than 30 hats for premature babies in the St. Peters Hospital NICU.

Spotswood's Office on Aging lauded the praises of the talents of Charlesworth, Eswaran and Schmidt on their Facebook page. Stitch in Time meets on Thursdays at the Spotswood Senior Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Spotswood Office on Aging is located at 1 Arlington Avenue in Suite 401.

New members for Stitch in Time are always welcome, but must bring their own supplies. Experience with knitting or crocheting is not required to join. For additional information on Stitch and Time, visit the group's Facebook page.