The Twisted Stitchers are a small but lively group of women residents at Old Main Village senior living community that have joined forces to wield their mighty knitting needles to help those in the Greater Mankato area in need. Though their knitting experience varies, and some also sew, they welcome all residents to join to the craft to purl, cable, rib, block and gauge. The craft of knitting offers a relaxing, therapeutic, stress-relieving break from today’s high-tech world. The Twisted Stitchers enjoy socializing and joking a bit while working (thus the name), yet they rarely drop a stitch while knitting warm clothing and bedding accessories to help women and their kids in the area seeking help from CADA, the Committee Against Domestic Abuse.
The idea to form the social group came about a year ago to resident Janet Kiehm when she hosted an open house in her apartment shortly after moving to Old Main Village, which provides independent and assisted living options in downtown Mankato. Old Main Village is managed by The Goodman Group, based in Minnesota.
During an open house, when guests were discussing what they like to do, residents Janet and Kathleen Maury suggested that perhaps they could meet once a week and form some sort of social sewing or knitting club. Both Janet and her daughter, who is a nurse anesthetist in the area, are long-time supporters of CADA. When looking for a charity to help, Janet suggested they knit and donate items to help the women and kids who rely on CADA’s shelter and support during times of crisis. According to CADA’s Shelter Team Lead Melissa Ballman, they provide the only emergency safety shelter for women and their children experiencing domestic and sexual violence throughout South Central Minnesota. The average stay at the shelter is two to three months. They also provide support groups, therapeutic counseling, community education and training opportunities, and supervised parenting time to ensure the safety of children when seeing a non-custodial parent.
The Twisted Stitchers knit stocking caps, ear warmers, mittens and slippers of all sizes for adults and kids for the CADA shelter in Mankato. One of their group members, Barb, creates pillows. They manage to knit at a good pace but want to encourage other knitters in the community to pick up their knitting needles and knit donations or donate yarn to their group so they can make more items for CADA. Janet notes that 3-ply worsted wool yarn seems to works the best for knitting warm and sturdy items. The Goodman Group, which manages Old Main Village, is hosting a yarn drive at the community and corporate office through (date) to help provide yarn for the Twisted Sticthers to make more items for CADA. Whether you want to learn or are a beginner, intermediate or advanced knitter, the Twisted Stitchers invite you to help make a difference.
Please email Janet Kiehm at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would also like to contribute funds for the few out-of-pocket expenses and/or materials needed for the project to help the Twisted Sticthers help CADA. You can also contact Lindsay Bolstad at CADA at lindsayb@cadaMN.org or 507-625-8688 ext. 100 if you would like to donate items the women’s shelter needs, or contact Bridget Bruels at bridgetb@cadaMN.org or 507-625-8688 ext. 123 to learn more about volunteer opportunities.”
Over the years, CADA applied for and received grants to open satellite offices in the region as well as expanding programming in Mankato. Funding for these programs was cut when the State had the $4.5 billion budget shortfall, so they rearranged their approach to serving the locations. CADA’s main office, shelter and visitation center are located in Mankato, and they have outreach/satellite offices in New Ulm, Gaylord, Waseca, Blue Earth, St. James and Mankato. They noticed that as they became more local to the victims in the region, that the number of people seeking help greatly increased. They note that this attests to the importance of these local programs. During the expansion of services, CADA also received a grant from the Blandin Foundation to open the Keep Me Safe Visitation and Exchange program. This program provides supervised visitations and exchanges in a neutral setting for noncustodial parents.