By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Dana Lorway, proprietor of the “Good Good Sheep” in Hudson, has been knitting since she was in college. A former learning disabilities specialist and school psychologist in the Worcester School System, Lorway left her career behind to follow her passion – knitting. She opened the Good Good Sheep, located at 26 Main St., which sells locally produced wools, yarn, roving (a long and narrow bundle of fiber used to spin yarn), and products made by local artisans.
“I knew I wanted to start a knitting group for charity as soon as I opened my shop,” said Lorway. “All through my years as a knitter, I have heard and read about various groups in the United States and around the world, who make things for the needy, and I always wanted to be able to help.”
This past fall, Lorway began the nonprofit knitting circle, Knit It Forward. Based out of the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson, 80 Main St., Hudson, the group meets every Sunday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to knit blankets for the needy. While they have no religious affiliation with the church, Lorway works closely with the Associate Minister, Rev. Alice Anacheka-Nasemann, who not only provides names of perspective blanket recipients, but has tried her hand at knitting as well.
Initially, the idea was to knit an afghan, a blanket consisting of many simple knit squares, and send it to Warm Up America!, a foundation that donates warm knitted items to people in need all over the country. But, seeing the need right in her own “backyard,” Lorway had a change of heart.
“My major interest is in helping local people in need,” said Lorway, “There are many sick and unfortunate people all around us, right in our own towns here in the Hudson area. In addition, I worked in the Worcester Public Schools for several years and am particularly interested in trying to get warm hats and other items to the homeless and needy children in Worcester. There are also a great many refugee families in Worcester, many from Africa, who need warm hats and mittens for the winter.”
So far, the group has donated an afghan to a battered women's shelter and a shawl for a local homeless woman. They have also received a donated prayer shawl from a knitting group in Northborough, which will go to a local woman.
There is a core group of stalwart knitters who attend the group every Sunday, as well as people who do their knitting at home and take their finished afghan squares or hats to the group on a subsequent weekend. They even have a 10-year-old girl learning to knit, so that she, too, can help someday.
“I can's tell you how great it feels to have a dream, an idea, come to fruition,” said Lorway. “It means so very much to me to be able to help in this way, now that I have the time. Our knitted items can serve several purposes – an afghan can keep someone warm, or a handmade shawl can help a bereaved or sick person feel loved and cared for. I love to think of a baby being kept warm by a crib blanket or hat that I have created.”