Cindy Bither
Administrative Assistant
P: (540) 464-7207
F: (540) 464-7443

111 Smith Hall
Lexington, VA 24450

Wounded Warriors Benefit from Knitting Fundraiser

FullTextImage/img/@altKnitting Club Cadet in Charge Kelly Maggio '12 crochets an item for Saturday's sale. -- VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.

LEXINGTON, Va., Nov. 14, 2011 – VMI’s Knitting Club will honor Military Appreciation Day at this Saturday’s football game against Gardner-Webb University with a sale of knitted goods to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
As many as 20 cadet knitters have participated, knitting and crocheting hats, scarves, mittens, dolls, blankets, and baby clothing, most in VMI’s red-white-yellow color scheme but some in red, white, and blue to honor the day.  The items will be sold for prices around $20 each.
“It’s all going to the Wounded Warriors Project,” said Cadet Kelly Maggio ’12, club cadet in charge, “so we’re all very excited about that.”
The club, which includes VMI faculty and staff and area residents in addition to the cadets, has been working all semester to prepare the items.  Maj. Anne Alerding, faculty adviser and assistant professor of biology, estimates that members have produced 50 to 100 items to sell.
“Most of our knitters are brand new knitters,” said Maggio, who learned to knit herself last year during her first year with the club.  “We teach them how to knit and what they produce is what we’ll be selling, so it’s kind of special.  Cadets can see the fruits of their labor on display and on sale for a good cause.”
Much of this teaching is contributed by area residents, including Margie Dewald, wife of Col. Lee Dewald, professor of math.
“The women who come and teach us how to knit are really skilled,” said Maggio, who said last year she could only produce about one item per month. Now?
“Well, I can’t put it down,” she said.  For this year’s fundraiser, she has knitted at least four hats, a scarf, a pair of mittens, a pair of “hobo” gloves with open fingers, and one Captain America doll – and she’s still going strong, expecting to produce more items before helping staff the sale table on the track at Saturday’s game.
Maggio said club members will be stationed around the stadium to help direct spectator’s to the club’s sale table – “But,” she added, “how can you miss all the colorful scarves?”
The club is, in effect, raising a new generation of cadet knitters, since several members graduated last year and several more will graduate this year, said Alerding.  Most of the other cadet members are 4th Class cadets. 
“For our club,” said Alerding, “these rats are our future.”
Many of the club’s projects are knitted from donated yarn, but this year the club has also had to buy yarn.  Alerding said Carole Smyer of Orchardside Yarn Shop in Raphine sold the club the red, white, and yellow yarn for the fundraiser at cost and is also among those who have donated yarn.
Saturday’s sale will not be the club’s first service project.  Last year club members knitted helmet liners and other items for soldiers in Afghanistan, dolls for children in Haiti, and lap blankets for residents of The Mayflower retirement home in Lexington.
“That was very rewarding,” said Alerding, noting that the club is on the lookout for a spring service project.  “We keep our eyes open for something new and beneficial.”

For information about purchasing a knitted item, contact Alerding.
–Sherri Tombarge