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DeWitt: In stitches

In 1981, Reverend Ted Taylor in no way realized that what he was about to petition from his parishioners would begin a new venture for numerous church members and persevere for 25 years.

Taylor didn't know how to knit. To clarify, he didn't want to learn how to knit either. Rather, his request involved asking volunteers to make booties for babies to take to local hospitals. He liked to welcome the little ones with these special handmade gifts but he said, "I can't knit," according to Julie Rimmel, founder of the DCC Cross Stitch Guild. By the end of the week, a pile of booties was ready to be delivered to the newborns.

Rimmel, though, had put the knitting needles away years before when she became a cross-stitch enthusiast in 1976. Hence, she proposed to Rev. Taylor a different kind of project for those on the opposite end of the spectrum -- to cross-stitch for shut-ins. If he could find the stitchers, she would head the project.

He found 20 ladies willing and eager to begin. Because cross-stitching was very new to the area at the time, Rimmel had to teach each volunteer how to stitch -- she had learned the technique while in the South where it was already a very popular hobby.

One hundred ornaments set in gold frames resulted.

"That was going to be the end of my commitment," Rimmel said.

Not if long-time church member Dorothy Jordan could help it. Jordan wanted to keep the stitches going but without Rimmel's skills and expertise, the stitching would likely have been short-lived.

Consequently, the Cross Stitch Guild began.

With 11 stitchers on hand, Rimmel needed to come up with a project. "The Last Supper" became their first. Each member would get their own section to work on and after two years, it was completed.

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