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Sterling Heights

Library gets crafty with cooperative

New program kicks off Nov. 28

November 16, 2012

When Denice LaJeunesse talks about her affinity for knitting, the words roll off her tongue like poetry.

“It’s almost hypnotic because you’re moving your hands, you’re creating something, but your mind is able to think and concentrate on other things,” the Sterling Heights resident gushed. “To me, knitting an afghan is almost like art. You see certain yarns, you see certain colors, and to me it says, ‘I need to look like this’ when it’s made up. You have a big canvas, then, to display your interpretation of the yarn.”

In the next breath, LaJeunesse admits with a laugh that she’s “a little bit kooky” about the craft — which is why she’s looking forward to uniting with like-minded people at the Sterling Heights Public Library’s Crafters’ Cooperative, set to launch at 7 p.m. Nov. 28.

“This new program really hits home on two really great aspects of the library: One is that it is a source of information, and the other is that it is a center of the community,” said Kathryn Ribant Payne, the library’s programming specialist.

Visitor feedback has suggested there’s a strong interest in adult craft programs, and “we also knew that we had some talented patrons who could share their gifts with others, and we also figured there were people who were just starting to discover an interest in crafts, like knitting or card marking,” Ribant Payne said. “The program aims to pair them up so the experienced pros can help the beginners in a comfortable, fun environment set up for learning.”

Tammy Turgeon, the city’s community service director, said she envisions merging brief presentations by long-time crafters with time for collaboration and idea-swapping.

Knitters, for instance, can share tips on technique and discuss the best places to find supplies, she said. And the sky’s the limit in terms of craft types; other possibilities include quilting, crocheting and paper artistry.

“I think we’ll be open to any crafts that our residents want to present that others might be interested in,” she said.

Turgeon said she hopes that the cooperative will evolve into a group that meets regularly. She already has the next date set: Feb. 20, 2013.

A handful of experienced scrapbookers and knitters were committed to the inaugural session as of mid-November, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend with their own projects in tow.

While LaJeunesse is an advanced knitter — she’s been doing it since she was 10 years old — she said she’s enthused to help novices and mingle with other passionate crafters.

“I love knitting; it’s like my therapy,” she said. “And I like sharing it with people. When (Turgeon) said, you know, it’s a chance to help people out that are interested, I thought it was wonderful. We’re going to bring our projects, and I’m excited to see what other people are doing and working on and what they enjoy about knitting, what they like to knit.”

Eva Dedenbach, another Sterling Heights knitter planning to participate, had similar visions of linking up with fellow crafters, lending newbies a hand and gleaning advice from others.

“I just wanted to expand my knitting skills, and hopefully teach other people,” said Dedenbach, who sells her products at local shows. “I just wanted to try and reach out to other people who may be having trouble with something or just wanting to learn. I thought, why not do it at the library? I go there all the time. It’s really a great way to meet other people who want to share your craft.”

The library is located at 40255 Dodge Park Road at Utica Road in Sterling Heights. Anyone who wants to present a craft formally is asked to call (586) 446-2640 in advance. Registration is not necessary for general attendees, and the program is free for all. For more information, visit

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