Dorothy Lloyd has had knitting needles in her hands most of her life; like so many who find solace in the hobby, there is comfort in the rhythm and a sense of accomplishment when a new creation finds completion.
After a stroke robbed her of much of the mobility on her right side, however, the sense of accomplishment took on a new meaning as determination set in, and Dorothy worked to create a single square for a quilt, as she’s always done with her knitting group in the Village of Riverside Glen.
“I had to do it with one arm,” Dorothy says with a slight smile. “I was so disappointed before that I couldn’t knit that I thought there must be some way of doing it.” Her friends in the group supported her and Marlene Lehman, who lives across the hall from her in the Egerton neighbourhood, says everyone was inspired by how focused Dorothy is in getting stronger.
Dorothy was still working on her square with her one-handed knitting stitch when COVID-19 hit and the group she is part of could no longer congregate. But they all kept working on their squares as they normally would, for the quilts they create are donated to Hospice Wellington.
Dorothy finally finished hers – a soft red in a simple pattern – and the others completed enough for a full quilt at the same time. Marlene says when she arranged to have them stitched together by a team member’s mother, as is always the case, she asked that Dorothy’s be placed in the centre.
“I explained all of the effort she had put into it and, of course, Sarah works here and knows Dorothy, so she was able to do that for us,” Marlene says.
Marlene held onto the completed blanket for a few weeks when it came back to The Village, hoping maybe the pandemic would ease and they could once again gather off Main Street and share in the accomplishment together, ready to donate another beautiful blanket.
It was decided, however, that this quilt belonged to Dorothy.
“She worked so hard and we thought, can’t she have this for herself and share this with her family,” Marlene says.
As weeks went by, Marlene could no longer resist and with the blessing of a friend and fellow group member, she decided to pass the gift along, and Dorothy was so proud.
“I was so thrilled that they were so kind to do that,” Dorothy says, looking over the colourful blanket across from her chair. There’s a community in that blanket, it seems, and Dorothy is in the middle surrounded by the support of several others, each represented by a different square.
They in turn, are inspired by the vibrancy of the red one in the middle, proof that limitations are sometimes only in one’s mind.
“You can still do things if you really want to,” Dorothy says, pointing out that she’s nearly finished another square.