Northeast Tarrant

Euless knitting group honors a star member for special milestone

Purls of Wisdom, a group that crochets and knits caps for premature babies and scarves and hats for the homeless, donates its 5,000th cap to the March of Dimes on June 21.
Purls of Wisdom, a group that crochets and knits caps for premature babies and scarves and hats for the homeless, donates its 5,000th cap to the March of Dimes on June 21. kb@star-telegram.com

Wanda Baggett doesn’t like to boast about her accomplishment of knitting 5,000 caps for premature babies — hats that have been donated to the March of Dimes over the years.

Last week, she was recognized for the milestone with a special cake and lots of praise from her friends.

Baggett, 81, belongs to Purls of Wisdom, a group that devotes time twice a month to knitting and crocheting caps, blankets, scarves and other items for premature babies and the homeless.

“I just like doing this. I’ve just always been active all of my life,” she said.

It’s not unusual for Baggett, who learned to knit and crochet from her mother and grandmother, to make three caps a day.

Purls of Wisdom has its gatherings at Mary Lib Saleh Public Library, and the group is open to anyone 18 and older with a passion for needlework and helping others.

Melissa McClary, community director for the March of Dimes’ Fort Worth market, said the donations make a difference for the families of premature babies.

“This is something they get to take home with them. It’s a comfort to them; The caps are one of the first things our preemies have,” she said.

I just like doing this. I’ve just always been active all of my life.

Wanda Baggett, who has made 5,000 caps

The March of Dimes funds research and other programs to reduce the number of premature births.

According to its website, premature birth is the leading killer of babies in the world.

Kelly LaBrie, a library assistant who also coordinates Purls of Wisdom, said the group started out making hats and scarves for the homeless, and someone suggested helping premature babies. LaBrie contacted the March of Dimes.

“We were trying to find other ways to give back to the community,” she said.

“They told us what their needs were,” she said.

LaBrie said hats and scarves are also donated to Union Gospel Mission during the winter holidays.

LaBrie said she has always enjoyed knitting and decided to start Purls of Wisdom.

“I am a strong believer in that ‘it’s not all about you.’ I figured, ‘What better way to give back than to give back some of the things we created and donate them to those who are less fortunate?’ 

LaBrie estimated that Purls of Wisdom has given 10,000 hats and scarves to the March of Dimes and Union Gospel Mission the past five years.

Baggett said she doesn’t plan to stop knitting anytime soon.

“You are a wonder,” one of her friends said as they enjoyed a cake festooned with strawberries and ribbons in her honor.

Elizabeth Campbell: 817-390-7696, @fwstliz

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