Knitters weave lasting bonds while helping Arizona community

fountains knitters.PNG
Posted at 7:25 PM, Dec 03, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A group of knitters in Tucson, Arizona is making memories and helping their community.

"Knitters tend to get together because we enjoy each other's company and we can talk and gossip and solve the problems of the world while we're doing something productive, making sweaters," says Leslie Kolkmeier, chairwoman of The Fountains Knitters.

"Well, this last year we turned out 273 sweaters and they went to five different school districts within the Tucson system. So, that's a pretty typical year," said Kolkmeier.

"I hadn't knitted for years and I love doing it. The ladies here are wonderful. They give you wonderful hints and help you whenever you need help and advice on colors," said Kolkmeier.

The group has been around for decades. Kolkmeier says, since 2003, The Fountains Knitters have made over 11,000 sweaters.

"It goes to the clothing banks and the people who can't afford to go to a big store and buy a lovely sweater for a kid that's going to wear it for six months and outgrow it," said Kolkmeier.

But the love that goes into each sweater will never go to waste.

"Also, it gave me an opportunity to do something with children because that's where my love is," said one of the knitters, Carol Dawson.

The ladies say it's an easy pattern to learn.

"It's a very wonderful simple basic pattern that starts at the neck and you work all the way down and it's done," said Dawson.

The colors are all different.

"Sometimes they are plain and sometimes they're just crazy because she uses all of the leftovers," said Kolkmeier.

"This is a size 10 and I'm almost finished with it. I've got one more sleeve to do. This one over here that I'm working on," said Dawson.

The ladies grab all their materials from the "yarn barn."

"We get some donations from families whose, you know, grandma is not knitting anymore or whatever or whose passed away and they're looking for some place to donate yarn," Kolkmeier said.

She says they're in need of donations right now.

"There's no beginning and end. There's a time when they get distributed, but we're always producing," said Kolkmeier.

This story was originally reported by Lydia Camarillo on