Share This Page

Coraopolis Memorial Library program attracts knitters young and old

| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Marge Connelly, known as 'Miss Marge,' teaches Sara Ilnicki, 4 1/2, in her Saturday morning knitting group at the Coraopolis Memorial Library, March 22, 2014. Miss Marge provides instruction and guidance to her knitting group each Saturday, which is free to the public.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Coraopolis couple Mike Ilnicki and Deb Shaffer work together on projects during the Saturday morning knitting group at the Coraopolis Memorial Library, March 22, 2014. The couple was introduced to the class by Mike's 4-year-old daughter, Sara. The teacher is Marge Connelly, who provides instruction and guidance to the knitting group each Saturday, which is free to the public.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Coraopolis teen Tess Strub,14, crochets during the Saturday morning knitting group at the Coraopolis Memorial Library, March 22, 2014. Tess has been knitting and crocheting for about 3 years now. The teacher is Marge Connelly, who provides instruction and guidance to the knitting group each Saturday, which is free to the public.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Coraopolis resident Deb Shaffer works on her needlepoint at the Coraopolis Memorial Library, March 22, 2014. Deb and her boyfriend, Mike Ilnicki, were introduced to the class by Mike's 4-year-old daughter, Sara. The teacher is Marge Connelly, who provides instruction and guidance to the knitting group each Saturday, which is free to the public.

When the Coraopolis Memorial Library was looking for someone to run a knitting group, board member Mark Strub knew who to call.

Marge Connelly had given private lessons to borough residents, including Strub's children, for decades.

In its fourth year, the weekly Knit and Crochet with Miss Marge program is a big draw, library director Susan McClellan said.

With Connelly volunteering her time to the library to provide free instruction and materials, adults and children meet for 90 minutes on Saturday mornings to work on projects they choose. Anyone can participate.

Crafts are available for children too young to knit.

Members, who range from beginners to previous crafters who want to refresh their skills, make socks, scarves and other items.

Deb Shaffer and her daughter, Sara Ilnicki, 4, of Coraopolis are among the six to 18 people who participate regularly. Shaffer said Connelly is “very understanding. She'll fix everything you screw up.”

“Marge is patient and kind,” McClellan said.

Connelly, 58, encourages knitters to work at their own pace during the sessions, which start at 10 a.m. on Saturdays in the library on School Street.

“I tell them if they're working on something at home and don't know what to do, put it back in the bag and bring it back to me,” said Connelly, who is self taught. She started knitting in her 20s, when her grandmother gave her an instruction book, and made hundreds of wash cloths before advancing to a five-color Nordic sweater.

Sara Ilnicki, the youngest participant in her group, enjoyed making a potholder with a loom, as well as a bracelet for a friend and necklaces for her grandmother.

“Miss Marge is sweet,” Sara said.

Mike Ilnicki, Sara's father, also participates.

“Deb does embroidery and Mike, latch hooking,” Connelly said. “Everybody's doing something different.”

Tess Strub, 13, of Coraopolis likes picking up tips from fellow members.

“It's nice learning new things and seeing what other people are doing,” said Tess Strub, who has received in-home instruction from Connelly, as well.

Members also enjoy socializing.

“Someone asked a question (about a personal matter), and everybody had input,” said Connelly, who works full time as a pharmacist for a mail-order drug company. “Someone else had a plumbing problem, and suggestions were offered about that.”

Connelly said she wants to teach children how to give to others by making their own gifts, an experience that becomes more meaningful than buying items. For her sessions, she uses coupons to buy supplies at low cost.

Connelly's niece, Chris Napolitano, 31, of Coraopolis assists at the group meetings. “I'm very proud of my aunt,” Napolitano said. “She has a wonderful, giving heart.”

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.