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'Lapghans' offer warm feeling

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 4:06 p.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
In her spare time, Lexi Herron of Finleyville makes 'lapghans' and donates them to elderly people in the area.

Over the past two years, Lexi Herron has transformed spools of colorful yarn into 100 blankets for senior citizens.

“I just kept hooking away,” she said. “I'm glad I'm able to help out in just some small way.”

Herron of Finleyville can easily whip up one blanket per week for patients at local personal care homes and hospices who cherish her handcrafted works.

Recently, she donated 19 blankets to The Residence at Hilltop, a personal care home in Carroll Township.

“The afghans are bright and cheery, and I'm sure that they have evoked some wonderful memories,” said Walt Young, executive director at The Residence at Hilltop. “The pure thought that an individual would go to that work for our residents is just very, very special.”

Eight of those blankets have been given to residents to use in their rooms, activities director Lynn Matsick said. The others are kept in the facility's TV rooms for residents to share.

“When we watch DVDs on Sunday afternoons or Steeler games, the residents sit in the recliners and they cover up with that,” Matsick said. “They have been a fabulous asset here, and the residents are very impressed with her crocheting ability and all that hard work to donate them to people that she does not know.”

Herron's philanthropy began after her sister Patty Leyshock, a dietitian at Uniontown Hospital, heard about the need for patient blankets and suggested the idea.

Herron calls her creations “lapghans,” referring to their smaller size, perfect for covering a lap. She crafts each mini-afghan with a ripple stitch.

Each blanket is unique, some with pastel colors, others with bold hues and some with Steelers black-and-gold tones.

Her crochet skills are so sharp she can even craft the blankets while half-watching TV.

“It's just relaxing while I'm listening to TV and watching it with one eye,” Herron said. “I really enjoy doing it, and I know it's for a good cause.”

Herron's grandmother taught her how to crochet during the eighth grade. Later, Herron passed along those skills to her mother.

After retiring from her job as a school teacher at Bethel Park, Herron renewed her crocheting hobby.

In addition to The Residence at Hilltop, she's donated her lapghans to residents at Presbyterian Home in Washington and Fayette Home Care and Hospice.

Herron is accepting donations of yarn for her work.

“When you do something for someone else, it does give you a feeling of satisfaction,” she said.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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