Lillian Edelman took up crocheting about 45 years ago to brighten up her mother-in-law’s nursing home room.

“It all started with my mother-in-law in a home. The rooms were so dull,” she said. “I thought they needed some color, so I got a book and some yarn and got started.”

The 95-year-old self-taught crocheter from Eau Claire has been busy ever since creating dozens of items each year. Edelman gives the bulk of her work away to those in need.

“It gives me something to do and stay out of trouble,” she said.

Edelman gives her crochet creations away because “I just like to see people enjoy some things.”

Edelman’s daughter, Vicky Ondell of Rice Lake, said her mother crocheted 60 stocking caps last year that were distributed to school children in December. Edelman has already made 40 stocking caps to be given away next month with the goal of getting to 60 caps again this year, Ondell said.

“It’s just been a ton of things. She does it because she likes to and likes to see smiles on peoples’ faces,” Ondell said.

Besides stocking caps, Ondell said, her mother has crocheted countless other items including baby blankets, various types of animals, slippers and afghans.

“A vast majority of these items have been donated to charitable causes,” Ondell said. “She gives her things to kids or whoever needs it.”

Ondell said her mother will typically sit by the window during her crocheting sessions.

“When her hands get sore, she just gets back to it later,” Ondell said.

Edelman’s efforts have helped more than just area children. She once sewed book bags with straps that were sent to missionaries in Africa to be given to children, and made 240 skull caps four years ago that were processed by an area church to be distributed to U.S. troops serving overseas. She also sewed about 100 Christmas stockings that were sent to troops.

Edelman said it takes her six to eight hours to make a stocking cap, depending on the pattern.

She has no idea how many crocheted items she has made over the past four-plus decades.

“I don’t keep track of what I make,” Edelman said. “I just make it and give it away. It has probably been thousands of items and thousands of skeins of yarn.”

How long will she continue to make and give away crocheted items?

“As long as I can,” Edelman said.

Contact: 715-833-9207, dan.holtz@ecpc.com

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