Dominican Sister Linda Hayes likes to count. She has always been a numbers person and has incorporated her love of numbers by creating blankets and hats for others. The craft she learned as a child continues to offer comfort to others in times of need.
“I have weaved, crocheted and knitted for a long time and if I see something that strikes my fancy then I do it,” said Sister Linda smiling.
She credits her mother for insisting that her two daughters learn how to sew when she was a young girl growing up in Richmond, Michigan.
“My sister and I went to the home of a woman from Germany who taught us how to crochet, knit and tatting. My sister was not interested, but I sure enjoyed it,” she said with a grin adding that she continued to improve her skills while being in 4-H.
Before retiring from her position as general treasurer at Sacred Heart Convent in 2014, Sister Linda joined the Prairie Weavers Guild where she taught others how to turn threads into something with a purpose.
“I love to see the designs that others come up with. There are so many possibilities. I really appreciate when others give their time and talents to a worthwhile cause,” she continued.
She now has a loom in her bedroom and with the help of ideas she finds online along with fellow weaving enthusiasts she continues to put her talent to effective use.
“I found the handweaving.net web site at the start of COVID-19 and it has given me ideas in using color theory and weaving structure. I have emailed the owner of the webpage who has solved weaving design problems with his ideas,” she continued.
One project she fully supports is Project Linus, a volunteer group with chapters nationwide, that creates blankets for children. The Central Illinois Project Linus chapter, located in Champaign, Illinois, is the group that Sister Linda has helped.
“I get stuff in the mail all the time and Project Linus really caught my eye. They provide blankets to children who are impacted by trauma or have been diagnosed with a serious health problem,” she said.
Even though she has never met others who share her sewing passion from the Project Linus Champaign chapter she knows her time and talent are going to a worthy cause.
“They sent 100 blankets to the children of Uvalde after the school shooting.”
She has also used her talents to help individuals in Springfield.
“Members of the Prairie Weavers Guild put out a call that asked members for help in making hats for the homeless. I sent 20 hats and felt I helped with something they needed and that I can do,” she said.
With any sewing project she admits she has run into challenges.
“I use the internet and have found some great resources that have helped me. I love the color editor that will tell you how many threads you need for a certain design. Also stash buster has helped me when I am using several types of fiber and what colors will work together using what you have on hand,” she said.
Her talent for sewing has continued to help others even during the pandemic.
“During COVID I made 800 masks for other sisters in the convent and for people living in nursing homes. It was important to give back to those who did not have access to masks or could not afford them,” she continued.
She smiled when asked exactly how many hours she has spent weaving, crocheting, and knitting.
“Countless but well spent hours helping others.”