“I enjoy it, because I know that I’ve just created
something that somebody’s going to enjoy.”
That’s not the only way he uses his skills
to help out. When he first moved in, the
Home had a closetful of broken grandfather
clocks. Today, all are ticking along smoothly.
Fretz, who spent 12 years as a watchmaker,
The Heirloom Crafter
At the Home at Covina, resident Mickey
Fahnestock gives away her handiwork,
too. An avid crocheter, she’s been known
to devote 100 hours to a single project. Of
late, her projects of choice are intricately
patterned doilies. They’re cherished gifts
among family members: She’s crafted
them for her grandson and his wife; her
two granddaughters; her son-in-law; her
daughter – and the list goes on. Fahnestock
says she makes each piece to order, often
consulting with the recipient to pick the
patterns they like best.
The first time she was handed a crochet needle, she was
about 15 years old and visiting her mother for a few weeks.
“My mother tried to teach me how to do a very simple coaster.
Well, I couldn’t do it,” Fahnestock recalls. “She left to go to the
doctor, and while I waited, I just kept looking at it and thinking,
I know I can do this. By the time my mother came back, I’d done
it. I went off from there.”
It’s fitting that Fahnestock’s crochet work is connected to her
mother, because today, her work represents a strong connection
with the rest of her family.
“I enjoy it, because I know that I’ve just created something
that somebody’s going to enjoy,” she says.
When Miriam Covey moved into the Home at Covina three years
ago, one of her first orders of business was to volunteer as li-
brarian. Her philosophy was simple: “I figured, I’m still healthy
enough; I can volunteer.”
That desire to get involved has been the perfect outlet for her
skills as a needle crafter, too. Covey has been crocheting since
age 14, taught herself to knit at a young age, and is a talented
quilter. She’s also one of the driving forces behind the hand-
made items that the Home creates and sends to charity.
During group sewing sessions on Wednesday afternoons, and
on her own time throughout the rest of the week, Covey knits
caps for cancer patients, creates stockings and stuffed toys for
local shelters during the holiday season, and makes small quilts
year-round for patients at the Shriners Hospitals. For the past
few years, Covey and a handful of fellow quilters have turned
out about 55 quilts per year.
She estimates that she’s made more than 100 quilts in her
lifetime, and of those, many have incorporated complicated appliqué designs used in Celtic quilting patterns.
What’s the hardest part? For Covey, there isn’t one: “I’ve never thought of any of it as hard, because I like doing it,” she says.