Trail Ladies Auxiliary President Lauranne Lesiuk , herself a sewer, dropped by Ruth Clark’s East Trail studio for a chat and to check out the blue fabric and pattern being used for the membership’s new aprons.

Trail Ladies Auxiliary President Lauranne Lesiuk , herself a sewer, dropped by Ruth Clark’s East Trail studio for a chat and to check out the blue fabric and pattern being used for the membership’s new aprons.

Weaving together handcrafts and Trail hockey

Needlecraft in general is good for brain health, says Ruth Clark

It’s not often – if ever – that Smoke Eater hockey has been weaved into a story about handcrafts like crochet.

But that’s what happened this season.

Not only did Ruth Clark enjoy super exciting games in the Cominco Arena, by mid-April, she also crocheted a cozy new afghan to take with her to the Smoke Eater opener this fall.

“It is a lost art that I think needs to be brought back,” Ruth began, referring to sewing and needlepoint as a whole. “It dawned on me this past winter when I took my crocheting to a number of the Smoke Eater games. While I was sitting there and watching, I was crocheting without even thinking about it.”

What that brought up for Ruth, who has also been a professional caregiver, was the topic of “brain health.”

“We often hear that we have to start being aware of our brain health,” she said. “And one of the things about brain health is learning new skills. So one of the things I would like to take on this summer is to have people come in and learn how to crochet or knit to the point that when they go to the Smoke Eater games this fall they can sit there, watch the game and crochet or knit without even thinking about it,” Ruth added.

“Then, not only will you be enjoying the hockey game, you’ll get a nice pot holder, scarf or a piece for an afghan out of it – and you’ll be protecting your brain health at the same time.”

Crocheting, knitting, sewing and just about every other hand skill that involves a needle and thread, are Ruth’s passion and fittingly, at the centre of her one last “career” in Trail.

And, after a lifetime of stitchery, she has box upon box of fabric, patterns, baubles and bows to go along with her talent.

The obvious choice for Ruth and her partner Ron, was to open their own textile studio so she could start mending, altering and above all – begin teaching – the art of sewing and needlecraft.

The couple recently opened the doors, and are now offering classes to beginners and old hands alike, from Stitching Arts and More. The charming store is located across from Butler Park on Second Avenue in East Trail.

“We are both in our sixties, and there is the difficulty of getting work when you are in your sixties,” Ruth said. “And I had everything needed to start a sewing studio except the space, so we put our heads together, pooled our resources, and opened this up so I can begin teaching.”

Besides taking in local hockey and readying her business, one of the first things Ruth did when she moved to Trail was join the Ladies Auxiliary at the Trail Legion.

Ruth grew up in Fernie, where her dad, a veteran, was a Legion member.

Now she’s cutting and sewing new blue aprons for her fellow members to wear when serving at their many community functions throughout the year.

“When I came to Trail I thought, how appropriate it was for me to get involved with the Legion in the Kootenays,” she said. “They asked me if I could sew them new aprons, and it’s nice for the ladies to have a presentation apron, so that’s what I am working on now.”

For more information contact Ruth at Stitching Arts and More at 250.368.5554 or email stitchingarts@telus.net.