Decade after decade, she has been crocheting. While her pieces have reached the corners of the country, the earnings go for a special cause.
She has lived to the age of 100 and she's had a number of experiences, as one would expect. But the one thing that hasn't changed for Erma Palmiter, decade after decade, is her love for crocheting. When you walk into her home in Newaygo, Michigan on a regular day, you would find her nimble fingers crocheting away, making beautiful pieces that go to different corners of the country, and sometimes even abroad.
It was at the age of 12 where Erma was taught the art of crocheting by her mother, and ever since then it turned into something special for her. And almost everyone in the crocheting world knows her name. Kristine Palmiter, Erma's granddaughter told FOX 17, "Her typical day, which is everyday, she gets up about 9:30 a.m. to have breakfast and do her little morning routine. By 10:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m. she sits in her chair and crochets, and continues to crochet until about 7 o'clock at night."
Erma celebrated her 100th birthday this year on the 30th of January. But she is still able to crochet for hours together. The only difference is that now she uses a magnifying glass while crocheting to see her work better. But even after all these decades, her handiwork is still just as creative and fresh as it was when she started out.
"I started crocheting when I was 12 years old," said Erma. "My mother taught me how to do it, and I started making things for her, and different people. She taught me how to quilt too, but I dropped that, it was (sic) more interesting to crochet."
Before she decided to dedicate all her time to her number one passion, Erma worked as a teacher in school, which was another passion that she got to fulfill until her retirement in 1981. During her teaching years, she used to crochet hats and other prizes for her kindergarteners, and her first and second graders. And after retirement, she invested in her hobby full time and sold afghans, doilies and crocheted towels in the process.
But even as she has been selling her crochet pieces for years now, she hasn't kept any of the earnings for herself. She buys her own materials, crochets her pieces and gives the money to the preschool program at her local church, Christ Lutheran Church in White Cloud. Having been a teacher herself, she's no stranger to the challenges that come with teaching the kids of tomorrow. And she's able to lend them a big hand.
Erma said "They need some help paying the teacher, paying for the materials that they use to teach the children with ... I just like children, and the more anyone can educate them, get them going for the rest of their life, I'd like to help." The amount that Erma donates every year is quite a bit. "Last year we turned in $5,000," said Erma. "I've already turned in $500 this year." And it's only been 2 months.
People all over the country have taken notice of her great work. Kristine said, "Everybody, everybody and their brother knows who Erma Palmiter is from crocheting. It just seems like the more she does, the more people want to help, the more people want to buy, they want to contribute."
One of her special pieces was the one that found its way to the local fire department and is titled "Fireman's Prayer". But that's not all. She even sent a piece to the White House that included the Declaration of Independence. And in return, she received a special note that thanked her for her work.
A sense of purpose helps people happily grow old and they cross the age of 90 or 100. And given her passion and dedication for the activity, that purpose for Erma might as well be crocheting. But she remains to be modest about the entire thing, even though her work is making a significant difference to the lives of others. All she humbly had to say about her secret to long health was, "I have no idea, just the Lord's blessing I guess. I just take my vitamins and do what the doctor tells me."
After so many years of weaving joy into the lives of others, she continues to stay hale and hearty, and is quite the dynamite in her own beautiful way. "We've been absolutely blessed to have her for all these years," said Roger, her youngest son. "She's really an inspiration for a lot of people. She's just a joy to be around. And, she'll whoop you at the card table too."
Watch the video of the inspirational woman.