Several of Sue Caldwell's regular customers at the Lovelyarns store in Hampden told her they are out of work until the government shutdown ends.
That makes her sad, and listening to discussions on the radio about the shutdown frustrate her.
"It makes you realize that there's so little help," she said.
But Caldwell thinks the workers' hands aren't as tied as they may think. She has decided to do something to help on her own, if only in a small, symbolic way. On Thursday, she posted on Facebook and on her website, http://www.lovelyarns.com, an offer:
"Do you have unintended time on your hands? Come to Lovelyarns and let us put some knitting in them. Now is the perfect time to learn how to knit! It is NOT just for grannies! It's easy. It's a great stress reliever! You can make holiday gifts while you catch up on your favorite TV series. What else have you got to do?
"Effective immediately and until the government gets its act together, knitting classes are free to all furloughed employees. Just call the shop (at) 410-662-9276 to set up a time, and we are happy to get you on your way to becoming a knitter!
"*Note: please bring proof of furlough to your class."
Although the shutdown doesn't affect Caldwell, of Pikesville, personally, she got the idea while listening to discussions about the shutdown on National Public Radio's Diane Rehm Show.
"If it's trickling down to everybody, I figure they can sit down and learn to knit," Caldwell said.
She knew she had struck a chord when she got 450 hits and 12 "shares" within an hour of posting her message on Facebook..
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"That's pretty good.," she said.