Vern Criner

Friendship goes beyond boundaries of expectation

September 13, 2012 // 0 Comments

Last week’s Squire story about Julie Carr, general friend of all who really showed her true colors by creating a truly enormous bedcover for her new acquaintance Vern Criner, was missing one key thing: a picture of the quilt she crocheted. See these two pictures including the beautiful bedcover, measuring an amazing nine feet two inches by six feet ten inches, and Carr and Criner together. When Criner saw the fine work Carr creates from her Richter Place apartment, he asked what he likely expected was a modest favor. Could Carr please crochet a cover for his bed in his own apartment? Carr took him at his request and then some, using an amazing 22 skeins of yarn to craft what is nothing short of amazing for Criner’s queen-sized bed. If anyone happens to see Carr out and about—she bowls at Rockford Lanes on Thursdays, loves to drive around thrift shopping, and is generally a very active 74—be sure to tell her you saw what a helpful heart, two months of hard work and a whole lot of yarn can turn into: a bed cover like no other.

Rockford woman a repeat offender in random acts of kindness

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA At age 64, Vern Criner is “the baby here” at Richter Place Apartments, a fair housing complex for residents age 62 and older. Julie Carr, 74, is his senior by 10 years. When she heard that the relative newcomer to the complex wished he had a bedspread, she sprang into action. With arthritis gloves to keep her hands warm and ward off cramping, Carr spent two months and used 22 skeins of yarn to create a bedcover fit for royalty. In the effort she spent in making and giving this huge cover—it measures nine feet two inches by six feet ten inches—Carr didn’t do anything she hasn’t done a thousand times before. Carr began crocheting about 47 years ago when she picked up a pin lace project of her sister, Mary. Carr was intrigued by the piece and tried her hand at it, lacing a row or two. “When I heard my sister coming I put it right down,” Carr described. She said her sister looked at her work and asked her what she thought she had been doing. “I said, ‘Nothing, I didn’t touch it,’ but she knew and pulled all my work out,” Carr said. Now her sister has since passed away, but after that introduction Carr took up the hobby herself and has been crocheting nearly five decades. “She gives to everyone,” said Carr’s best friend, referring not just to crocheted works but also of friendship and time. Seventy-six-year-old Shirley Heiman has been at Richter Place going on seven years. She said many of the residents at Richter Place have mementos of Carr’s generosity—towels, blankets, afghans, sweaters, pot holders, bottle holders, throws and covers. Residents give her the yarn or she buys her own. Heiman and Carr both say they enjoy their new friendship with Criner. Like other residents at the facility, he brings a surprising mix of talents. Criner’s floral designs grace the dining area at Richter Place. Some of his paintings have been purchased by a local hospital which displays them in reception areas. “He is just the sweetest man and we enjoy his company,” Heiman said. It isn’t only to people she knows that Carr extends her gifts of crochet. Carr heard from her church, Lake […]