Mary Lou Kellar

Mary Lou Kellar of Fort Mohave makes hats using this round loom and gives many of them away to those who need them. The U.S. Navy veteran is also involved in area veterans groups and belongs to some honor guards. 

FORT MOHAVE — It can get chilly along the Colorado River during the winter months — especially overnight.

Mary Lou Kellar has been creating knitted hats so people can keep their head and ears warm at this time of the year.

She can make about one hat each day and does it while watching television.

“It keeps my hands busy,” she said.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Kellar, 82, served for 14 years. Her duty was as a hospital corpsman who focused on dental care.

Also a bugler and member of various local honor guard groups, she has played the instrument during ceremonies as a member of American Legion Post 87 Honor Guard and United Veterans Honor Guard. 

She has bugled for Tri-State Veterans Honor Guard, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 10386, and others.

It’s a valued skill in an area where there are many veterans and honor guards, Kellar said.

Veterans United, American Legion and Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council are among the veterans groups she is or has been involved with over the years not only in the Tri-state but also in Oregon and Iowa — locations where she lived previously.

She created hats given out to homeless veterans during past “Stand Down” events. 

A woman using a loom at an event inspired her to want to try it, she explained.

The Salvation Army received 50 of her hats earlier this month. Those hats will go to local homeless people.

Kellar uses a round loom knitter to create the colorful hats. A hooked needle is used to pull the yarn around the teeth of the loom to create stitches. The shape comes from the loom itself and she 

will create the hats from a circle that’s about eight inches tall. She starts at the bottom edge and knits her way up.

“Enough to pull the cap over your ears,” she said.

Kellar will add a pompom to the tops of some hats, but has learned that men and boys often prefer not to have pompoms. So she just sews the tops of those hats together.

Women seem to like lighter-colored caps.

However, Kellar hears from people who want caps that are red, white and blue.

One woman wanted a “blue, white and red cap,” she said.

She is concerned about arthritis slowing her hat-making and said she hopes her doctor can do something to help with it soon. 

“It’s becoming harder to use the needle,” she said.

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