GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — If you can quickly assemble an M-16 rifle, you might have the manual dexterity needed to knit a scarf, say staff members at the Heart and Home Craft Shop due to open next week.

The shop will combine staff, equipment and materials from the Vilseck craft shop with the existing Grafenwöhr facility, said assistant manager Barbara Donahue. The Vilseck shop, which Donahue used to run, closed in June. A third craft shop at Hohenfels closed last March.

Heart and Home’s other assistant manager, Carmen Van Patten, said most people who visit craft shops are spouses, but soldiers often come in wanting to frame keepsakes such as coin collections or to engrave gifts for other soldiers on special occasions.

The craft shop, which will have eight staff members, will include a frame shop, a photography studio, areas to practice knitting and crocheting, flower arranging, scrap-booking, quilting, beading and engraving.

One of the hottest crafts in the U.S. these days is scrap-booking, which involves adding embellishments and “cutesies” to photo albums, Donahue said.

The shop will run free knitting and scrap-booking groups, while other craft classes will require charging a small fees.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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