We’re focusing on charity crafting this month, with the release of our new book Helping Hands: Made With Love, Given With Heart. You can buy the book (on sale for just $5.99!), or download the ebook for free! It contains six patterns in both knit and crochet, that are perfect for donating to a charity who could really use your help. In the book, we highlight some worthy campaigns, one of them being Knots of Love. We wanted to learn a bit more about them, so we asked Christine, from the organization, to answer some questions. Click through to read all about it!
Tell us a bit about your organization. When and how did it begin, and what is your mission?
Knots of Love was founded in June, 2007 and was born from a desire to help people in a loving and caring way. I was inspired by my friend, a 20-year cancer survivor, who saw a cap I made for my son. She mentioned how she would have loved a cap during her chemotherapy sessions. The caps help patients feel love, warmth, and dignity. Our caps give people a sense of style during this difficult time in their lives.
At Knots of Love, we are aware that hundreds, possibly thousands, of people lose their hair traumatically every day. Through the dedicated efforts of our volunteers, we are able to gift treatment centers Nationwide, with over 4,000 caps and neonatal blankets each month. To date, we have donated, (all given away free of charge) over 253,000 caps and neonatal blankets.
How do you gather handmade items from the public, and how do you distribute the items?
Each and every week we donate well over 1,000 caps and NICU blankets. Individuals from all over the country make their creations and send them to the Knots of Love office in Costa Mesa, CA. Each item is logged into a database and every MAKER is called and told where their item(s) were donated. We then lovingly place the items in bags and send them to over 560 hospitals, oncologist offices and VA cancer centers nationwide. Each facility is set up on an 8 to 12 week shipping rotation.
Tell us a story about how your campaign has touched a recipient of a donated item.
Patients and families feel very alone and isolated when they have cancer. Knots of Love is like an unknown friend. Making beanies for those suffering from traumatic hair loss is such a simple idea. The impact, this basic act of kindness, has had on thousands of people all over the world continues to amaze me.
One woman said, “Your hats are like a big hug on my head.”
I often hear: “It was easier to lose both breasts than it was to lose my hair.”
A loving daughter wrote:
I just want you to know that my dad wore your hats throughout his treatment and they were so comforting to him. The personal touch from these warming items meant a lot to him. Dad’s name was Roger. His 3 year fight against lung cancer ended in October. I thank you and your volunteers from the bottom of my heart for keeping him warm and comfy during his treatments. I have one of the hats with me and I put it on once in a while… just because.
Thank you for what you do for people. Comfort is so important for someone going through all that madness.
There’s a symbiosis to Knots of Love; not only are the recipients encouraged and comforted, but our knitting volunteers gain a sense of purpose in helping in a situation where they’ve probably felt impotent in the past. Many have been touched by cancer or had a fragile life in and incubator and this is a wonderful way for them to give back.
What would you tell people who would like to make things for your campaign?
The process for donating your caps and or NICU blankets (18” x 24”) is very simple:
1. Using any of the yarns on our required yarn list, create a hand-made cap. (There are many patterns on our web site, but use any pattern of your choice.) All of the yarns on our list have been deemed soft enough for a sensitive, often blistered cancer patient’s bald head.
2. Using the submission form on our site, mail your caps or neonatal blankets to Costa Mesa, CA. The form enables us to keep track of the number of caps and or blankets you donate and let you know where they’re sent. It also supplies the information needed for us to send you a tax-donation letter at the end of the year (upon your request).
3. Both the yarn list and the submission form can be found and printed from our web site. http://www.knotsoflove.org/resources/how-to-donate-caps/
Thanks, Christine! We’d like to recommend Comfy or Shine, as Knots of Love really love cotton yarns for these projects. We hope you’re inspired to knit a hat or blanket for someone in need – your “helping hands” could really make a difference!