Saturday, May 16, 2009

Women on a Mission

Last year I heard about a project by two members of the Houston Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. These two women were making knit caps for local cancer patients. They packaged them three to a bag with a decorative pin. Together, with a little help from the Kingwood neighborhood group, they made well over a hundred of these caps last spring for which the patients were very grafeul.

In order to continue their great work, I was given almost one hundred and fifty (150!) yards of various knits to make up caps this year. These knits were bought at clearance tables, found in stashes and generally were provided without huge cash expenditures. Over the past couple of months about six of us, primarily members of the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild, were able to make over 200 caps. We have already given out about sixty of them and I am busily packaging up the rest to give out over the next few months.

This is a great but simple project you can either use your serger or sewing machine to make them up. These caps can make a real impact on the lives of those who are losing, or have lost, their hair due to chemotherapy. The pattern we have been using is from Nancy's Notions Creative Kindness line and can be accessed for free here.

If you take on this project there are a couple of things we have learned. T-shirt quality double stretch cottons knits are really the best. Many polyester based knits either stretch only a little or way too much. Thermal cottons also work well but seem to easily stretch out of shape. Velour however is positively fabulous to work with and feels good on a naked head. We worked with a huge variety of knits but cut them all to the same size and ended up with about six different sizes from teeny tiny to extra, extra large. A variety of sizes is a good thing but I wish our results had not been so unplanned.

Anyway, I hope this project is something we can take on every year as the need will never really diminsh. I already have a lot of knits left over from this year's sewing frenzy to give us a good start. Once I get all the ones we have made distributed I will start bugging/begging for more knits for next next year as well as finding a source for decorative pins. JoAnn's and Tuesday Morning both had huge amounts of pretty pins for about a dollar each earlier this year but I think we have cleared out all of the ones in Houston so I will be on the hunt for other sources. Fortunately one of our workers is a great shopper and I hope she can point us to more sources.

I find this project so typical of women when faced with a medical crisis. We can go through all the emotional stuff that goes with a potentially life threatening illness but then we sit down and try to make the journey more pleasant.

Women on this mission included Janetta, Lish, Marjory, Fonda, Margo, Mary Jane and me and many, many others who either directly or indirectly contributed pins, fabric and zip lock bags. I especially want to thank the Houston Chapter of the American Sewing Guild for contributing many, many yards of fabric from their storage locker to give this project a big boost.

I am now off to hunker down and hope that the big storms headed this way leave the power on long enough for me to get a quilt quilted.


heather fish said...

As you know, this is a project near and dear to my heart. It is a wonderful thing you are doing. And hope your power never went out at all!

Anonymous said...

it was fun and fabulous! We enjoyed making them, and know the recipents will love them too!