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Knitting Project Creates Joy, Inspires Others

What separates a craftsperson from the rest of us, is the ability to turn something simple or mundane into something beautiful and practical. It is more than simply having the right tools to work with: it’s taking those tools, investing time to learn to use them correctly, and then applying a creative eye to make the tools produce something special. That’s what happened this year, when Karen learned make hats on her knitting loom.

For the last four and a half years, Karen has lived with Joyce and Del in a Home Share arrangement facilitated by Communitas Supportive Care Society. Joyce says that Karen loves to be active and busy. She enjoys walks, word-searches and puzzles, and any activity that she can do with her hands. Karen lives with a developmental disability and is deaf. This sometimes prevents her from participating in conversations around her.

“At home we use sign-language to communicate,” Joyce explains. “When she’s in other situations, she can’t understand much of the conversation that’s going on around her, which is why she likes to keep her hands busy.”

These are just a few of the many hats that Karen has knit

The pandemic has meant that Karen has spent much more time at home than usual. Usually, she would attend a day program five days a week and she faithfully attends church, which is very important to her. One of the things that truly gives Karen joy is when she can help others. In past years, Karen has knit scarves to include in Christmas hampers that their church gives out each year. Since the beginning of the pandemic , she has filled her days with knitting hats, a project she can complete from start to finish all by herself.

In the summer and fall, their church was still able to meet in small numbers and during that time, it held a fundraiser to support their new building project. Karen wanted to contribute, so she decided to knit hats and sell them, donating all the proceeds to the fundraiser.

“She brought a selection of her hats to set out on a table after church one Sunday with a suggested donation of $10 per hat,” Joyce says. “The hats were really popular. She sold out so quickly that she rushed home to knit more before the next Sunday!”

Hats made for church sold out quickly!

Over the course of a couple of months, Karen sold enough hats to raise $605.00 for the church’s building project. Shopping for yarn was exciting as she explored using different colours, making each hat unique. She also inspired others.

“She really demonstrated that we can all do our part to help others,” Joyce says. “The affirmation and the ‘happy dances’ of those who bought and modelled her hats made the experience very special for Karen.”

Karen has since taught three children to knit hats for themselves. She’s also found joy – and laughter – in sharing the skill with her 2-year-old great-niece, who has become quite proficient at unravelling yarn and wrapping it around her fingers!

Karen with her great-niece.

What began as a small effort to support a cause she believed in, has turned into a successful and satisfying experience. Altogether, Karen has knit 96 hats this year – so far.

“Knitting hats has given Karen purpose and filled her days with happiness,” Joyce says.

Clearly, Karen’s commitment to her craft and her generous heart, have also provided joy and happiness for others. Our hats go off to her!

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