Della Steward recalls learning to knit from her grandmother one summer as she sat in a wheelchair recovering from an illness. She says knitting brings back warm memories of those times.
The 56-year-old Allentown woman shared her feelings, time, and talent during the “Knit In” on Dec. 3, 2016, at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, sponsored by the hospital’s auxiliary. Some 32 knitters, from the auxiliary, the LVHN workforce, and the community, gathered to craft caps for the babies who will be born in the hospital’s Family Birth and Newborn Center, which will open in summer 2017.
“As a group, it is good to sit and share time together,” Steward says.
The “Knit In” was organized by auxiliary President Grace Ritter, who has been leading the volunteer group for more than 20 years and is still going strong.
“Our goal is to knit 1,200 hats by July,” Ritter says. “I think we will exceed our goal. We so far have 300 hats.”
The room echoed with laughter and chatter as knitters took pride in their work and their hands moved fast to crochet and knit the hats. Participants enjoyed light refreshments courtesy of volunteer services.
While most women knitted or crocheted hats for newborns, some made hats for chemotherapy patients, to whom the hospital donates the wool hats.
“I love doing things for the hospital. It’s very rewarding to know we can make a patient feel better,” Ritter says. “It really makes us feel good when people appreciate us.”
Attendees and their commitment to the cause ran deep. Bernie Frantz, a member of the auxiliary since 1959, says she enjoys helping. Consignment shop owner Deb Coscia says she read about the “Knit In” event on Facebook and decided to attend.
However, dedication and commitment were not the only reason crafters attended. One participant expressed a deep connection to knitting.
“Our auxiliary does not know how to say no to things like this. When we found out the new pavilion was being built, we knew that we wanted to do something for patients, and what we could do for them was knit,” Ritter says. “Our auxiliary is dedicated and does everything from the heart.
“This was so exciting. It’s wonderful so many people want to knit for the Family Health Pavilion.”