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Knit Wits: Knitting for a cause

  • Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Monica Kreber/Journal Scene The Knit Wits have made around 400 knitted hats for adult cancer patients – and they are still making more.

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Once a month a group of women gather at Kathi Miller’s house in Cane Bay.

They arrive armed with snacks, gossip, stories and laughter. There are usually about 10 of them and they typically hang out for about two hours during these monthly gatherings.

And they spin quite a yarn, too.

June 11 is no different when the women assemble in Miller’s living room. It is 10 a.m. and they have pulled out their knitting needles – some crocheting – and have helped themselves to a bin full of yarn that sits next to Miller’s couch. The women sit in a circle and chat.

They call themselves the Knit Wits – and they knit for a cause.

“I think it’s fun – we have a lot of fun,” Miller said.

For more than five years Miller has been a proud survivor of breast cancer. After a successful lumpectomy and radiation treatment she joined a support group for cancer survivors. She soon took up knitting hats for cancer patients and ended up making 200 hats, delivering them to cancer centers around the area. She decided to get her friends involved and four months ago the Knit Wits came to be.

The group has made about 400 hats for adult cancer patients.

“We just make hats, that’s what we do,” Miller said.

The group operates off of donated products and they have many bins of yarn.

No two hats are alike – they come in different colors and are adorned with different decorations such as pins, feathers, old pieces of jewelry, ribbon, flowers, bows and more. Each hat comes with a card that reads: “Hand knit for you with love by the Knit Wits.”

“These are just friends in the neighborhood and friends of friends,” Miller said about the group. “It’s very much needed.”

For Miller the philanthropy gives her the satisfaction that she and her friends are making cancer patients happy.

“It’s something they can look forward to,” she said. “It (cancer) is a horrible disease. Once you get it, it’s always in the back of your mind.”

Miller originally learned how to knit when she was in college and her roommate taught her. Jackie Fortney, another woman in the group, learned how to knit when she was 8 years old.

“I think getting together with everyone is just nice,” Fortney said.

Mary Wraab originally taught herself how to knit when her daughter was a little girl. She took it up again as a way to occupy herself when her husband went through cancer treatment. When he passed away seven years ago, she dropped the knitting needles, but picked them back up again when she decided to join the Knit Wits – and she is glad she did.

“I actually find it relaxing,” she said, adding it is a nice way to be productive when doing something low-key like watching television.

Member Ardis Schuele said she gets enjoyment out of knowing cancer patients will be able to pick out a hat they really want.

“The fun part for me is deciding: what colors do I want to pick today?” she said. “I love it very much. It’s a nice way of giving back and I give back as much as I can.”

Miller has delivered her hats to places like the Medical University of South Carolina, Trident Medical, Roper St. Francis, the Charleston Cancer Center and East Cooper Hospital. She plans to find more cancer centers.

Miller knits one hat per night. She loves how the group is “recycling” by using donated yarn – unwanted stuff that people chose to donate instead of throwing it away.

This summer the group plans to make cotton hats – something a little cooler than knitted caps. During their most recent meeting the group threw out other ideas of what to make for cancer patients – shawls for male patients, or perhaps knit slippers.

“It’s wonderful,” Miller said. “It’s serving a purpose.”

How to help

To donate yarn, buttons, flowers, jewelry, ribbon, etc. Miller can be reached at kathimiller11@gmail.com.

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