theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 17, 2008

From Susan — Wrapped in Care

Filed under: Wrapped in Care — lv2knit @ 11:05 pm

Knitters are very kind and generous people.  Generous in spirit and generous by giving of themselves in the form of knitting.  I think most of us are more excited by the giving of a knitted item than the recipient.  It is an expression of love, affection, and caring — the gift of our time and talent, which is the most precious gift of all.  When asked, knitters step up to the plate every time.  I’ve seen it happen many times over, and I am counting on it now.  Prove me right, knitting peeps!

Wrapped in Care Shawl Project
I was approached recently by the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics — St. Paul about an idea they had come up with in their Bereavement Support Group —  a group for mothers who have suffered the death of an infant.  They would like to provide these women with a hand-knitted shawl at the time when they must say their final good-byes. 

The grieving parents often want to take a picture with their baby as a lasting memento.  If the mother has not already been discharged, she can be photographed holding her baby in a beautiful hand-knit shawl instead of a hospital gown.  Wrapped in Care.

They sought me out because they know I am an avid knitter — they wondered if I would be willing to knit a shawl for this fledgling idea of theirs.  And, did I happen to know any other knitters who might be interested.  It took me a few minutes to think about it (I am a bit slow on the uptake!). 

Do I know any knitters?
Until a few years ago, I was a solitary knitter, “networked” only with my sister.  Now, I am part of a weekly knitting group, a VP of the Knitters Guild, a regular blogger, and part of the Ravelry community.  I am linked to hundreds, no thousands, of knitters both locally and worldwide through the internet.  I started to think, wow, I could really get the word out and make this happen!

The Fates Played a Hand
Part of my role as a VP of the MKG is to plan monthly programs for the membership meetings.  The June 2008 program was selected long before I knew anything about the shawl project and the June topic: “Share Your Shawl” a member show-and-share of their gorgeous hand-knit shawls.  The program was held this evening, and it was an amazing sight — 47 of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring shawls you have ever seen! 

I thought this meeting would be the perfect time to roll out the “Wrapped in Care Shawl Project” and tie it into the “Share Your Shawl” theme.

I also realized that even though people have wonderful intentions, sometimes they get side-tracked as time goes by.  So, I went to the United Hospital Foundation and asked for funding for some free shawl kits to take to the Guild meeting.  I thought if people took a kit home, they would be more likely to knit a shawl.  So, I distributed 15 shawl kits at the meeting tonight.  Way to go, Guild Members!!!  Thanks in advance for your support!  Mwah!

This will be an ongoing effort with no specific deadline — too many shawls are needed.  United and Children’s are topnotch hospitals and provide excellent care to mothers and infants — but even so, 200 women each year leave the hospital with empty arms.

What can you do?
Please consider knitting a shawl!  I know many of you do charity knitting and many others are waiting to be inspired.  The details are included in the flyer and brochure linked below (and in the right-hand corner of the blog).  The finished shawls can be sent directly to Children’s Hospital.

My Thursday knitting peep, Emily, has really stepped up to the plate.  She is already on her third shawl!  Bless your heart, Emily — you’re wonderful!  Here are the shawls she knitted:

 The shawls do not need to be expensive.  And “easy care” is the key.  For the shawl kits, I did a lot of my shopping at JoAnn Fabrics (I know :)).  The Yarnery was another source!  The Bereavement Support Group said that soft yarn is preferred, in muted, non-variegated colors (or with very gentle variation in color) — these photograph the best. 

And please, help get the word out. 
Link this to everyone, everywhere.  I have created a pdf flyer and a bi-fold brochure that explain all the details, such as where to send the shawls, etc.  Take them to your knitting groups.  Link them to your blogs!  There are many free shawl patterns to choose from out there, such as The Alix Prayer Shawl and The Adamas ShawlI have also written up the two, very easy patterns pictured above.

Wrapped in Care Flyer

Wrapped in Care Free Patterns

These links will be available permanently in the right-hand column of our blog.

I am honored and humbled to be a part of this project.  I feel like it was meant to be — that the reason I blog and have linked up with other knitters over the years happened for a purpose.  I am so excited to share this with all of you!! 

Please help make this a reality.


  1. Oh, that’s such a wonderful idea!

    St. Paul Kids’ does great work (I did a bit of my training there); and I unfortunately have delivered some of these heartbreaking babies in my time.

    I will pass the word on, and I will knit a shawl to share.

    Comment by Cathy-Cate — June 18, 2008 @ 12:10 am

  2. beautiful idea. i will definitely make a shawl or two this year for this project. i can not imagine the pain these women go through.

    (p.s. we met at the harlot after her talk, i wanted to see your beautiful kauni sweater up close! 🙂 )

    Comment by cori w — June 18, 2008 @ 12:39 am

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I am the director of the knitting ministry at my church and we have been looking to expand our giving. I love this idea! We have TONS of Children’s Hospitals in Colorado, hopefully they are participating as well. Thanks!

    Comment by Dana — June 18, 2008 @ 2:15 am

  4. What a lovely idea! Add me to your list of volunteers — I’m off to find the perfect yarn and pattern!

    Comment by Soo — June 18, 2008 @ 2:52 am

  5. At the moment I am rather joyfully knitting a stole of superwash merino that has no home. It would be wonderful if it could find a home through your project. Rather unfortunately, is bright pink. However, it is soft and warm. Would you like it? (

    Comment by Gale — June 18, 2008 @ 7:42 am

  6. I’m in.

    Comment by Tiny Tyrant — June 18, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

  7. Truly a special idea. Knitters are special and generous people!

    Comment by Wendy O'C — June 18, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  8. I took a “class” in prayer shawls this last winter and at the end of the class, a specific donation point had not been designated … and now here you are with this gentle and loving destination for shawls. Thank you.

    Comment by Susan — June 18, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

  9. What a wonderful idea. Must cast one on!!!

    Comment by melissa — June 18, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  10. My mom, who lost a child herself would probably love to help but she doesn’t knit. Would a crocheted shawl be acceptable?

    Comment by Joan K — June 18, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

  11. I saw your new group on Ravelry and had to check out your blog post. This is such an amazing thing you are doing. As a mom who left the hospital with empty arms, not once but twice, I can tell you that receiving such a gift would have meant a lot to me. Something to hug, to wrap tightly around me, to cry and scream into. Oh, I am teary as I write this. I have prayed that your efforts will be blessed and that the mothers who receive the shawls are comforted by them.

    Thank you so much for doing this!!!

    Comment by Blue Bird — June 18, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

  12. I’m so glad all your kits got grabbed up. I didn’t take one – I am so fussy about my yarn that I wanted to choose my own. I’m thinking Dream In Color Smooshy in a soft hue. I can’t promise a time of finishing as I am just taking on a new job assignment and don’t know how much of my life it will eat, but it will happen eventually.

    And when I get my act together, I’ll link to this post, too, so others can get involved.

    Comment by twinsetellen — June 19, 2008 @ 12:11 am

  13. I’m one who has been waiting. Thanks, Susan.

    Comment by Kerry — June 19, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  14. This may take me a while, since I’m the world’s slowest knitter, but as long as there’s no deadline, I’m in. And I put a quick post on my blog about the program this morning, too. Thank you. You’re doing a wonderful thing. (But I’m sure you already know that!)

    Comment by Stephanie — June 19, 2008 @ 11:12 am

  15. I read this blog regularly and today you touched my heart. My brother and sister in law lost a baby years ago, I was with them when they lost their full term baby boy. I am taking these flyers to my LYS and Thursday night knit group. This group is part of a larger network of groups that meet in the Northbay of San Francisco. Thank you for this post!

    Comment by Kim MacKenzie — June 19, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

  16. What a wonderful project! I’ll post on my blog and intend to get at least one shawl out this year.

    Comment by Lana — June 22, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  17. I can’t imagine how those women feel. Losing a child has to be the worst thing ever. I will be happy to contribute to this cause. I think I’ll head on over to the Loopy Ewe and pick up some Dream in Color Baby which she happens to have on sale right now if you join the knit-a-long.

    Comment by Debbie — June 22, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

  18. Came from Wendy Knits… Count me in!! I’m a recently retired NICU nurse who has dealt with so many of these parents in my lifetime. Having a tangible reminder of their baby means so much after they have left the hospital. Thank you for doing this.

    Comment by Elaine — June 23, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

  19. Losing a child is a horror beyond description – and there’s so much baggage and pain that accompanies the loss of an infant. I am touched by this beautiful idea and would feel blessed to be able to make a shawl for your project!

    Comment by farm-witch — June 23, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

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