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Knitting hands help many stay warm

Local women make 80 hats for kids with cancer

Posted: January 17, 2010 9:41 p.m.
Updated: January 18, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Richard Steinmetz, general manager at Eternal Valley, thanks the ladies from the class at the SCV Senior Center on Tuesday for making the hats.

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There are red ones, blue ones, striped ones, frou-frou ones. Close to a hundred tiny, hand-knit hats were created by the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center's needlework and craft class for a very special cause.

"We read an article about Eternal Valley (Memorial Park & Mortuary) asking for hats for children with cancer. I went to the group and asked and everyone wanted to help," said Dorothy Katz of Newhall. "It's a joint effort, since Eternal Valley supports the center's respite care program."

Richard Steinmetz, Eternal Valley general manager, was touched by the group's efforts as they presented him with boxes of the hats. Steinmetz collected the cute caps as part of a Santa Clarita Valley-wide donation drive to present to young cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The center's offering was the largest.

"This is far beyond what I expected, you just did a beautiful job. That these hats are handmade just adds a really special touch," Steinmetz said. "I can't tell you what this means to me personally. It gives us a chance to help the children."

The hats were distributed with the help of Valencia's Michael Hoefflin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial and emotional support to children with cancer and their families in the Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys.

Since they formed more than 20 years ago, the knitting group has made countless heads, laps and hearts warm with their efforts.

They have regularly donated hats of all sizes and lap robes to patients at Valencia's Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and Children's Hospital, as well as to clients of the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter, The Santa Clarita Valley Pregnancy Center and homeless missions in Los Angeles.

"Lap robes are great for anyone in a wheelchair. We just need to know the communities' needs and we're happy to supply them," Katz said.

With approximately 30 regular members who meet every Monday and Friday, it's not just the knitting needles that click.

"It's companionship, camaraderie, whatever you want to call it," said Judy Allen of Valencia.

For others, it's a natural way to give back.

"I love to knit and crochet. Doing it for others is really worthwhile and meaningful. It just gives you a really good feeling," said Ana Marie Moore of Newhall.

The pattern used for hats by the group was created by Ed Pierce, late husband of Vickie Pierce, who died in April 2007. It's a circular double/single crochet style that lends itself to a multitude of interpretations.

"We started with baby hats, then expanded it to include children and adults, and started adding variations," Pierce said. "For baby hats, we use baby yarn. The other yarn is four-ply. Baby yarn is two-ply and very soft."

Sharon Hogan of Castaic delicately fingered a solid hunter green bonnet with a fluted edge and light beige bow.

"I love this hat. I didn't make it, but I just love it," she said with a smile. "We all share ideas here."

Each hat takes approximately two to three hours to make, depending on the number of colors used and whether it‘s finished with a rose or pom-pom, as many are.

Members often take their project home to complete. Materials are usually individually purchased, though yarn donations have also made their way to the group and are always welcome.

While most members are experienced with knitting and crocheting, newcomers to the crafts are welcome.

"We can teach them," Katz said.

For more information on the needlework and crafts class program at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, located at 22900 Market St., Newhall, call (661) 259-9444.

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