Comfort = Beauty = Feeling Your Best

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Months into the pandemic, I saw an article in Guideposts Magazine written by Ruth Gates describing how a knitting project had lifted her from depression after the death of her husband. As a knitter and crocheter for years, I was fascinated by the project’s concept and results.

Ruth described how Barbara Demorest discovered knitted knockers, a soft, lightweight breast prosthesis that can be used by women who don’t have breast reconstruction, or they can be used prior to breast reconstruction. A Google search yielded, Knitted Knockers Support Foundation, and I learned of its global reach.

Barbara is a fount of information and loves to share her enthusiasm and how this organization has grown. “There are a number of personal components to knitted knockers,” she shared. “Knitted Knockers brought passion and purpose to my life. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a mastectomy, I was at a dark and empty spot in my life. When my friend made me this gift of comfort and dignity, it changed everything for me. It was so light, soft and beautiful and, best of all, made by someone who cared. I knew immediately that we needed to provide these to doctors’ offices so women who were struggling with this difficult time could experience the same joy of knowing someone cared enough about them to make them this wonderful practical gift for no personal gain, but just because they cared. Knitted Knockers has brought not only joy at a difficult time to thousands of women such as myself but also brought purpose to the many thousands of knitters and crocheters who make them knowing their crafting is making a difference.”

The group connects volunteer knitters and crocheters with breast cancer survivors to provide free knitted knockers “We do this by inspiring and equipping volunteers to make them, with free patterns and videos on how to make great knockers. The patterns have been downloaded over one million times!” she continued. Today, there are more than 4,000 individuals and groups in all 50 states and 33 countries that are registered with the 501(c)3 nonprofit, headquartered in Bellingham, Washington.

“We didn’t invent Knitted Knockers,” Barbara noted. “A week after I received my first gift of a knitted knocker, I reached out to the young woman in Maine who had named them after making some for herself. I asked if I could use the name and share them freely with others; she was thrilled as she was no longer able to do so.

Many women find the traditional breast prosthesis hot and heavy. Knitted knockers are made with a carefully compiled list of approved yarns that have been tested and proven to be washable, stay soft after air drying, breathable, durable, the correct weight and make beautiful knockers. “Our challenge has always been to identify yarns that are preferred by our recipients, available and affordable. The list has over 30 choices that can be purchased at local stores or online at a variety of price points,” Barb noted.

The cost per average-sized knocker using these yarns can vary from about $1.20 to $2.00 per knocker. They are very affordable when you think about the difference it makes to the women who wear them! For the wearer, it is crucial that the knocker fiber not exacerbate a highly sensitive part of a woman’s body that may have already suffered from surgical scarring, nerve damage and possible radiation burns. To minimize the chances of this happening, it’s important that knitters and crocheters choose a yarn that’s already tested. Barb notes that the foundation receives constant affirmation that these ladies truly appreciate the time and talent that a caring volunteer took to make these for them.” One of my favorite yarns is Paintbox Cotton DK, available in a stunning palette of colors—56 of them!

A glance at the website or Facebook page for Knitted Knockers Support Foundation reveals that women and men of all ages and around the world are involved in creating these soft puffs. And women of all ages and around the world request them. Reach out to a local breast health clinic or breast cancer survivor, and connect to other women.

But let’s not give short shrift to the many survivors who have lost their hair and want to continue their style. Cold weather is on the way, and patterns abound, mostly free or for minimal charge, for the beginner to the most expert yarn enthusiast. Ravelry, Bernat Yarn Studio and many more offer elegance, which in my humble opinion, equates to love. And remember, too, the prayer shawl, a warming wrap for hands and feet devastated by chemo.

Can you all catch my passion for yarn arts? So pick up your needles and hooks and get going!

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