Caps &Lap Blankets donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering, Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Memorial, Robert Wood Johnson, Procure Cancer Center and Trinitas, New Jersey; Swedish Hospital, Seattle; Mount Sinai, New York, and Dana Farber, Massachusetts.
Knit Crochet with Love (KCWL) was formed in November 2016 one cold winter afternoon when Richa Gupta and Sudha Pai started talking about their passion for knitting and on a whim decided to form a group to make caps for the cancer society. Never in their wildest dreams, did they realize that their decision to revive a childhood hobby would have such a meaningful impact. KCWL team started with 5 members that grew steadily and today it stands at 100 + members with diverse backgrounds and varied levels of skills ranging in age from 14 to 94 years.
Sudha lost her brother-in-law and sister-in- law to cancer, as well as her maternal aunt, and Richa lost one of her a good friend to cancer. They found an organization called Knots of Love in California that distributes caps to patients undergoing chemotherapy. When Richa and Sudha learned that a half-million caps are needed across the country every year, they knew they had found their cause.
When Sudha and Richa started in 2016, they were thrilled with their first 50 caps. 2017 ended with 1,700 caps and in 2018 they surpassed their own goal of making 2,018 caps and ended up making 2,450 caps. This speaks volumes about the group’s dedication and commitment to this worthy cause.
Earlier last year, on a special request, a special blanket was made for a local child battling cancer using her favorite colors of pink and purple. It came out so beautifully that members decided to add blankets to their repertoire. KCWL produced 50 blankets last year.
One of the groups comprises retired ladies including a 92 and 94-year-old, who reside at the Fellowship Village in Basking Ridge. They make not only the caps and blankets, but also prayer shawls.
The ladies at Fellowship Village are an inspiration to everyone and much can be learnt from them. They find the knitting activities to be engaging and quite fulfilling. Knitting has also helped alleviate their symptoms of tendonitis and loneliness.
KCWL only uses the yarn recommended by the American Cancer Society and is 100% acrylic, dye-free, and contains no wool since wool may cause allergies. These caps and blankets are also washed and if requested, individually wrapped. KCWL even customizes the caps for the hospitals’ needs. For example, one hospital asked for airy caps for the summer, which the members call “holey caps.” Another hospital requested caps for men.
Over the last 2 years KCWL has shipped caps and blankets to Memorial Sloan, Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Memorial, Robert Wood Johnson, Procure Cancer Center and Trinitas in New Jersey; Swedish Hospital in Seattle (where Richa’s friend passed away), Mount Sinai in New York, and Dana Farber in Massachusetts, to name a few.
The beautiful letters from patients who use the caps and blankets have become a source of gratification, encouragement and pride for the group. All members now feel that they are helping the community and making a difference in a small but very impactful way.
In addition to the groups here in the USA, friends and families of the members living in India are now making caps for a local cancer hospital in Mumbai. One member’s mother- in-law in London makes caps and brings them with her whenever she visits. Another friend started a KCWL chapter in California.
The group meets:
Wednesdays, 9:30-10:45am, and on alternate Sundays at 5 pm, Hills Highlands Clubhouse, 75 Hansom Rd, Basking Ridge.
Wednesdays, 1:30pm, The Fellowship Village, 8000 Fellowship Road, Basking Ridge.
Please bring either a Crochet hook (4.5) or knitting needle (size 7). KCWL asks for a yearly donation of $10 to cover the miscellaneous expenses. An unlimited supply of yarn throughout the year is provided for chemo projects. Preferred brand of yarn – Carron’s Simply Soft.
No prior experience needed.
KCWL continues to grow steadily in New Jersey. What started in a basement of a Basking Ridge home on a cold winter evening in 2016, has now grown into a full-fledged non-profit organization of dedicated volunteers across the country and beyond.
For more information on how to become a member, Sudha and Richa can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caps & Lap Blankets donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering, Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Memorial, Robert Wood Johnson, Procure Cancer Center and Trinitas, New Jersey; Swedish Hospital, Seattle; Mount Sinai, New York, and Dana Farber, Massachusetts.