The red caps are tiny, but the hearts behind the stitches are big.
For years, the Tuesday Night Knitting Group has used needles and yarn to create for others during their weekly sessions at First Presbyterian Church. However, they got more than they expected when they connected with the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts project. The aim of the project is to raise awareness of heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the United States, and congenital heart defects, which are the most common type of birth defect.
“We’ve had more interest in this than anything we’ve ever done,” said knitter Laurie Teague, who discovered the project and patterns through a Facebook knitting group.
Since Dec. 1, the group, along with friends, has knitted and crocheted 250 caps to cover the tiny heads of babies born during February at North Mississippi Medical Center Women’s Hospital.
Each cap took about two hours. The knitters donated the yarn, time and expertise to make it happen. The requirements were simple – the tiny caps needed to be red and made from washable, cotton or acrylic yarn. But it took more than just knitting on Tuesday nights for the 17 knitters and crocheters to meet their goal.
“I would knit a quarter of every (football) game I watched,” said Vivian Fleming of Tupelo.
The tiny red caps have been a hit with new parents, said Angela Henderson, mother-baby nurse manager at NMMC Women’s.
“All of the moms have been really receptive,” Henderson said. “They’ve all put them on, and some have talked about putting it in a shadow box (as a keepsake.)”
With a purpose
The Tuesday Night Knitting Group has been stitching with a purpose for at least eight years.
To assist Sanctuary Hospice House, they created scarves to sell at Celebration Village. They’ve made hats for patients at North Mississippi State Hospital. They made dish towels and coasters for the Salvation Army’s Empty Bowls lunch. They’ve knitted hats for cancer patients.
The next project is to create hats and scarves for the Salvation Army to assist the homeless.
“It’s fun to do something different,” Teague said, after working so intensely on little red caps.
The group is open to anyone. Although several members attend First Presbyterian, others hail from churches around the city. Beginners are welcome to sit in and learn. Anyone who would like to join can contact Teague at (662) 841-1080.
“It’s a fun group because we talk a lot,” Fleming said. “It’s a good support group.”