Hats for the Homeless

It was the beginning of January and Diane Blanchet, Katherine Taylor and I were back in the office exchanging holiday stories when Katherine pulled out a wonky-looking plastic hoop and a big ball of wool from her purse.  An explanation quickly followed.

It started while Katherine was on the hunt for Christmas gifts for the eldest of her two daughters. She came across some knitting looms at the back of a Michael’s store. “When I saw the looms, I remembered how beautiful and prolific a knitter my mom had been,” said Katherine. “She tried to teach me several times but never had the patience to learn. But when I saw these I thought to myself – my daughter would love to do that – I would love to do that!” (The looms make knitting fun and simple, minimizing the complexities that often arise if one takes to the two-needle method.)

So of course by the end of the Christmas holidays, Katherine and her two daughters had become knitting fanatics and had pumped out several darling wool-knit hats.


When Katherine had finished explaining, naturally Diane and I were curious.

The next day saw the three of us heading out to pick up some looms, wool and give it a try. Soon enough we were pumping out all sorts of cozy hand-knit accessories!

Our knitting club was in full swing in no time, knitting in the evenings and comparing progress daily. Soon others started noticing and asking questions which got the wheels in Katherine’s head turning… “If we are going to do this during our lunch hour at work,” she thought, “How can we get more people involved?” Then it came to her – Hats for the Homeless!

So the knitting club collaborated together and rolled the idea in Oakville thinking a few people might join.  However, within an hour of sending out the email, 18 people had already committed to the cause and wanted to join or donate in some way!DSCN2039

Under the careful instruction of Diane and Katherine, the new knitters have soared to knitting independence!  Originally, we a goal of 15 hats to donate between Covenant House and Hannah House by Valentine’s Day.  As of today (January 22nd) we’ve already surpassed that, shout out to Susan Leavitt for already working on her 4th hat! People are even getting their kids and friends in on it and pitching in with several of their own hand-knit hats!  We are simply amazed and inspired by the buzz and the willingness of so many to get on board.

As Diane put it, “It’s been amazing to see how many people have come out to participate in this, some at first just curious, others doubting they could produce an object that would look like a hat because they’ve never knit before.  I think all people get immense satisfaction from creating with their hands, and we’re all capable on various levels. The loom broke down the barriers for those who thought they couldn’t knit. This project has unleashed the creativity and generosity of a lot of people!”

I don’t think Katherine’s mom ever thought her passion for knitting would be adopted by her daughter, but if she could see the overwhelming enthusiasm and generosity that has come from Katherine’s idea, I’m sure she would be very, very proud.