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Knitted Knockers

Patti Waters

Many of you know that I am an American, and that I used to live in Maine several years ago. At that time my LYS was a small shop in Brunswick, ME called The Knitting Experience, and it was run by a lovely woman named Chesley. I base a lot of my guiding philosophy at Passionknit on how she ran her shop. WWCD, what would Chesley do? She was always warm, friendly and welcoming. Eventually I learned that the reason Chesley quit her "normal job" and decided to open a yarn shop was because she was a breast cancer survivor. In need of a job where she could set her own hours and spend as much time as she needed sitting down she opened her own business.

   Most of us regulars knew her story, and one of us, a warm and extremely maternal woman named Mary Ellen, came across the Knitty pattern Tit Bit by Beryl Tsang. Being a wonderfully generous person, Mary Ellen decided to make one for Chesley. She had often complained about the prosthetic she wore being uncomfortable, so Mary Ellen offered up this lovely alternative. I was there when Mary Ellen gave her this beautiful gift completely out of the blue, and to say that Chesley was touched would be an understatement. 

   Inspired by this gift, Chesley decided that more survivors deserved the handmade alternatives to the uncomfortable and expensive prosthetics. So Chesley decided to host a drive to inspire knitters to donate their time and spare yarn to make more Tit Bits to give away. I still remember the knit night we spent giggling as we tried to come up with a good name for the event. I don't remember which of us coined the term Knitted Knockers, but it has stuck.

   News of Chesley's beautiful story soon spread, and many more yarn shops decided to participate. You can now visit the Knitted Knockers website to either volunteer your time, donate a knocker or money to support other knitters or to request a knocker. Much like myself, this phenomenon found its way over the Northern border to Canada, and there is a Knitted Knockers of Canada website as well. 

   Today I am the LYS owner, and at Knit City last year my booth just happened to be right across from the Knitted Knockers of Canada booth. I was delighted to see how far and how big this idea has become. I am very proud to say that my store is a collection point for Knitted Knockers of Canada. This beautiful charity that now spans two countries and has helped countless women all started with one small gift. 

    As an American it is a very difficult time right now, and it is very reassuring to remember that one small act of kindness can snowball into a movement. Whatever side of the political fence you sit on, it is important to find positive ways to change the world around us. I hope you will knit a knocker. 


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