The holiday season is a wonderful time to knit for others and to be thankful for all that we have. In the spirit of the season, we decided to interview another one of our favorite charity bloggers, Robin Celli. Robin Celli is the knitter behind the popular blog, Knitting With Schnapps.
Who taught you to knit?
I taught myself to knit in October of 2009.
Tell us about how you got into charity knitting. Was there a specific instance in your life that motivated you to knit for others?
I wanted to use this new skill to help others. So many people battle cancer every single day that it seemed like a no-brainer to start making chemo caps. I contacted Sue Thompson who started Head Huggers, and she asked if I was willing to start a splinter group of Head Huggers here in Delaware. I thought it sounded like a great way to help others, so in December of 2009 Delaware Head Huggers started.
Tell us a little more about the charities in which you’re involved.
I run two charities out of my home in my free time. It’s amazing to me that they both grew so quickly. So many people want to help others, but aren’t sure how to do so. The public libraries in Delaware have been a huge help to me. They allow items to be dropped off to save shipping costs for many people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate.
Delaware Head Huggers makes handmade chemo caps and ships them to treatment centers and individuals throughout the United States. I accept all sizes, colors and styles of handmade caps. They can be knit, crocheted or sewn.
Delaware Head Huggers is also the provider of hats for Kidshealth.org, which is part of the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. They have produced a video that helps pre-school age children understand what to expect from their cancer treatment. These hats match the hat of the puppet in the video, Finn. We make them in all sizes. The hats are given to children who are beginning cancer treatment. Classmates, teachers, friends and relatives are also given hats so they can show their support. At this time, hats were given to at least 60 hospitals nationwide to help young children understand and cope with their treatment.
Kozy Kovers for Kids makes handmade, washable blankets that are given to children entering the foster care system or to children in crisis. Area hospitals and police departments throughout the state have blankets on hand for any child suffering from abuse or neglect or involved in any type of domestic situation.
What is your favorite part about knitting for others?
My favorite part about knitting for others is knowing that something that I love to do can actually help someone. I love it when I hear from people that a chemo cap really made a difference to someone. When people are battling cancer, even the daily routine can become stressful and difficult. I hear over and over again that being given a hat really gives more than just physical warmth. It gives hope and shows that there are people who want to help and who are thinking of them. A man wrote to me once and said that his wife had been feeling very depressed and unattractive, and when she went for treatment she was given one of our caps. As he put it, “She looks like a million bucks wearing it, and she was even smiling!” That is a wonderful thing to hear.
I’ve also been told that my patterns are used all over the world – Australia, South Africa, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, and so many other countries too. Many use them for chemo caps, but they are also being used to help the homeless, to help babies in need, to warm school children who don’t have any hats, and sometimes just as gifts for friends or relatives.
Has knitting taught you anything about yourself?
Knitting has taught me that I have more creativity than I had realized. I got bored with hat patterns and started designing my own. I now share those designs with others so they can make a difference, too. Knitting is an emotional outlet for me as well. I have lost two friends in the past two years. I designed a hat pattern in honor of each of them as a way to remember them and to share their stories. I guess I channel some of my grief into my yarn and needles. Knitting helps me process my emotions and be productive at the same time.
Check out some of Robin’s popular patterns on AllFreeKnitting:
If you know anyone or a center in the United States that needs hats, please contact Robin at email@example.com
It’s wonderful to be able to share your knitting with others, so treat yourself with an I <3 Yarn Mug! We are giving one mug away to one lucky winner. The deadline to enter is December 18, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time. Enter here to win!
Have you ever knit for someone in need?