Milwaukee Seniors crochets over 700 items for those battling cancer

Incredible blankets, cross stitch charts and cozy fluffy hats are just a few of the beautiful crafts produced by the Wilson Commons Fiber Arts Club.

It’s run by Ken Klockow, who learned to crochet after observing as a child.

“My grandma took the hook and a piece of yarn and made something,” Ken says.

Her skills have improved over the decades – from simple scarves to intricate doilies. He got so good that he started teaching!

“The more I did it, the more I loved it,” Ken says. “And the people I taught, I don’t know, they just got it!”

Ken and his classes crochet for more than themselves. Over the years, he has also donated many of his designs. And he had another opportunity to do good when his son-in-law, Carl, was diagnosed with cancer.

“He got what I call a care package from this place called Phil’s Friends.”

Phil’s Friends, located outside of Chicago, sends packages filled with hats, blankets, word searches and other goodies to cancer patients across the country.

“Things to keep them occupied but also warm,” says Ken.

Phil’s friends reached out to Carl to see if he knew anyone who could donate hats and scarves for future care packages.

“And of course their hands went up right away and said, ‘Mommy and Daddy can do it!’ “recalls Ken.

He got his textile arts group together and they got to work – knitting and crocheting nearly 700 items to send to Friends of Phil.

“People are just overwhelming, the kindness in their hearts,” Ken says. “Even now to this day, people here, every week that we meet, they bring a little bag of more hats, more hats and scarves and whatever they have.”

The club has already sent a bundle to Phil’s friends. They are almost ready to ship their second batch, which is just as important.

Community Relations Manager Kaitlin Kelly says projects like this are so beneficial to her residents.

“Not only are they doing something and then donating, but it’s a social outlet for them,” she says. “Physically, keeping their hands working, their fingers working. It definitely has multiple layers.

It feels good to do good.

“There is so much loathing in this world and so much turmoil,” Ken says. “To see the happiness it brings to people, it warms the heart.

So the real question – will there be a third batch?

“Oh yes, oh yes!” Ken said without hesitation. “It’s not the end! When I have to stop doing this, it will be the end.

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