Inside the Lovelyarns store in Hampden on a recent Thursday afternoon, volunteers knit, crochet and insert cotton into breast prostheses for breast cancer survivors.
The implants are then donated to breast cancer clinics at Mercy Hospital for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is the second year that Lovelyarns has adopted a clinic; last year, they donated hundreds of multicolored knitted door knockers to Johns Hopkins patients.
Melissa Salzman, who took over the shop in 2016, hosts a social sewing party from 7-9 p.m. every other Thursday. This October, Social Sewing becomes a Knitted Knockers Sip ‘N’ Stitch Night: a free BYOB social sewing event where anyone can sit around a table and work on the chest-shaped yarn pockets. Participants can knit, crochet or simply stuff the prostheses over a drink of their choice.
“It feels good to do good,” Salzman says. “Anything you can do to make a difference in someone’s life is worth it.”
These “knitted knockers” provide breast cancer patients with a soft, handmade prosthesis that fits inside their bra. Each knocker is padded so a patient can easily resize the prosthesis, Salzman says. Some are even knitted with waterproof yarns so wearers can go swimming.
Although people go to Lovelyarns to sit and knit every day, Sip ‘N’ Stitch nights attract a younger crowd, according to Salzman. She describes the boutique as “a den of inclusivity, like a fun, fibrous club basement.”
Yolanda Barrett, who distributes the prostheses to cancer survivors, says: “We love the knitted door knockers from Lovelyarns! They are light and make the difference.
Breast cancer survivor Barbara Demorest founded the Knitted Knockers organization to connect knitters and crocheters with breast cancer patients around the world.
Demorest says on her organization’s website that she was “embarrassed and embarrassed that I had to have a mastectomy.”
She first considered silicone breast forms, but a doctor introduced her to the idea of knitted breast forms.
When a friend knitted a pair for Demorest and delivered them to her at church, she was overjoyed.
“I took them straight to the bathroom stall and put one in my bra,” says Demorest. ” It was fabulous ! It was light, pretty, soft and fit perfectly over my own bra. I took my jacket off and knew right away that I wanted to make them available to other women in the same situation.
The Knitted Knockers network of volunteers creates breast prostheses to help breast cancer survivors regain confidence and comfort. The organization also provides patterns, videos, and other resources for making the knitted door knockers.
For more information, visit KnittedKnockers.org.