Stitches From the Heart was started after president and founder, Kathy Silverton, read an article about premature babies going home from hospitals with very little, if anything at all. Anytime she had a few minutes, she knitted booties, blankets, and hats for the needy babies. Her friends noticed and soon they were involved as well. At knit stores, she told other knitters and crocheters about her project and the idea began to snowball. When an article was published in a local newspaper, she was amazed when over a hundred women contacted her wanting to help knit and crochet for the children. Soon after, Stitches From the Heart was born.
This year (205) our volunteers number 3000+ and so far we have distributed over 62,000 items to over 380 hospitals and charities around the country! Our volunteers purchase their own supplies, and no one in our organization receives a salary. The donations received have ranged from nominal checks to buy supplies for senior citizens who live in assisted housing and have fixed incomes, to printers (donated by Epson) and gift certificates for printing and shipping costs. Our organization has touched many lives, and will continue to do so far into the future. Our goal is to be able to to provide handmade items for as many children from impoverished families as possible. You see, we "Stitch From the Heart" because it is from the heart that all good things come.
I got involved with this wonderful organization about 4 years ago. My best friend had heard about a "tea" to be held at a "lady's" home. The entrance "fee" was one or two knitted items for preemie babies and there would be patterns, yarn, food to nibble on and a speaker from one of the large yarn merchandisers. Not one to miss "food to nibble on" and loving to knit, especially baby items, my friend Carol and I made a date and showed up at Kathy's house for tea. We were taken totally by surprise! There we lots and lots of ladies, bringing lots and lots of wonderful knitted, crocheted and quilted tiny baby items - filling several very large boxes - patterns and yarn all around, and wonderful volunteers to welcome us. It was just amazing. After we had heard Kathy's story, filled ourselves with treats, listened to the speaker and chose a few patterns, we were both hooked.
My yarn "stash" fills about a quarter of my bedroom and I always have multiple knitting projects going, one of which is always "someting for the babies." My donations are always very much appreciated and I am in total awe of Kathy. She has now started a not-for-profit yarn shop where volunteers teach knitting and crocheting, and the donations keep rolling in. She tells me that they usually ship 50 boxes of items for preemies through toddlers (for underpriviledged kids) to various hospitals a week.
In the past articles about this great group of folks (we have a retired fireman in a local group who knits and makes knitting needles) have appeared in Cast On magazine (Winter/Spring 2001) and Family Circle Easy Knitting (Winter 2002).
It is a fantastic feeling when you know that this tiny knitted baby blanket will soon warm an even tinier child clinging to life in a hospital, surrounded by tubes, machines and strangers. Many of the nurses from the hospitals have writeen Kathy, thanking her for providing a welcome gift for parents of these little ones and something special that will always be their own. I personally have received a couple of thank you notes from mothers of these little miracle babies and it always warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes. Knowing that my love and talent for knitting can make someone else feel better, warm, and welcome adds such a tremendous value to what I sit in my living room and do daily. How special a gift to be able to knit!!
I would encourage all of you to take up charity knitting or crocheting. I believe that it adds happiness to our lives and love to our projects. It takes so little time to make a tiny sweater or hat. What a great way to help those in need and give back to our community!!