Grief never ends. But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is a price of love. – Author Unknown
This time of year is super hard for me. The countdown to the day when my mum should be celebrating her birthday and then the day of her passing. She was the most beautiful, caring, amazingly talented woman I have ever met and cancer took her away, way too soon.
When she started losing her hair from the chemo, I bought her a beautiful handmade beanie (I had only just begun to sew then and I had no idea how to make a beanie) The happiness that beanie gave has always stuck with me. She loved it so much that I bought her several more, she said the soft knit fabric felt so nice on her sore scalp, much nicer than the knitted beanies.
One time when I was visiting her at the Holman Clinic in Launceston, Tasmania, I noticed a beanie donation basket. In this basket, there was only a small handful of beanies that people had donated. They were free to any patient undergoing cancer treatment. I vowed then, that one day I would fill that basket. When Blessington asked me to do a blog post with a pink theme I decided that this would be that day. That this year I wouldn’t spend these two months in tears. This year I would do something for others.
I made the decision to make as many beanies as I could over two months from the start of September until the end of October. And as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would have a pink theme. That each beanie would have the colour pink somewhere in the fabric, and at the end of the month I would take all the beanies to the Holman clinic and fill that donation basket.My gorgeous son modelling some Slouch beanies that I’ve made.
He plans to donate his beautiful hair once it is long enough.
I went through all my patterns and I chose two of my beanie patterns that I’ve made many times for my boys. The Slouch Beanie by Patterns for Pirates which would be great for smaller fabric pieces. I altered this pattern to make it reversible so that there’d be no exposed seams rubbing on the scalp and it could be worn in two ways.
The second pattern was The Slouchie Beanie by Blank Slate Patterns. This one is great for larger pieces of fabric and for beanies that are just the one print.
My gorgeous model again! This is the Slouchie beanie. I have embellished several beanies with a band and fabric flower.
My initial goal was 10 beanies, but I was worried I wouldn’t even make that many as I didn’t really have much pink fabric. So I posted a Wanted to Buy Ad in an Aussie sewing group on Facebook (Aussie Knit Sewing Hub) and to my amazement, I had so many offers of fabric donations and even offers to make beanies.
I started up an event on Facebook called Beanies for Chemo https://www.facebook.com/events/323988634848510/ for people who wanted to follow along. This is where I discuss where I will be donating the beanies and what patterns I use. There’s even a dodgy video I made on how to make the slouch beanie reversible. I also share photos of the beanies I’ve made and all donations that have come in.
My goal went from 10 beanies to 40 beanies but in just under a month I have completed 56 reversible beanies and there have been another 10 beanies donated by other seamstresses. My plan is to continue making as many beanies throughout October and I will be donating them at the end of that month. If I have any donated fabric left, then I will keep making beanies and I will donate them every time I visit the hospital for specialist appointments, which is pretty often.
I never thought I’d make this many beanies and I can’t wait to see just how many I end up making by the end of October (You can follow along in the event if you would like updates) None of this would have been possible without beautiful caring women and their donations.
So thank you, Lisa, from Crafty Mamas Fabric. Kathleen from Keffyn’s Sewing Haven, Jodie from Fizgig and Fezzikk’s Fabulous Fabrics, Tracey from Lush Fabrics Australia, Beth Woodhauson, Katie McGregor, Leanne Hill, Karen Long, Larissa Lewis and Sarah Porteous.