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Forest Park Group Donates Handmade Hats, Scarves to St. Patrick Center

November 14, 2013

Knitting Group  
Shown here, from left, are Jacqui Landau, student Marlone Eddington, and Linda Basich knitting at a lunch break beneath a display of colorful scarves on their way to St. Patrick’s Center.

Boxes filled with 155 knit hats and 37 colorful scarves, all handmade, were donated Wednesday (Nov. 13) to St. Patrick Center, courtesy of a charitable-minded social group at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park who hopes to keep at-risk individuals warm this winter.

For five years, the Stitch-n-Chat group has donated its handiwork to St. Patrick’s in downtown St. Louis, which provides homeless services. In the spring, they present finished hats for newborn babies to St. Mary’s and Cardinal Glennon hospitals. In addition to their giving projects, they knit items for personal gifts during a weekly lunch hour.

The informal lunch bunch meets every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and anyone can participate. They usually take a break during the summer months, then gather again when school starts. After the Christmas break, they work on the baby hats in January.

Six years ago, STLCC employee Carletta Kemp asked Linda Basich, the administrative assistant in the Business, Math and Technology division, to teach her how to knit. Kemp saw an article about someone making hats and leaving them around Minneapolis for anyone who needed one, Basich said, so they thought they would donate items to the homeless. Thus, The Hats Project for St. Patrick Center was realized.

“It was quite a success and a lot of fun," Basich said. “We usually start The Hats Project in August and run it until mid-November, then we deliver them. Last year, we had 38 scarves and 94 handmade hats.”

During the past six years, they have made baby blankets for the St. Mary’s Hospital nursery, teddy bears for The Mother Bear Project, but the biggest and longest running giving project has been The Hats Project.

The group also welcomes donations of worsted weight or chunky weight yarn of any color to add to the “Yarn Vault.”

wall of hats  
A wall of hand-knitted hats.

"We are always open to donations of yarn, and most of the hats and scarves are made with donated yarn, but some members are very generous and buy their own yarn to make their projects with," Basich said. 

They also need knitting needles and crochet hooks, and baby yarn.

"We love doing this because we really enjoy the knitting, crocheting and getting together to share patterns, ideas for projects and we just love the whole community of it all," Basich said.  "We have fun, enjoy what we do, and also get to help other people with our handiwork."

New districtwide members Amy Roither, Laurie Beebe, Marlone Eddington, Joyce Johnson, Katherine Keller and Michelle LaPorte joined the veteran members Cindy Duncan, Jennifer Hefner, Angie James, Jackie Landau, Clara Vernon, Janet Woodworth, Sue Tolentino, Carol Foreman, Helen Miles and Basich to produce the cold-weather accessories.

Keller, who joined the group this semester, has been knitting for about 10 years and crocheting for the past six, and contributed both skills. Eddington, a graphic communications student in the Art department, wanted to learn, and so they are teaching him as they go.

“I like the concept,” he said. “I want to master the challenges of learning this.”