Knitting Pals by the Bay is an amazing organization founded by long-time ImagiKnitter Jenny Carp.
Their mission is to make hand-knitted caps for cancer patients of all ages. They've made and delivered over 58, 615 caps from San Francisco to San Jose since July 2002!
How did this all begin? Per Jenny:
We started our program because my best friend’s twin sister had cancer and had lost her hair. My friend was visiting from Kentucky and asked if I could make her sister a cap.
I found out how important a cap was to a patient because of my friends sister. She told me she couldn’t afford a wig and had to continue working during her treatments. The cap was a perfect answer because it kept her warm and comfortable. When I realized how important one cap was for a cancer patient I decided I needed to do something to help. I was teaching knitting class and presented the idea to my students who immediately supported the idea. The rest is history as we are now in our 14 year.
Knitting Pals began officially in July 2002 when we made delivery of knitted caps to two hospitals and to our surprise and amazement grew much larger than we ever anticipated. Our mission was to knit caps for cancer patients of all ages and donate them to local hospitals. At the time we started no one was providing this service on the west coast.
Our local area grew faster and expanded way beyond our goal. We serve over 30 hospitals, clinics and support groups from San Francisco to San Jose and a few out of that area. We have done our best to never turn down a request for our service. Fortunately because of our wonderful and dedicated pals we have been able to keep up with the supply and demand. Since we started our local group has donated 37,000 and with our branches we have donated a total of 58,000 caps.
We use a number of different cap patterns and have created many to provide variety and style for our patients. We use soft machine washable yarns. Our favorites are Encore by Plymouth, 220 Superwash by Cascade Yarns, Simply Soft by Caron and Woolease by Lion Brand. We purchase most of our yarns at ImagiKnit because of their friendly and knowledgeable staff; plus they opened the store just as we established our program and a great partnership was formed. They allow knitters to drop off donations at their store which is a plus for us having a location in San Francisco.
The demand for our service has increased and because of our incredible Pals we have been able to keep up with the supply to meet the increase in demand. Our main focus is knitting caps now, however, we also knit baby items and scarves. We have a number of contacts at various charities where we donate special items. Some of these are ongoing and others are just one time.
The majority of knitters, knit for everyone except themselves; our Pals are no exception, they love knitting the caps for these special patients. The patients and staff have told us they always choose our caps because they are soft and comfortable. And they are so touched a stranger would take the time to make them feel special.
They now have chapters all over the Bay Area and beyond! ImagiKnit is proud to be a drop-off for Knitting Pals.