Barb Demorest of Knitted Knockers was our FIRST GUEST of 2016 on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird, and really started our year off with a KA-POW!
Barb’s story begins with being what she calls ‘a casual knitter’ not plugged into the knitting community till about 2009, when she found a knit group at her local yarn shop.
In 2011, Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer. Of course, fears set in that she would lose her hair or have to have a mastectomy. It turned out she did have to have the mastectomy, but hoped for immediate reconstruction while still under sedation. She woke from that and found that reconstruction did not happen. Barb, in her shock, tried to find solutions so she could get right back to her life, work, normalcy, only to hear she could not use anything with that wound for weeks. Her doctor suggested she learn to knit and make herself a Knitted Knocker.
Barb went home and called her best friend Phyllis, who went online and got to work. Barb meanwhile stayed at home for that first week, but admits stuffing her bra with a sock and going to church. There Phyllis sent her a Victoria’s Secret bag with a Knitted Knocker in it, Barb immediately replaced the sock with it and says the change in her life was immediate. Her confidence returned.
Barb’s first thought was to go back to that doctor to ask if he wished to have some for his patients. He did and she wondered how many were needed. He stated that in her county (She lives in Bellingham, north of Seattle, Whatcom County) of those diagnosed, between 50 and 100 would cover single and double mastectomies each year, but there was a need to help those that have in years past had that procedure. Also those who have had lumpectomies and other less radical procedures could also use a less full option Knitted Knocker.
In the meantime, KnittedKnockers.org received recognition from other organizations like Susan G Komen as being an organization providing comfort to those fighting this battle. Barb worked with the website as it needed work so that requests could be made easier, that patterns could be found and downloaded with ease along with video tutorials for knitters and crocheters, that supplying and accepting donations needed simplified. The Seattle Seahawks (this is a link to the YouTube video, pretty awesome ~ PLEASE CLICK LIKE!) also shared Knitted Knockers in October for which a special NFL themed knocker was created, also Knitted Knockers were a featured vendor at the Seattle Mariner’s Stitch & Pitch, held in July.
Barb’s local yarn shop, Apple Yarns has organized a weekly group for stuffing donated Knitted Knockers. Barb shared how special the ladies are that show up regularly, like Anne. Phyllis is still knitting knockers and has created over 400 since that first one for Barb. In fact a funny story, Phyllis did a really wild pair, purple with green ‘hair’ that ended up with a woman who enjoys ‘whipping it out’ and showing it off. Mostly though, recipients prefer neutral flesh toned Knitted Knockers.
Skacel, which is based in Seattle, and it’s own Chuck Wilmesher (who was on the Yarn Thing podcast with us exactly a year ago), contacted Barb to share the organization in their publication, and has also contacted Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX and Stitches Events (also one of our beloved Sponsors), to also turn up the volume. Together they are turning the upcoming #STITCHESWest event in February into a Knitted Knocker event. This includes a design contest, a special Pajama Party/Knitted Knocker Stuffing (yes, hosted by Marly!) and a raffle of a package to attend another Stitches event elsewhere! Skacel is offering a kit, through their shop Maker’s Mercantile, CLICK HERE for more information about that.
The Knitted Knockers website has a ton of information, find them at knittedknockers.org, they are also on Facebook, and have a group in Ravelry. If you wish to mail an unstuffed Knocker once you’ve completed it and cannot be at STITCHESWest, they can be sent to:
- Knitted Knockers Support Foundation, 1780 Iowa St, Bellingham, WA 98229
OR to be included in the Great Stuffing Event at STITCHESWest during the Pajama Party, they can be mailed to:
- Knitted Knockers, c/o XRX, Inc. 2704 West 3rd Street (for non-post office delivery)
PO Box 965, Sioux Falls SD 57101
Also, keep in mind and spread the word, monetary donations are much appreciated, so that shipping those Knitted Knockers requested to a neighbor in need can be done at no cost.
POSTSCRIPT 2/26: There is an Ebay auction going on, that includes Knockers created by your favorite designers and teachers AND MARLY, TOO! It ends on SATURDAY so CLICK HERE and share to your friends and support this great program.
If you missed getting to hear this live, we hope you can make time to hear it and share with your firends, it is available as an archive where it aired originally: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2016/01/07/barb-demorest-of-knitted-knockers or in other podcatchers like iTunes and Stitcher Radio.