On Friday, March 29, 2013, we presented the Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota - Minneapolis with 201 hats.


Let that sink in for a minute.

We donated 201 hats. In our third month of operation. Amy and I are so amazed.

Those two big boxes included lots of hats (with a few matching baby doll hats and purses!) and scarves.

We know a lot of you are praying over the hats as you create them, and it wasn't easy envisioning the wee little heads that will be wearing these hats that we donated to the Children's Hospital. But thank you for all that you've done. We plan to keep donating to the Children's Hospital on a regular basis. (We're waiting to hear back from them on how often they could use donations.) I have a personal connection with this hospital, in particular, as my sister-in-law was treated for leukemia as a child there, and her son has been treated for kidney disease there since he was a baby. I know the heartache that accompanies a chronically sick child, and I am glad that Team Yarn can provide some comfort through our hats and other handmade items.

Children's Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Jenna Van Proosdy said, "Thanks for your generous donation and beautiful hats." She also mentioned that the fun hats always go fast.

Here are a few facts about Children's cancer program:

-When cancer or a blood disorder affects a child, teen or adolescent in Minnesota, they most often are cared for at Children’s. We care for more than 55 percent of children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders in Minnesota.
-Nearly 900 children are admitted as inpatients to Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program annually.
-The C.H. Robinson Infusion Center (where kids receive chemo treatments and blood transfusions) receives more than 5,000 outpatient visits each year.
-More than 1,200 cancer surgeries and procedures are performed at Children's each year, making us the largest provider of cancer surgeries in the Upper Midwest. 
Our little helper

Jenna said that fun hats like these are sure to go quick.

Thank goodness for dollies! (We sure missed your help, Brad!)

Playing music in the skyway

That's what 201 hats looks like!
Thanks to all of you who made the March 2013 meet-up such a success! I am continually amazed by your outpouring of generosity and CREATIVITY! I was delighted to see people trying new things, exchanging information, and sharing tips and tricks...including how to crochet while using the computer and how to make cold press coffee (coming soon in another post)!
We left the meeting with 71 beautiful, handmade items. 51 were delivered by Mary Bulfer from The Refuge in Cambridge, MN. Mary walked in with three gift bags packed tightly with hats and a big smile on her face!
Today, the numbers stand at 178 - with a few more still trickling in this week!! We will be heading over to Children's Hospital to drop this bunch of donations on Friday. Every time that I think I cannot be more amazed, I am surprised!

I received a fantastic book for Christmas titled "The Prayer Shawl Ministry: Reaching Those in Need." It is published by Leisure Arts. The 44-page book is a how-to on Prayer Shawls. Inside its pages are inspiring stories about people who are involved in Prayer Shawl groups, and letters from those who use Lion Brand Homespun Yarn. There are several pages of prayers that can be used while blessing the shawls, prayers to saw while working on a shawl as well as for the distressed, for those who mourn, for those with a new baby, for graduates and for newlyweds. There are tips on how to choose colors for your projects. And finally, there are 8 prayer shawl patterns, four crochet and four knit.

I can't recommend this book highly enough.

Yes, it's published to promote Lion Brand Homespun yarn, but let's be honest, Homespun is a great yarn for this sort of work. It's soft, and comes in some great colors. So, I don't mind the promotion.

And yes, while it is geared towards the ministry of prayer shawls, I find pieces throughout the book that apply to everything that we're creating here at Team Yarn, the afghans, the scarves, the shawls, and the hats.

Here's a bit from the introduction:

Over the centuries, shawls have come to symbolize shelter, peace, and spiritual sustenance. Since the inception of The Prayer Shawl Ministry in 1998, the members of this ecumenical organization have lovingly donated their time and talents by creating hand-knitted and crocheted shawls for those in need. What started as grass-roots movement has quickly grown into an international cause, with countless numbers of shawls being given to grateful recipients across the globe.

The ministry's message of caring is simple, universal and enduring. And we have seen time and again that the creation and presentation of a prayer shawl, like all acts of generosity, enriches the giver as well as the recipient.

Isn't that so true? When we create something to give away, whether it is a prayer shawl or a hat, it does enrich our lives.


I appreciate the tips on how to choose yarn colors for projects. Here is a list of traditional meanings for colors:
Red - Energy, strength, power, determination, love, courage
Pink - Joy, friendship, femininity
Brown - Stability, masculinity
Orange - Happiness, success, encouragement, endurance
Gold - Illumination, wisdom
Yellow - Cheerfulness, energy, joy, confidence
Green - Healing, harmony, safety, hope, protection, peace
Blue - Stability, trust, loyalty, faith, truth, tranquility
Purple - Wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery
White - Goodness, purity, innocence, faith, safety, light

For more on colors, check out this list of Awareness Ribbons and what each color stands for:


God of all comfort, we commend to thy mercy all those upon whom any cross or tribulation is laid; all persons oppressed with poverty, sickness, or any infirmity of body or sorrow of mind. We pray for those who desire to be remembered in our prayers, and for any such known only to ourselves, whom we name in our hearts before thee. May it please thee to show them thy fatherly kindness in the midst of affliction, that their hearts may turn unto thee, and receive perfect consolation and healing, and deliverance from their troubles, for Christ's sake, Amen. - John Calvin

O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need; we humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servant for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him in thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time and using all wise means, restore him to healthy, and enable him to lead his life to thy glory; and grant that he may finally dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - Book of Common Worship


O Father of infinite compassion, God of all comfort, reveal yourself as the Light of Life to those who have been brought into the darkness of sorrow. Strengthen the hearts that faint under the heavy burden, and support them in the arms of your infinite love. May they know that in all their distress, you care for them with unfailing tenderness. Wipe away all tears from their eyes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - Book of Church Services

We pray for all who mourn. You know their sorrow. You know and are the comforter of your children. In taking, as in giving, your hand is the hand of a father. May they find peace in you, in the fellowship of your gracious spirit. May the veil be taken away, and a glimpse of the everlasting brightness alight their faces. Sweeten our adversities, and though we go down into the valley of the shadow of death, may we know that you are strengthening our souls, and that all things are working together for good to those who love you. - Rufus Ellis


Here are some excerpt from letters written to Lion Brand that are included in the book that are so inspiring:

- This ministry has been extremely rewarding, knowing we are helping to provide "a hug from God" to those who are in need. Shawl recipients always comment on how soft and warm the yarn is, like God's love for us!

- It is so fulfilling to know that something you made and that you prayed over with each stitch is so appreciated and loved by the recipient. To hear that a shawl is word daily for comfort, for love, for consolation, or to see a brand-new baby wearing a cap made with love, there is nothing more rewarding.

- I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. She immediately went into a deep depression. I decided to let her know that her friends were with her every step of the way. I crocheted a throw using Homespun in purple and pink worsted weight - the purple was for friendship and the pink was for love. I used a "V" for victory stitch throughout and, when it came time to put the fringe on, each one of her senior friends knotted a section onto the throw while saying a prayer for her recovery. My friend's entire attitude changed when presented with the throw and she immediately cheered up, knowing, as she said, "that there are friends who care for me." She has finished her chemo, has done well, stayed positive, and her Homespun victory throw buoys her up when she is down. I would never have believed that such a small act of kindness would have made such a difference to anyone. I encourage others to do small acts of love like this. It benefits the giver as much as the recipient.

See more (or write your own) at www/lionbrand.com/shawlstories/html.


Learn more about prayer shawls on this web site organized by the two women who gave birth to this ministry: http://www.shawlministry.com/

"Shawls ... made for centuries universal and embracing,
symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God.
They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace,
mother, hug, shelter and beautify.
Those who have received these shawls have been 
uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to 
fly above their troubles..."
  Written in 1998 by: Janet Bristow
The Richard M. Schulze Family Hope Lodge, a concept of the American Cancer Society, is the outcome of the generosity for the citizens of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the compassion shown by the University of Minnesota, and the Richard M. Schulze Family. It proudly stands today in Minneapolis and in Rochester, MN in honor of Richard’s late wife Sandy, who died of mesotheliome on June 22, 2001. It is a true partnership of caring, and a perfect reflection of Sandy’s special way of helping others cope with the treatments needed to battle this difficult disease.

Sandra was a woman you would never forget. She was Sandy to everyone and she never forgot a face. Her warm smile, compassionate manner, wise eyes and gentle touch always let you know she was listening and interested in you. She made you feel special.

Sandy was born in Hopkins, Minnesota on December 11, 1940. She lived most of her life in Minnesota. She earned her Associates Degree from the University of Minnesota and married Richard Schulze on June 2, 1962. Sandy had four children and five grandchildren when she passed away on June 22, 2001 of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos.

Sandy’s life was exciting and busy! She stayed home with her children while raising them, she supported, encouraged and assisted her husband with his career, building Best Buy Co., INc. She loved to visit the stores and talk with store employees and their families. She considered them a part of her family.

Sandy cared deeply about others, and was always quick to offer a helping hand, words of encouragement, along with a friendly smile. She was truly touched by the many people she knew who were affected by cancer. Trying her best to add some encouragement and cheer to their lives, she cared for them with visits, phone calls, letters of hope and prayers. When she was diagnosed with cancer in December 2000, her six-month battle was short, but reminded us all to live each day to its fullest.

Sandy was treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and in her memory the family gifted an expansion to the existing Rochester Hope Lodge resulting in the addition of 32 more rooms and community spaces. It is now named the Sandra J. Schulze American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and has 60 rooms for patients and their caregivers. The family also gifted five million dollars to build and endow the Minneapolis Hope Lodge with 40 rooms and community spaces to assist patients and their caregivers as they seek medical services in the Twin Cities.

The family’s wish for you would be that you find strength, encouragement, support, compassion, camaraderie, and faith during your stay at the Hope Lodge. And as you leave its door, may hope, peace, and good health follow you always.
There are lots of ways you can help out at the Hope Lodge in Minneapolis.

1) Crochet, knit and sew handmade items for Team Yarn, as we’ll be donating regularly to the Hope Lodge. There’s a box of handmade items just inside the door from which guests can go through to find the perfect item to give them comfort through their cancer treatment.

2) Volunteer
Options include:

- Volunteer coordinator

- Reception: Greet folks as they come in, provide information, maintain the check-in and check-out sheet, answer phone calls, and manage other front desk activities.

- Facilities or office assistant: Help keep the Hope Lodge clean and running smoothly for guests.

- Tour guide: Provide guided tours of the facility for guests prior to their stay. The Hope Lodge also receives requests for tours from schools, church groups and others in the community.

- Arrange special meals and events for guests: Help provide these opportunities by either providing the food yourself or asking a local club or sports team to host a pot luck or cookout. Or organize a craft night, or bring in local entertainers.

3) Donate $
The average cost to the American Cancer Society to provide free lodging for one night is $50. The average stay for one guest is 11 nights.

4) Donate various items such as:
- Guest room supplies: bath linens, household toiletry items
- Recreation items: newspaper or magazine subscriptions, games, DVD movies, crafts
- Cleaning supplies: Kitchen, laundry
- Facility supplies: Light bulbs, batteries
- Office supplies: Pens, stationary, postage stamps
- Gift cards: Grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment venues


2500 University Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Come as guests. Leave as friends. That's the motto of the Hope Lodge in downtown Minneapolis.

Adults receiving cancer treatments in the Twin Cities area who reside 40 miles away can receive free lodging at the Hope Lodge in Minneapolis.

In February, Team Yarn - Head Huggers donated 45 hats, scarves, shawls and afghans to the Richard M. Schulze Family American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. While there, we received a tour of the facility, and left quite impressed.
The Team Yarn donation on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Left to right: Brad Slater, Debbie Nelson of Hope Lodge, Tesha M.C. Pettit, Amy Slater and Joselyn Pettit.
Team Yarn donated a heaping box of 45 items to the Hope Lodge on Feb. 26, 2013.

Brad Slater carries in a large box of Team Yarn donations into the Hope Lodge.

Our tour guide: Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson of the Hope Lodge gave us a detailed tour through the facility. No one but guests are allowed on the top two floors in order to prevent illness from spreading to those with weak immune systems. But the tour of just the main floor and the basement took about an hour.

Visitors are beeped into the facility from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and are then required to fill out a check-in form. Guests are given the code to the door. There's a jar of candy at the desk, and information posted on upcoming events. "We try to do activities that help make their stay more enjoyable," explained Nelson. "If you've got to be here, we're trying to make it more fun." A church came in recently with homemade ice cream, and the Junior Miss contestants performed.

A bin full of donated hats and scarves is by the front door. (There's another in a room used to introduce guests to the facility.)

"We're the family you didn't really want to have," explained Nelson. The goal of staff at the Hope Lodge is that guests there offer support and encouragement to each other. "Many establish good friendships," she pointed out. The average stay for one guest is 11 nights, although those who have a bone marrow transplant are there for 120 days. The average cost to the American Cancer Society to provide free lodging for one night is $50.

There are 40 private guest rooms that accommodate two people per room. Some come with spouses and others with supportive friends or other family members. Sleep Number donated all the beds. Each has telephone and internet access.

The Hope Lodge caters to adults battling cancer. Those who are under 18 stay at the Ronald McDonald House.

The Hope Lodge isn't a hotel. Guests are responsible for their own food and laundry while they are here. Once they leave, volunteers clean out the rooms to prepare them for the next guests. Alcohol and tobacco are prohibited -- which can be tough rules to follow for some.

There are journals in each room, and guests leave words of encouragement for those who come after them. "They get the most encouragement from each other," observed Nelson.

The Hope Lodge is quietest on the weekends, when guests tend to return home for a few days.

The facility in Minneapolis was built on donations. The Richard M. Schulze family (the founding CEO of Best Buy) donated $5 million to the Minneapolis facility in honor of his first wife, Sandy, who died of mesotheliome on June 22, 2001. The University of Minnesota donated the land, upon which an Econo Lodge had formerly stood. There are 31 Hope Lodges across the country, mainly along the East Coast. The nearest one is in Rochester; there is also one in Marshford, WI and in Iowa City, Iowa.

"The U has a vested interest in us," noted Nelson, because of the number of guests at the Hope Lodge who are treated at its hospital.

A perk of staying at the Hope Lodge is the free shuttle service is from the Hope Lodge to the University hospital. It comes every half hour during the day, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are currently 10 staff members at the Hope Lodge -- two are full-time -- and lots of volunteers. Folks can sign up on a Google Calendar, and a newsletter goes out each week listing the various needs at the facility.

Every Hope Lodge is different, according to Nelson.

In Minneapolis, there is a small chapel/meditation room just off the reception area. Items within it have been donated by various people.
We enjoyed looking through the hand-crafted kaleidoscope in the chapel/meditation room.

There are two computer areas, one on the main level and one in the basement.
The computer room off the main lobby houses one computer station.

Donors are recognized in the hallway between the lobby and the dining room.

The kitchen and dining rooms eat up a large chunk of the mail level. There are six full equipped kitchen areas, and each guests is assigned to one based on room number. Each guests also gets his/her own fridge and cupboard space.
Assignments via room number are posted on each fridge and cupboard area in the 6 fully equipped kitchens.

Plates from across the country decorate the dining room. They have been donated by past guests.

Just off the dining room, there is a spacious outdoor patio with grills and patio sets. Last year, two log swings were donated by Lowe's.

An art gallery fills up the hallway walls between the kitchen area and the Great room. The artwork is rotated monthly, and is for sale.
The art gallery

In the great room, there is a two-side fireplace, couches and tables for games such as chess. The only televisions in the facility are located in the common areas in order to encourage guests to interact with each other.

A table for games sits by a window.

There is a TV, fireplace and several seating areas in the Great Room.

Nine different support groups meet in the conference room. It is also the place to find various craft nights and supplies ranging from stuff to make jewelry to crochet and knitting items to scrapbooking supplies.

The library is fully stocked with both books and videos. Guests can grab a book and don't have to worry about returning it.

Half of the space downstairs is used to store the wide range of donated items the Hope Lodge receives, everything from toilet paper to detergent.

The exercise room was equipped by Lifetime Fitness.

The TV room downstairs doubles as a shelter during bad weather. There is always a puzzle going at one table. The second computer room with four computer stations is located off it.

Just a few steps away is the laundry room. Appliances were donated by Whirlpool. A sewing machine is set up in one corner.

The last room downstairs houses a pool table and ping-pong table.

The Schulze family’s wish for all guests would be that you find strength, encouragement, support, compassion, camaraderie, and faith during your stay at the Hope Lodge. And as you leave its door, may hope, peace, and good health follow you always.


2500 University Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414