We delivered 101 hats and 5 shawls to the Cancer Care Center at Fairview Southdale Hospital on Thursday, June 1, 2017. We were surprised to learn it had been two years since someone had donated hats at this metro-area hospital, and agreed that we'll put them on our regular rotation schedule.

"Oh, thank you so much," said Kim Boysen. "We have a patient right now who would love these colors."

"We're pleased you can use hats right now," remarked Amy. Kim reassured us that it's always chilly in their treatment rooms because of the big windows there. Nursing staff regularly make tied fleece blankets for patients to keep them cozy.

We let Kim know that we hope they feel free to be generous with the hats and to give away more than one to each person, as we're happy to deliver more when they run out! Just give us a call. Kim was excited to be able to use a colorful hat to brighten the day of a patient who might need it, especially one who has been there a long time. "Something like this is really nice," said Kim. She told us she was looking forward to attending her Team Meeting later that day to share the news about the hats and help them get back in the habit of offering them to patients.

We got a little lost finding the in patient area, but were helped by this kind employee -- who also found us a cart so we didn't have to carry the boxes around! THANK YOU!!

The Cancer Care treatment center at Southdale is a 43-bed unit, and also serves some urology patients. They see about 22 patients with leukemia a year, and those may be there up to 12 weeks. In all, 2000 patients a year come through their unit, according to Kim.

One of the side effects they see from the chemo is severe nervopathy, where it is painful for the patient to get something out of the fridge. They like to give these people mittens, observed Kim. They also like to give away stuffed animals -- especially to help calm those with delirium or dementia "They really like to cuddle things and rock them," remarked Kim. So, for anyone of our volunteers looking for a new challenge... feel free to get creative!

Maddie at the Ronald McDonald house praised our wonderful handcrafted items on Thursday, June 1, 2017 when we dropped off 91 hats, 6 blankets and 1 shawl. "They're so soft!" she said. "Thank you guys."

"We know its nice to have something soft and fuzzy," Amy responded, pointing out that we're a Twin Cities-based organization that strives to keep our donations local, as well. The hats we delivered at the main Ronald McDonald house may also go to the smaller hospital sites at Minneapolis Children's, St. Paul Children's and Gillette's.

This was not our first visit to the Ronald McDonald House. We donated in December 2013 and January 2015 to the Minneapolis location, and in March 2014 to the Rochester location. Click here to learn more about our past donations and the good work done at the Ronald McDonald House.

Anyone who wants to, is encouraged to collect and donate pop tabs. There is a collection dumpster in the parking lot of the Minneapolis location which is weighed periodically. They're also always in need of paper products, according to Maddie.

122 items in May 2017

Yep, our Snow Bird Bernice is back, and she brought a whole bunch of blankets and other items to our May 2017 meet-up! Plus, we welcomed newcomer Charlene Cervenka to our group and hope to see more of her!

Newcomer Charlene brought a bag full of fun hats!

Checking the size on an available head :)

The Younger Crew on their regular ramble in the park.

Sandi Fischer, age 62, of Isanti joined our Team in 2016, and ended the year as one of our top contributors with 174 items! She was surprised to learn of her annual tally. 

"I just love making hats, and thinking that they might brighten someone's day makes it so special to me," said Fischer.

Why did she join us?
"I got involved with Team Yarn because I really wanted to donate hats, but I'm disabled, so I can't get out to do it myself. I was so thrilled to find you!" stated Fischer.
Her mother-in-law taught her to crochet back in 1984. "She taught me the basic stitches, then got me a booklet for a sampler afghan that used all those stitches and taught me many more," recalled Fischer. 

She isn't one to follow a set pattern. "Most of the time I combine patterns/techniques and just play and see what I come up with," she noted. 

Fischer crochets in the winter, and does beading in the summer. She already has a big bin of hats ready to donate next fall via our Cambridge drop-off site at the Century 21 office (202 Main St. S. Cambridge.)

Thanks for all you do!!

Are you interested in donating to Team Yarn, but you don't know what to buy? Do you know someone who wants to donate, but they need some recommendations? Then this is the post for you!!

First, we want you to know that we value quality over quantity. We want to honor the people receiving our donations with high quality, beautiful, well-crafted items. So, although the temptation may be to fill up your cart as much as possible, we'd way rather receive a smaller donation of the softest, squishiest yarn you can afford.

Second, we know it can still be really, really hard to know what to choose. So, we've created this list. It is not exhaustive, but it can be helpful if you're standing in the yarn aisle feeling stuck. Here are some yarns we love:
Loops & Threads: especially Charisma or Impeccable
Caron Simply Soft
Lion Brand: especially Heartland, Vanna's Choice, Homespun
Deborah Norville yarns
Isaac Mizrahi yarns
Bernat Chunky

Please, please, NO Red Heart yarn, unless it is the kind the specifically says "soft." Although this Team can work wonders with pretty much anything, we have enough of this yarn to challenge us for quite some time yet.

Thank you so very much! We couldn't do it without you!
by Amy Pass

Hello Team! We made some changes to the "Yarn, Patterns & Guidelines" page of the blog. Most notably, we added these TWO points on hat sizing:

1) There is NOT a significant demand for child or infant sized hats. We have been turned down by children's hospitals because they have a greater need for teen hats, which, simply put, means adult sizes. If you've already made child/infant hats, we will certainly find a home for them. However, as a group, we're trying to reduce the number of small hats we produce.

2) Experience has taught us that a comfortable adult hat that stays on the head should come down far enough to cover the tips of the ears. There is a tendency, especially among beginners, to make hats that are too short. Use your own head or the head of a friend or family member to measure!

The "Yarn, Patterns & Guidelines" page is also where you can find a longer list of yarn that we especially love! And there are links to a few free pattern pages. I've taken the link to the Team Yarn Pinterest page down for now, as there are a whole lot of children's hats on that page!
Thanks again for all the work you do! Keep Saving the World One Stitch at a Time!

No meet-up in April 2017

Because of Easter falling on our regular meeting on the third Sunday of the month, we didn't meet in April. But we'll be back to our regular schedule in May, meeting on May 21, 2017 from 1-3 at Silverwood Park.
Hi, My name is Wendy and I am currently doing chemotherapy at the Humphrey Cancer Center in Robbinsdale. I noticed a box of hats the other day at the center and helped myself to one. It is a pretty maroon crochet hat with a cute heart on it. I love hearts…so I knew it was for me. 😊 Thank you so much for making the beautiful hats for all of us cancer patients, it is such a sweet thing to know that there are people out there that care! Thank you too all of your workers! Sincerely, Wendy
You brought in 69 items in March 2017. We also received yarn from Joanne Cyr. Thank you all so much!

I actually missed our March meet-up because I was on vacation, but Amy snapped this great shot of you all and sent it my way so I wouldn't miss you too much!

Earlier in the month, we received a big bag of yarn via Cathy Higgins. She contacted us by email and told us her story.

This is wonderful timing that I learned about Team Yarn.  Our Mother was a crocheter and past away from cancer a few years.  My younger sister took her yarn, but decided it is more than she can use.  So she asked me if I knew a place to donate the yarn.  My sister is fighting cancer herself.

We were delighted by the large bag of yarn! Thank you!! And, recognizing the toll cancer takes, we sent Cathy with a beautiful blanket to give to her sister to keep her warm and cozy while going through her treatments.

"Thank you Linda Krannich for the beautiful afghan. Attached is a picture of me with the afghan."

Carol Higgins
2 time Cancer Survivor

A few notes of thanks...

These came in recently, and we wanted to be sure that you, our hardworking volunteers, got a chance to read them.

From HealthEast Care Center (Woodwinds and St. John's)

From North Memorial - Humphrey Cancer Center

From volunteer Sandi Fischer

From the Minneapolis VA

There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes at Team Yarn. We like to keep track of every hat that comes through, so we tag them, photograph them and post them to a photo album on Facebook. While much of the tagging happens at home by our regular volunteers or during our Team Yarn meetings, there are always extra items that need to be tagged before a drop-off. Much of that work is done by Amy and Aurora -- with some help from Josey and I from time to time. Amy also keep meticulous records in a few Google documents, tracking which type of time came in from who and in what month. Conversely, she tracks how many items we donate to each location and when. And then we share the numbers with you once a year at our annual anniversary gathering. Click here for more on our anniversaries.

24 items in February 2017

Look at these gorgeous hats, shawls and blankets you made in the depth of winter this year. When we gathered for our regular February meet-up, you brought 24 items in. Thank you!