MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There's something special about receiving a handmade gift. Especially when that gift is something you needed more than anything else.
Peg Bressman has been knitting off and on for about 50 years and now keeps busy sitting and knitting at Knit-N-Purl's table along with several other knitters. Right now, she's working on a baby sweater that will be donated to a local hospital.
"When I was in Ohio, I had a project that gave baby sweaters to every baby born in our local hospitals and in 14 years we did 12 thousand," Peg says, adding that she really enjoys knitting for strangers. "There's 3 types of charity. One is you know who it's going to and they know who has made it. Two, one or the other knows but they don't both know and the highest is, they don't know who it's going to and they don't know who made it... and I think that makes it kinda fun."
The knitting table is full, especially this time of year, knitting for others - everything from hats, baby sweaters, and blankets for nursing homes, to prosthesis for mastectomy patients.
Molly Bruton works at Knit-N-Purl and you'll often find her at the table as well.
"It's very organic how it happens. My dad was in the nursing home, so I just asked at the table, and if there's enough feedback of people saying 'yeah, that would be fun, something different, let's do it!'" Molly says.
Molly's dad had to go to a nursing home and when he got there, there was a handmade blanket and a note waiting for him on the bed. It made such an impression on Molly, that she knew what the next project would be, and suggested it to the table. They are trying to get several lap blankets knitted up in time for Conway Manor to distribute them as Christmas gifts.
Ingrid Reed, another Knit-N-Purl teacher and knitter is constantly knitting, teaching knitting or designing something to knit, and she spearheads one of Knit-N-Purls' on-going charity projects: Knitted Knockers. It's a knitted prosthetic for mastectomy patients and so far they have made a big impact on several women in our community. Ingrid says, "We ran with it. We've probably donated 100 to 150 over the past couple of years."
Ingrid explains why the knitted knockers are sometimes preferred over the medical prostheses provided to patients.
"From what they tell me, the regular prostheses are very heavy," Ingrid says. "They're made of rubber and very heavy and very hot. So that's next to your skin and that's uncomfortable. Also, the weight is a problem and they don't give. So when you make these, they're mushy."
If you've ever met a knitter, you'll learn they almost always have more than one project going and Ingrid is no different. She's also knitting red baby hats for the American Heart Association. They'll be delivered to a local hospital for babies born in February to encourage moms to live heart healthy lives for their children.
"Hopefully me and my peeps will have maybe 25 or 30 hats to donate for February," Ingrid says.
As you're opening gifts, pay special attention to the handmade ones, a lot of love went into them…and maybe it will inspire you to learn a new hobby and use it to give to others. We give…and get a lot at Christmas, but the need is year-round. As they say at Knit and Purl, there's always room at the table.