Knifty Knitters Stitch Warmth for Thousands of People

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When Helen Jenninga died, she left an unusual gift for her church, Munster (Ind.) Christian Reformed Church. She left yarn. Balls and balls of yarn.

“It would take up an entire room in my house,” said church member Nancy VanderWoude. She wasn’t sure what to do with all that yarn until a friend suggested she teach a class. “My jaw dropped,” explained VanderWoude, who doesn’t know how to knit, but does make hats and scarves on something called a Knifty Knitter. It’s an easy craft, she said. “Anyone can do this.” But she didn’t know if others would be interested.

VanderWoude and her friend organized a luncheon after a Coffee Break Bible study to take those first stitches. “The ladies got as far as the brim of the hat,” VanderWoude said. But the group was hooked and by the next couple of meetings, the hats were finished. Church secretary Cindy Dernulc donated the hats to shelters for people without homes.

Since 2012 the Knifty Knitters have stitched more than 3,000 hats and 99 scarves. They meet two times a month after their Coffee Break meeting.

And Jenninga’s yarn? It is all gone. It’s providing warmth for heads all over Chicago and nearby towns. But more yarn keeps coming, so VanderWoude and the Knifty Knittters keep knitting. “God wants us to continue this ministry,” VanderWoude said. “The yarn is like the oil that didn’t run out.”

About the Author

Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.