Home » Millerton News Regional » Handmade comfort after mastectomy

Barbara Demorest, founder of the Bellingham, Wash., Knitted Knockers, shows off some of the free handmade prosthetics for women who have had mastectomies. Volunteer knitters and crocheters who would like to contribute some may drop them at the NorthEast-Millerton Library. Photo by Suzanne Bair photography

Handmade comfort after mastectomy

With the holiday knitting and crocheting completed and red and green yarn safely tucked away for anther year, some crafters are looking for a worthy project to start the new year, and the NorthEast-Millerton Library has just the thing to fill those long dark nights while helping women everywhere: Knitted Knockers.

Distributed by a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the thousands of breast cancer survivors throughout the world, the knockers are handmade prosthetic pieces created by a countrywide network of volunteers.

The women who receive and use the knockers free of charge say they are cooler and more comfortable than the commercial ones normally available.

Barbara Demorest, founder and head of the national Knitted Knockers Support Foundation, said she began the organization because “while struggling with the disfigurement of my mastectomy, a  simple gift of comfort and dignity knit by a caring friend changed my life.”

Although the knockers may be sent directly to the organization at 1405 Fraser St. #F103, Bellingham, WA 98229, library director Rhiannon Leo-Jameson said that, starting immediately and continuing at least through the end of the year, the library will serve as a drop-off site. A volunteer will send the knockers periodically to Washington, where they will be stuffed and distributed wherever they are requested, including this area.

The totally volunteer effort provides over 10,000 free knockers per month to 1,950 medical clinics as well as directly to any woman making a request. No referrals are needed. Requests for knockers may be made through the website www.-knittedknockers.org.

Because the devices are touching sensitive areas that may have been impacted by surgical scars, nerve damage and radiation burns, only yarns that have been tested and approved can be used, with over 30 brands listed on the site.

The chosen yarns have “proven to be washable, stay soft after air drying, breathable, durable and the correct weight,” which is baby or DK. They are available at most yarn stores — local, “big box” and online — at a cost of $1.20 to $2 with approximately 50 yards needed per knocker.

The site also provides step-by-step instructions for both knitting and crocheting as well as links to videos for any needed clarification.

For questions, call the NorthEast-Millerton Library at 518-789-3340.

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