• Knitting guild takes hobby to 'heart' for children's hospital


    For the Memphis Knitting Guild at Le Bonheur's FedExFamilyHouse it becomes more than knitting and purling; each stitch turns into a story.

    "A dad came in and we had some fingerless gloves and he wanted them for his daughter right now," said Gail Ray, President of the Memphis Knitting Guild, "We told him he could knit a bracelet, and we happened to have red and blue - Ole Miss colors - and that was what his daughter liked. So I taught him to knit and he talked about his daughter."

    The women of the knitting guild are at the home every Thursday giving knitting lessons to the families staying there while their children are being treated at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. They've given lessons to children and parents staying at the house from across the mid-south and as far as Central America.

    "That's been something that's interesting is trying to knit in another language," said Memphis Knitting Guild Member Maggie Devault.

    Devault said it's the children who pick up the knitting the best.

    "As soon as kids have basic manual dexterity to control the needles, they can learn," she said, "I have found quite frankly the hardest people are adults because they're so busy telling me they can't do it."

    What the knitting group didn't realize is how much of an impact they would have. Parents and even children open their hearts to the women about their struggles.

    "I had a tragedy in my life and people would come in and just let me say whatever I wanted to say whether I was babbling and whatever," said Ray, "It's just nice to know that you're okay to say whatever you need to say and not be judged about what you're sharing with somebody."

    Hearing stories from the families and seeing the works done daily at the FedExFamilyHouse, it inspired them to turn their small stitches into a bigger venture.

    They are knitting a blanket featuring the Le Bonheur heart that will be auctioned at April's FedExFamilyHouse Gala. Money from the event goes to help keep the house operating; families staying at the house do not pay anything.

    Turning the hobby to heart, guild member Joanna went the length to make sure the Le Bonheur heart was the exact color of red.

    Memphis Knitting Guild Member Eloise Warfel said, "I found the website, it had the pantone colors. She contacted Cascade Yarns and they gave her…told her which ones were closest to it and then offered to donate the yarn for it."

    Gala tickets can be purchased at the FedExFamilyHouse website.

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