Hats Off To Liz is a small but dedicated group of knitters and crocheters committed to making a difference in the world one stitch at a time.
In November 2011 we met in a family room in Oakville, Ontario for our very first Hats Off to Liz Yarnapalooza. Our goal was to knit and crochet chemo caps to donate to Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga at Christmastime. The local group was small, but thanks to the miracle of Facebook, donations were mailed in from as far away as Vancouver, British Columbia and the state of Michigan. By donation day we had more than 50 handmade chemo caps and dozens of brand new baseball caps (sourced by the co-workers of one of our group members who was worried that the men might be forgotten!).
The plan was to make the Yarnapalooza an annual event, but the locals had so much fun knitting and chatting that it has since turned into a monthly gathering. As a result, we have been able to donate more than 1200 homemade chemo caps to the hospital - and counting!
We now also make infant loss items for Credit Valley Hospital. After asking if the NICU needed preemie hats, we were gently told that, sadly, the real need is for items small enough to fit babies lost in the second trimester. Hats Off to Liz embraced this new cause with the same fervor as the chemo cap mission. As a result, we have been able to donate more than 800 infant loss items to the hospital, including wee blankets, hats and burial gowns, bringing comfort to bereaved parents at a time when they need it most by recognizing and showing our respect for the little ones they've loved and lost.
In the years since that first gathering, our local ranks have swelled! New knitters and crocheters continue to join the group - even newbies who have never picked up hooks or needles before - and strangers have become lifelong friends.
It's heartwarming to see how eagerly members embrace the cause, and how quickly helping to produce these comfort items becomes a passion.
In September 2012 we introduced Hats Off To Liz to the grade 5 and 6 classes at Holy Name of Mary College School in Mississauga. Each year they choose a charitable cause to support as part of their stewardship program. We were honoured that they chose us, and particularly excited since many of the local Hats Off group members are HNM grads!
We are grateful to Holy Name of Mary and the talented and determined girls who supported us during their 2012/13 school year.
“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.” ~ Thomas Kinkade
Angel Gown mission
After posting a link to an article about women who donate their wedding dresses to charities, who then turn them into burial buntings and blankets for infants born too soon, we were approached by a few generous friends who wondered if we might be able to use their dresses for this purpose. Two of our dedicated knitters are also fabulous seamstresses, and they have volunteered to be the driving force behind our brand new angel gown program.
In addition to knitted and crocheted infant loss items, we now supply Credit Valley Hospital with tiny lacy gowns, buntings and blankets. We received our very first gown, donated by Elizabeth Tait, in August 2014, and have since received nearly a dozen more from friends and strangers alike.
Our first donated wedding gown, generously given to us by Elizabeth Tait