By Tia Lynn Ivey
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which begins in October, the Madison Artists Guild (MAG) is launching a new program to give breast cancer survivors with a unique gift. The “Knit a Tit” program invites crafty knitters to create “beautiful, lightweight, cotton prostheses for women to use shortly after mastectomies while their incisions heal, as options until they receive breast implants, or if implants have failed.”
According to MAG, “The finished items will be donated to Knitted Knockers, a non-profit organization that distributes them for free to doctors, hospitals, and individual breast cancer survivors across the United States and around the world.”
The program was created by Sarah Wibell, a proficient knitter and yoga enthusiast.
“Before COVID hit, I became aware that MAG had intended to offer a variety of classes, workshops and outreach programs, and I started imagining ways to offer something with knitting,” explained Wibell. “As a knitter, I love when fiber arts are publicized and shown off. I think that category is often overlooked because it is typically functional, but the skill and craft required to make an object, piece of clothing or, in this case, prosthesis is an art form.”
Wibell aims to use her knitting skills to benefit others.
“Over the years, I’ve learned how to use different kinds of needles and utilize various stitches and cables to create numerous items However, for me, knitting is most enjoyable when I’m making something for someone else – a family member, close friend, or good cause,” said Wibell. “If you go onto Knitted Knockers website, you can find testimonials from women who have received these volunteer-made prostheses. It is remarkable how something so simple can be so meaningful to breast cancer survivors.”
The Knit a Tit idea has been a hit with recipients.
“I got one last year as I waited for the silicon prosthesis! It made me feel better as my chest healed,” said Pam Stratton, a local breast cancer survivor. “I still use it sometimes.”
MAG will provide the pattern, yarn and supplies. Knitters can choose to meet in-person or virtually from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on October 13, 20, and 27 or knit on their own. In addition, special bonus activities include yoga for knitters, meeting Debra Flagle who raises llamas and alpacas, and more, according to MAG.
Although the original plan was to instruct people who had never knitted, this year the program will seek people who already know how to knit.
“I first encountered Knitted Knockers when I was in college and professors in one of my classes had students make them,” Wibell explained. “Knowing how much MAG loves to develop impactful outreach programs, I began talking to Co-Presidents Patricia DuBose and Karen Wibell about how to make provisions for COVID-19. Everyone at MAG has been very supportive and excited about it. Now we just need to get the word out to other knitters.”
DuBose noted, “This is a very meaningful fiber arts project that augments our existing Art with Heart outreach programs.”
Registration is required by October 1 and can be done online at www.themadisonartistsguild.org/knit-a-tit or at the Madison Artists Guild, 125 W. Jefferson Street, Madison, Georgia 30650. MAG is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.