Moorestown’s First United Methodist Church and Hats from the Heart made hats for people in war-torn Ukraine on March 26.
Hats can be donated through April 3 at a drop box by the church doors closest to Pleasant Valley Avenue. All hats will be donated to one or more aid organizations for shipment to Ukraine or to a country supporting Ukrainian refugees.
Hats from the Heart, founded by Moorestown resident Janet Hanlon, is a community-based group of knitters, crocheters and loom-knitters who make hats for the homeless and others in need.
“She (Janet) had the vision and had the inspiration and initiative to start inviting people to her home to knit hats and we’ve been doing it ever since,” said Pattie Gritzan, co-organizer of the event.
Hanlon and Gritzan put the event together quickly after the former received an email requesting hats for Ukrainians, and Gritzan was eager to get others involved, specifically people who have yet to join the hat effort.
“I’m really hoping to get a couple of people interested in doing this who have never done (it),” she said. “I look forward to seeing the faces of the beginners when they tie off the top of the hat and they’ve made their first hat.”
“That’s a neat feeling.”
Gritzan went on to explain that Hats from the Heart focuses on loom-knitting, which requires using knitting looms in children and adult sizes.
“They’re all like a knit stitch,” she noted. “You just go around and around the loom with a hook and you just hook. So you’re not using knitting needles, you’re using a hook, and you’re just kind of lifting the stitch … If you just keep that pattern, you get what looks like this nice smooth knit pattern.”
Loom-kits were available for purchase at the church event and experts were on hand for instruction. Hats from the Heart members recommended that attendees use unisex, neutral or muted colors and that each hat have a tag attached reading, “This hat was made with love and with prayers for peace in Ukraine.”
“It’s a variety of colors so people can pick what they want from what we’ve already chosen,” Gritzan advised. “We want to make it easy for the aid organization to get these out when they get them. If they have to sort men’s and women’s and boys’ and girls’ … we will have two choices: We will have adult and we will have children’s.”
As of deadline, Hats from the Heart has yet to decide where the hats will go.
“My intent would be to find an aid organization on the ground, and that could be in Poland or Moldova (or) Ukraine, and then we would do a direct shipment,” Gritzan said.
“I am envisioning that we take the bin of adult hats and we turn them all out on a table and we get a pile of hats – all different colors – and we do the same thing for the children’s hats … ’’ she added.
“It is just a beautiful sight to see the diversity (of what) people have done and created.”