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Communities that KARE: The Knitting Grandmas and Friends

A group in Maple Grove is knitting together a bond between volunteers and the tiniest hospital patients.

MAPLE GROVE, Minnesota — On Monday afternoons, the Maple Grove Community Center parking lot is hopping.

There's coffee, conversation and a car trunk filled with tiny hats.

"Knitting Grandmas and Friends" create nearly a hundred hats a week to be gifted to the more than four hundred babies born at Maple Grove Hospital each month.

They meet once a week to catch up and drop off their latest styles.

"Well for me, I love knitting. It's relaxing," explained Sheila Enestvedt, an avid knitter.

Enestvedt also volunteers at the hospital, so she gets to see their handy work in person. "I’m lucky enough to see a lot of the babies leaving in our hats and get a chance to talk to the parents," she said.

Credit: KARE 11

More than the relaxation and more than the creativity, knitting hats is a way to give back.

"It really is rewarding to be able to make something with your own hands that is appreciated by families," said Will Lines, who has been knitting since high school.

Lines and his wife spend their free time knitting new creations.

It's hours upon hours of work each week.

"Oh, probably about 20 hours. I'm retired, so I don't have an awful lot of other stuff to do," joked Lines.

Still, the hats take four to six hours to create, depending on how elaborate the design is. 

For the knitters, it's time well spent.

"Baby hats sometimes are given out at the hospitals and [they're] a little generic hat. But, these are very very special, very beautiful hats," explained Phyllis Johnson, a founding member of the Knitting Grandmas and Friends.

"Luckily, we have a group of about 60 knitters, that help us and their friends," Johnson said.

The effort doesn't go unnoticed by the hospital or the new parents, either.

"When we're knitting in the community center, a mom will stop in with her baby and thank us for the hats when they realize we're the group that makes them for the hospital. So that's always real rewarding for all of us to see that," said Enestvedt.

The Knitting Grandmas and Friends has been part of Maple Grove Hospital since it opened in 2009.

The hospital does give as well as receive, by sponsoring the group and providing the funds for the yarn used in the colorful creations.

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