Friday, December 04, 2009

Little Rock & Knitting for Noggins

Hi Knitters,
I want to share with you the wonderful time I had in Little Rock, Arkansas yesterday. It was a fast and furious event. Here are the toys sitting quietly before the storm of knitters arrived.There were even hat cookies for the taking. They were yummy, I had a green one.

The main purpose of the Knitting for Noggins event at the Arkansas Children's Hospital was for the knitters to drop off their donated hats. Boy, did they ever drop off the hats. On Thursday while I was there the hospital collected 8,099 hats! That's in about 2 hours.

Let me give you some interesting statistics about this hat drive, in 2006 there were 32,000 hats collected, in 2007 there were 38,000 hats collected and in 2009 there were 39,000 hats collected. This year from June 1st to the present the hospital has collected 14,388 hats. It is incredible. The hospital distributes all of these hats locally through the families and patients that come to the hospital and clinics. The entire drive is run by Robin Armstrong and her amazing team of workers, Melissa and Sandy. They work so hard for Knitting for Noggins and all of the volunteer services of the hospital. It is an impressive group. I am honored to get to be a tiny part of this fun day.
This year (this is my third time attending the event) the set up was a little different. In the past it was more of a knit-in or knitathon type thing. This year it was a hat drop off , cookie eating and Itty-Bitty Toys event kind of day. I had a great time. There were around 100 knitters and crocheters in attendance and they were a fun and lively group.

I kept thinking how it was like at church where no one wants to sit in the front row. Those two chairs sat empty the entire time. Front rows are scary, I guess. I don't like the front row either.
The room was a board room, with a magnificent view, so there was an enormous conference table equipped with microphones at each seat. I loved seeing all of the knitters around that humongous table. I talked and shared and gave some tips and tricks for toy knitting. It was fun!
I met knitters from all around the area. The lady in the red sweatshirt, Nancy, was such a dear. She is a big Itty-Bitty fan and blog fan. We had a great time meeting in person.
Everyone enjoyed the trunk show. I am telling you, the adults love the toys. Okay, Judy Johnson in the pink shirt is a wonderful woman who I keep in touch with since I sat on a crazy plane ride with her daughter, Jill, the second time I came to Little Rock. Jill is a physician at the hospital and somehow through getting on and off a plane and having the plane reboot several times while we were on board, we made it through. We chatted and she told me her mom, Jill, knits for the charity. Jill ended up coming to the event with Judy that year. One other fun fact is that Judy's uncle owns the Octopus Car Wash in Madison. (All you old-time Madisonians definitely know what I am talking about.)

Judy's group, the El Dorado Connections, donated 1, 335 hats yesterday to Knitting for Noggins. She was so proud of her group of knitters and I don't blame her. She thought there were about 15 knitters in the group. Great work! Even better to see you again.I signed and signed and many brought their other Itty-Bitty books for me to sign as well. Don't hesitate to do that if I am ever signing anywhere. People are always apologetic for bringing all three books but I love it! One woman has all three books and she was laughing because she doesn't even knit. She just likes the books, so cute.
That's Robin Armstrong to my right. Robin is an avid knitter with a three -year-old granddaughter to knit for. Robin is full of spunk and ideas. She loves to talk knitting with me.
This is Carol who is a staff member at the hospital. She was excited to get her books signed and I was excited to meet her.
Little Rock is filled with knitters who love baby knitting and children and family. I am forever impressed by the outpouring of generosity these knitters show every year.
The trunk show table was literally mobbed. Toys were flying everywhere. I loved it!
This group showed up right at the end of the event. I have met them before and they came after school got out. The group is called the Nutty Knitters and they are all around middle school age. What a fun group of girls. Good to see you again and thanks for coming after your school day let out.
The Nutty Knitters really enjoyed the trunk show.
More hands-on action...
It was such a pleasure to meet all of these wonderful knitters.
Here is the entire Nutty Knitter group and their leader on the far right. Love them.
This is another group of knitters, some I have met before. Opal on the left I know I met last time. This group of knitters meets every month and knits together. Their group has grown and they have a healthy number involved now and they have such a good time together. They are called, The Yarn Dolls. They have a blog here.
This young and handsome group is Americorps. They are volunteers that travel around the country staying in different cities where their help is needed. They are currently helping at the Children's Hospital and were an enormous help to Robin and her team while gathering and transporting the thousands of hats. They helped count and organize, too. They all knit, even the young men. It was great to meet such a positive energetic group.
This is one hardworking group of women. Left is Sandy (maybe spelled Sandee?), Robin, Melissa and Jill (my generous driver for the day!). Thank you, ladies, for a wonderful event! Check out those coordinating outfits!
Here are the hats! The main event of the day. What a treat. I looked through and there are loads of well-crafted cute hats. The hospital is always in need of larger-sized hats if you are interested in donating to their cause. They give hats to entire families and siblings, not just babies.

Robin also said they are teaming up with a coat charity for the Christmas season so the recipients get a hat and a coat for the winter. She is always thinking for the good of others.
This is how it looked as I left and that is not even all of the hats from the day.

What a day to remember.
best, susie