“Knitted Knockers” provide alternative to traditional breast prosthetics

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Knitted Knockers is an organization started by breast cancer survivor Barbara Demorest.  After her mastectomy, Demorest found herself frustrated with the heavy prosthetics provided for her and other cancer patients.  

In fact, the heavy weight of traditional breast prosthetics is only one of the problems they can present.  Expensive and uncomfortable, they also typically require special bras or camisoles with pockets and can’t be worn until weeks after a patient’s surgery.

A basket full of Knitted Knockers

So Demorest worked with a knitter friend to come up with a solution, and Knitted Knockers were born.  The crocheted or knitted knockers are softer, lighter and more comfortable. Unlike many traditional prosthetics, they can be worn with a regular bra; moreover, they take on the shape and feel of a real breast when worn in a bra.

Cottage Yarn first got involved with Knitted Knockers in the fall of last year during the annual Charlotte Area Yarn Crawl.  “We decided as a group that since we are all independently-owned, women-owned shops, we wanted to promote a women-related cause during our crawl,” says Cottage Yarn owner Lyn Milward.  

In October of 2017, the contributing shops delivered over 800 Knitted Knockers to Levine Cancer Institute in “The Pink Lady,” a working, reserve fire truck that promotes awareness of breast cancer and honors members of the Charlotte Fire Department who have fought it.  This year they donated an equal number of Knitted Knockers to Carolina Breast Friends.

The Pink Lady has helped to deliver Knitted Knockers for two years.

Cottage Yarn offer discounts on the yarn used to make the Knockers and free instruction for experienced knitters and crocheters.  Cottage Yarn’s weekly “Therapy Night,” a free and open knit and crochet gathering on Tuesdays from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, is a great time to stop in and get started.  Cottage Yarn collects Knitted Knockers made throughout the year to add to the ones donated during the annual Crawl.

“This cause means a lot to me personally because my mother had breast cancer 13 years ago,” says Milward. “She went through having a mastectomy and wearing the heavy, hot prosthesis that was provided by her insurance. She is a knitter, and when she heard about the Knitted Knockers, she made ones for herself. Since they are made from a soft cotton/bamboo blend, they are breathable and much lighter.”

“Breast cancer affects everyone some way or another, whether a friend, a relative, or yourself,” continues Milward.  “Making and donating the Knitted Knockers is a small way that knitters (and crocheters, too) can let these women know they are loved and not alone in their cancer journey.”

For those who are interested in participating but don’t know how to knit or crochet, Cottage Yarn does offer paid Learn to Knit or Crochet classes every month.  You can learn more about Cottage Yarn and find a full schedule of the shop’s class offerings on their web site: www.cottageyarn.com.

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her five-year-old daughter Hannah and her two-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: marybeth@minthilltimes.com