- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

BROWNWOOD, Texas (AP) - It all started with Donna Wigley’s scalp. Her treatment for breast cancer had taken all her hair.

“So of course, her head was cold,” said her sister, Mary Katherine Adams. “And I thought, ‘I can do something about this!’”

The Abilene Reporter-News (https://bit.ly/2iBkSOI ) reports feeling helpless is only one of the terrible aspects of watching a loved one fight cancer. Figuring out an activity to combat those feelings is an empowering moment, so long as you act upon it.

Adams‘ mother learned how to knit when she was studying Library Science in college.

“Back then, in the mid-1930s, knitting was a popular thing for young women,” she said.

Her father worked two jobs, the second on weekends as a census taker for the Farm Bureau. It required a lot of travel, and Adams and her mother would accompany him. On one of those trips, she asked her mother to teach her how to knit.

“So Mother and I went to what used to be Gibson’s - the building isn’t even there anymore - and bought yarn to make an afghan,” Adams recalled. Her mother taught her the basics of knitting and it went from there.

“I was 10 when we did that, it’s been a love of mine ever since,” Adams said.

But then for whatever reason, over time her interest in knitting dwindled.

“I had put it down for a lot of years, until Donna had cancer and lost her hair,” Adams said. “That’s when I picked it back up.

“It’s like riding a bicycle, you don’t ever forget it.”

So she bent her mind to the task. When she gets going, Adams can create a knit cap in a day’s time. But eventually there came to be a limit.

“After about 50 hats for her, I thought, ‘That’s enough,’” she said, and laughed.

She still felt the need to do something, though. Even though she almost made enough hats for her sister to wear two a day, Adams still wanted to make more.

“Georganna Sonnenberg and Sheila Carroll are my cousins and I know they’re both needle workers,” Adams said. “So I approached them and asked, ‘Would y’all be interested in starting a group with me?’

“Fortunately they said yes and we just dove in.”

They call their group The Least of These, a reference to the biblical verse Matthew 25:40, which reads in part, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” In referencing that verse, Adams said their group is a ministry.

“A ministry in the name of the Lord to others who are, in this case, among the least,” she explained.

The group of ladies met for the first time in October. This month they met at the Coggin Baptist Church Connection Center. Their group gathers the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.

“When I went up to Dallas for Christmas, I took a big box of hats from this group to Texas Oncology,” Adams said. “They were so grateful to receive them, there were some knitted caps and there were some crocheted hats.”

She delivered about 100 hats, some for adults and others child-sized.

“Texas Oncology does not have children as patients but they have a liaison to a place that does. They got those children’s things to where they needed to be,” she said.

“We’ve had prayer shawls and lap blankets made,” Carroll said.

“But most of us are making caps,” Adams added. “I probably won’t change, because that’s my passion - caps.”

“It’s a stress buster,” Sonnenberg said.

“It is, it really is,” Adams said, nodding agreement. She held up the hat in her hand. “I’m just crazy, I started this cap after midnight last night because I couldn’t sleep.”

“She has no regular hours, I promise you,” Carroll said.

“Regular hours?” Adams quipped. “Regular hours are so boring, I’m footloose and fancy-free. I’m likely to go here, there or somewhere else at the drop of a hat, just so long as Beowulf can go with me.”

Beowulf, her 3-year-old Pomeranian, was taking turns sitting in different ladies’ laps. It made you wonder how much of him went out with every hat.

Tuesday night’s group numbered around seven, though there are more members. Not everyone comes, some stay home to work.

Resting on chairs were three large plastic tubs filled with donated yarn and needles to work it.

“Draco Miller brought those to us,” Adams said, referring to Brownwood’s Ward 4 city councilman. “We just tote them in every month, we’ve got some of everything.”

“Between the three of us, we’d love to teach anybody who comes in to learn,” Carroll said.

Adams nodded, expanding the group is part of her dream.

“We would be more than happy to teach anybody - man, woman or child,” she said.


Information from: Abilene Reporter-News, https://www.reporternews.com

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