New Sewickley knitter nears 2,000th cap for Native American children
Mary C. Wilson of New Sewickley in Beaver County had a modest goal when she began knitting caps for Native American children about seven years ago.
“I set myself a goal of 100 caps but thought I would never get that far,” Wilson said.
Wilson far exceeded her goal. She's nearing her 2,000th cap, with no plans to quit.
“As long as I'm able, I'll keep making them,” said Wilson, 83, a retired dental hygienist.
Wilson makes about 300 caps a year for Knit-A-Cap, a nonprofit that has provided hand-knit caps to children on reservations to fight ear infections since the late 1960s.
Donating materials, knitters follow instructions and make sure each cap looks different. Wilson said she has sent caps to reservations in Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Washington state.
“My biggest shipment was 370” caps, she said.
Lana Shaugnessy, longtime director of Washington-based Knit-A-Cap, said Wilson is among 100 knitters nationwide. More than 50,000 caps have been made, and about 3,000 are donated each year.
“Mary has much devotion, and is so sweet, so sincere,” Shaugnessy said. “Her caps truly are knitted with love. She wants to do something positive.”
Wilson, who considers knitting good therapy for her arthritic hands, spends about five hours on each cap.
Her husband, Donald, a retired attorney and civil engineer, helps her choose colors. “He likes orange,” Wilson said.
Wilson enjoys receiving thank-you letters from students and teachers. Children on one reservation sent a large banner on which they drew colored pictures of their caps.
Wilson learned about Knit-A-Cap as a member of the knitting group in Beaver Area Memorial Library.
Group founder Vicki Teets has donated materials, and Teets admires Wilson's dedication.
“She's a special lady (who is) very enthusiastic about her cap goal,” Teets said. “I try to supply Mary with yarns and needles that are donated to us.”
Teets said Wilson donated 30 scarves to a library fundraiser a year ago.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Job growth in Upper St. Clair area prompts need for housing
- Paralympic club steps up its adaptive workouts for rowers
- Businesses in McKees Rocks struggle amid $39M revamp of West Carson
- Mt. Lebanon awaits formal letter nixing extended deer season
- North Allegheny teen eager to serve
- Young achiever: Panari Patel
- High school dance marathons raise money to help children