Knitting for a cause: Cumberland resident donating 
hats to the homeless, infants and premature babies

Knitting for a cause: Cumberland resident donating 
hats to the homeless, infants and premature babies

Lorraine Sanford, above, holds up hats she’s created using looms. She plans to donate the hats to a church in Woonsocket, where the knitted garments will be distributed to the homeless, and will donate another portion of the hats to Women & Infants Hospital in Providence. (Breeze photo by Brittany Ballantyne)

CUMBERLAND – Lorraine Sanford can be found in a sunny spot or by the fireplace at Brookdale Cumberland, loom and yarn in hand, busy making different knitted hats.

She's whipped up more than 90 hats, and plans to donate them to Saint James Church in Woonsocket for the homeless, and to Women & Infants Hospital in Providence for newborns and premature babies.

Sanford, 83, is also part teacher. She said she’s taught others the knitting technique, including her family members, and others have reached out to her to learn the style.
Sitting in the lobby of Brookdale, Sanford displayed her bag of yarn and wooden looms. Another hat is already in the making at 10 a.m.

“I carry it constantly with me,” she said. She can start and finish a hat in a day, knitting in her free time, Sanford said.

Sanford, who moved to Cumberland as a young adult and later moved to Woonsocket where she lived for 25 years, said she was about 35 when she started to take up the craft while her four children were growing up.

Sitting beside a table filled with more than 90 of her hat creations at Brookdale, she said she can knit, crochet and cross-stitch, and finds it all relaxing. She can multi-task while knitting, she said, and she’s not afraid to make mistakes.

She said there’s nothing challenging about making the hats, and said it would take roughly 30 minutes to show someone the ropes. She uses wooden looms that are at least 40 years old, Sanford said, explaining the plastic ones for sale today aren’t as good of quality. She also purchases her own yarn, she said, and searches for the perfect spools.

Sanford said she’s saving some of the hats in her latest bunch for Brookdale’s upcoming annual bazaar, though a date has yet to be determined.

Sanford said she doesn’t need to knit a tag into the hats she’s creating for the church and hospital, and is satisfied that she’s done something for someone who needs it.

The rewarding part of spending hours making all of these winter hats, she said, is the fact that “somebody was going to appreciate it, and maybe put a smile on their face.”