By Meaghan Morton
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS – Yarnia, a yarn shop in downtown Nacogdoches takes time to make and donate Knitted Knockers – a free and plush alternative to silicon breast prosthetics for people who have undergone a mastectomy.
A knocker is a knitted ball stuffed with soft fiber to make it comfortable for the wearer and machine washable. Only approved yarns and stuffing can be used in order to donate. According to the Knitted Knockers official website, Knittedknockers.org, traditional breast prosthetics are usually expensive, heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable, typically require special bras or camisoles with pockets and can’t be worn for weeks after surgery.
Owner of Yarnia, Valarie Benning and others have been making the knockers at Yarnia.
“A lady had brought it to me and asked me if I was interested in putting something together around that charity… and she had a friend that had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and was going to have to have a double mastectomy and she was making them,” Binning said.
At the time, Binning’s business was new and she held off on the project. However, later she went with the idea.
“She brought it back to me again and another person brought it back to me and I put it out to my customers and a lot of people were very interested in participating. So, it just kind of took off,” Binning said.
Binning said she has had two people in the shop this past week who were interested in Knitted Knockers. At the time she had around 20 sets of knockers with around five to 10 people contributing to the creation of the knockers.
“I think we are all so sensitive to the subject as a woman. You don’t want to have to figure that out, but if you do, this is at least a solution that can make it a little bit easier,” Binning said.
According to the American Cancer Society, a mastectomy is a “way of treating breast cancer by removing the entire breast through surgery. It’s often done when a woman cannot be treated with breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), which spares most of the breast. It can also be done if a woman chooses mastectomy over breast-conserving surgery for personal reasons. Women at very high risk of getting a second cancer sometimes have a double mastectomy, the removal of both breasts.”
In America the month of October is known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a month in which companies that support breast cancer research fundraise and raise awareness for the disease.
Binning’s shop also donates crafted items, such as red hats for red hearts, to raise awareness for congenital heart defects and purple hats for shaken baby syndrome.
“It’s easier to get involved in the community because you know the people that are being impacted,” Binning said.
Patterns for the Knitted Knockers are available on Knittedknockers.org and the list of useable fabrics and stuffing are on there as well. On the website, you can also register yourself as knitter or request a set of knockers.
Binning’s shop is open Tuesday through Saturday and is located at 321 E Main St, Nacogdoches, Texas. For more information on the shop, visit their Facebook or call 936-205-3233.