We should probably let 67-year-old Holly Jeffries get some rest during March.
Last month, she personally created and donated 100 crocheted hats as part of the Little Hats/Big Hearts program sponsored by the American Heart Association. Holly had been looking for a way to honor her mother’s memory. Her mom, who died three years ago, was a giver. Holly stumbled into the program that sought to provide warmth and comfort to premature babies and quickly realized that she’d discovered her passion.
Holly learned to knit when she was 4 years old and was hooked on crocheting at the age of 10. Her professional career spanned 30 years in the banking business. But a day rarely went by that she didn’t hold a needle and yarn in her hands.
A native Ohioan, she was a single parent who raised two children. “My parents were always involved in helping somebody else,” she proudly says from her home in Ladson. “Our society today, though, is missing something ... a sense of community. I think we all should give something to others, whether it’s time, money or baby hats.”
Most of what Holly knits and crochets is for friends and family. In 1974, she crocheted a sister’s wedding gown. She recently finished a christening gown for that same sister’s granddaughter.
Tools of the trade
The loops and stitches that flow from Holly’s hands are responsible for countless doilies, caps and scarves. Yarn and patterns occupy spots all around the house and even when she’s not physically sitting in her favorite chair working on the latest creation, she might be thinking about the next one.
Because she has three grandchildren, her repertoire of projects includes a variety of requests. She’s produced everything from a light saber to a basketball net.
“I just love the feel and texture of yarn, the way it works up.”
Knitting has a different effect on different people. For some, it’s a way to relieve stress or even handle pain or depression. For others, it’s a mental exercise that stimulates the brain.
For Holly, it’s all about how it impacts her spirit and the smiles, along with the warm and fuzzies, that come from giving to people she doesn’t know.
In 2008, she donated 70 little hats to Trident Hospital. A week ago, 10 caps were given to a local church headed to South Africa on a mission trip.
Those 100 little hats she knitted in February were spread across five states and nine hospitals. Those hospitals were chosen because that’s where her nieces and nephews were born.
She has three grandchildren of her own and is known as Baga, thanks to the oldest grand who somehow declared that name to be fitting.
Holly hasn’t decided on her next project. “I have a passion for preemies.” She also has a new grandchild who is less than a month old.
It takes a couple of hours to crochet a "comfort cap," as they’re called. It does nothing more than keep the little head warm while also demonstrating that somebody out there cares.
She thinks she might branch-out with another idea to replace the little hats. She’s been told an octopus made of yarn might be very engaging to a young child because the different tentacles would constantly provide something for the little one to grab.
She’s already found a pattern and whether via a cap or an octopus, has figured out a way to touch somebody with her giving spirit.
It all started because she was trying to honor her mom and was seeking to find her passion. Turns out, that desire to give was wrapped in that ball of yarn that was unwinding on the floor all along.
Reach Warren at email@example.com