Project Knitwell’s mission is to bring the joy of knitting and its therapeutic benefits to persons facing stressful situations by providing expert instruction and quality materials. Through knitting, participants can obtain a myriad of wellness benefits, find comfort in becoming part of a larger knitting community, and gain a sense of satisfaction by completing hand-knit items for themselves and others.
Carol Caparosa founded Project Knitwell in 2010 as a result of her experience being the mother of a pediatric patient. Years ago, her daughter spent countless hours in the hospital recovering from multiple heart surgeries. Carol recalls how slowly the clocks moved and how difficult it was for her to concentrate. It was at that time that she renewed her interest in knitting and believes that it provided a welcomed distraction from the immediate worries related to her daughter’s hospital stay.
Years later, Carol returned as a volunteer to the pediatric unit where her daughter was a patient. She taught mothers whose children were hospitalized to knit in the hope that they, too, would gain from it the benefits she had. With this, the seed for Project Knitwell was planted. The organization received its 501(c)(3) status in October 2010. Carol’s daughter, now a healthy twenty-something, worked as a nurse on the same unit at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital where she had been a patient as an infant, and now works on the Peadiatric Cardiac unit of another area hospital.
Project Knitwell’s Executive Director Michelle Maynard is a life-long knitter who knows first-hand how knitting can help reduce stress and build community. During the 5 1/2 years that her husband Matt Sunter battled a rare form of cancer, Michelle spent many hours knitting in waiting and treatment rooms. She noticed that patients and their companions often turned away from TVs and electronics to start a conversation about yarn-crafting, and doctors seemed relieved to have something else to talk about besides test results and scans.
Michelle particularly enjoyed knitting socks for Matt and others during stressful times. Project Knitwell has since launched the Matt’s Socks initiative to raise funds for Project Knitwell in memory of Matt, who died in May, 2015.