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Every Friday you’ll find several women knitting by the fireplace at The Barrington of Carmel. They call themselves “Chix with Stix,” and they’re making a difference in the lives of families with premature infants. The group, which was founded in 2013, decided to knit hats and blankets for preemies after seeing a need at area hospitals. The hats and blankets are given to families when they leave the hospital with their newborn for the first time. Once a week for an hour, each member of the group brings their ball of yarn and meets in the front lobby. They relax, visit with each other and knit dozens of hats and blankets. The group recently hit a major milestone. They’ve knitted 1,000 hats and 235 blankets which were distributed to hospitals in the Indianapolis area. Joanna Wright is one of the first women who joined the group and says the impact these items make on the families is the reason they continue to do it.  

“We are just an informal group that gets together to knit hats and blankets for premature babies,” said Wright. “There are usually five or six of us who sit around the fire and knit. This is one of the first interest groups at The Barrington. When we first started, I couldn’t find any patterns small enough for preemies, so I had to go on the internet to find a pattern. I’ve enjoyed knitting for most of my life, so it’s nice to do it with friends and see that it makes a difference. I was so happy when we made it to 1,000 hats. That’s a lot of families who left the hospitals with smiles on their faces. The ladies and I joked that our new goal is 2,000 hats, and if we make it there we will all have to go to dinner. It’s really a blessing to be able to provide these items for the newborns and their families.”

Wright says the group has delivered some of the items to various hospitals themselves, but she usually gives the items to her daughter who works at St. Francis Hospital on the southern side of Indianapolis. Wright receives handwritten letters from the staff often, but a recent note made a particular impact on her life. A staff member at the hospital told her they were overwhelmed with the donations and a new mother cried tears of joy when she received the blanket and hat for her newborn. Powerful messages from recipients encourage her to keep knitting.

“It’s nice to see that people do appreciate what we send out,” Wright said. “We enjoy getting the thank-you notes because it shows what we’re doing really matters to others. It’s not easy having a new baby in the hospital. We love making these items, and it’s fun to catch up with other residents at the community. We don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, so I hope all the hospitals are ready for more blankets and hats.”

The Barrington of Carmel is always looking for new ways for residents to stay active and get involved in the community. They are a Masterpiece Living ® community and embrace a wellness-minded attitude. The senior living community supports resident-led programs like Chix with Stix to encourage learning by focusing on an individual’s key development areas – physical, mental, social and spiritual.

“This is a fantastic resident-led program, and we are proud of all they’ve done for area families with premature babies,” said Jesse Sias, executive director at The Barrington of Carmel. “In just four years these women made 1,000 hats and hundreds of blankets. That is a huge accomplishment, and we look forward to seeing the next milestone they reach. The group is dedicated to helping others, and we are honored they call The Barrington home.”

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