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An Employee’s Love of Babies and Knitting Brings Program to NorthShore

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 7:40 AM

NorthShore Employee Kathy Nylec knits in her free time. When she saw the chance to bring her hobby to work, she knew she couldn’t pass it up. Kathy has been working hard on knitting little red hats for babies born in the month February to help raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defects. Find out Kathy’s goal and why she’s knitting away.

What is Little Hats, Big Heartsand how did you hear about the program?

The American Heart Association, in connection with The Children's Heart Foundation, celebrates American Heart Month by knitting and crocheting red hats that will be given out to thousands of babies born in February. Little Hats, Big Heart brings people together to raise awareness, provide resources and inspire moms to take their family’s heart health to heart while also raising awareness about Congenital Heart Defects.

I learned about the program through Facebook. As I read through the article about Little Hats, Big Hearts, I was disappointed that I didn’t see NorthShore on the list of area hospitals that helped to sponsor the program.


Why did you want to become involved with the program at NorthShore?

I noticed immediately that NorthShore wasn’t on the list of participating hospitals and I wanted to change that. I have been knitting and crocheting for years. My church works to make hats for third world countries and prayer shawls for the community. Each time there is a baby born in my department I make them a set of booties, mittens and a hat as well. I enjoy the activity and like to support people or communities in need, which is why I wanted to get involved with the American Heart Association for Little Hats, Big Hearts in February.

How did you convince your coworkers to get involved with the initiative?

Luckily they didn’t need much convincing! Once my manager knew that I was interested in bringing NorthShore into the program, she supported me to set up meetings and got the ball rolling. She sent out an email to staff informing them of my interest in supporting the American Heart Association and encouraged them to support me and the program by donating yarn or money. Some coworkers have donated money for yarn, some have brought yarn themselves, and another, Julie Fisher, has helped with the knitting and crocheting.

You have a goal of 400 hats, why 400? What is the hardest part about knitting 400 hats?

Four hundred is the estimated number of babies that will be born at NorthShore within the month of February. The estimate is that 300 will be born on the Evanston campus and 100 on the Highland Park campus. We’ve been working on this for about a month and already have over 100 hats! After we’ve made them all, we will wash and package them for the Mother/Baby Units to distribute throughout the month.

How can others get involved or help your efforts?

If you know how to knit or crochet, you can find information and patterns online. They recommend simple hat patterns since bows and buttons can come off the hats and be dangerous for the babies.

You can also donate yarn, money or gift cards for JoAnn’s and/or Michaels. Yarn specifics include: red, cotton or acrylic, medium-to-heavy weight, machine washable and dryable.

For more information on Little Hats, Big Hearts, you can visit their website. I’m happy to say that if you look at the list of participating Chicagoland hospitals, you’ll now see NorthShore there!