The Sassy Stitchers

Sassy Stichers members, left-right, Eleanor Rae, Lana Fitzgerald, Persis Webb, work on their projects at the Westfield Senior Center. (Photo by chief photographer Frederick Gore)

The Sassy Stitchers add a new dimension to the traditional knitting/crocheting group. In addition to enjoying the sociability and sharing of expertise that the group setting brings, these women, who meet weekly at the Westfield Senior Center, stitch with the purpose of bringing comfort to individuals suffering from a variety of health related issues, many of them terminally ill. Thus, their works are known as Comfort Covers. While the child oriented covers are distributed to Project Linus, Baystate Health, Ronald McDonald House and Baystate Pediatric Hospice, the adult sized covers are donated to patients of Noble Visiting Nurse and Hospice Services.
Rachel Rembrandt, Chaplain and Spiritual Counselor at Noble Visiting Nurse and Hospice, serves as the intermediary between the Stitchers and the patients. She explains that the covers are in the shape of shawls, lap robes, afghans and stoles. All are stitched in uplifting and soothing colors and patterns reflect the creativity and personality of the crafters. Rembrandt explains that the covers bring both warmth and security to the terminally ill or homebound patients. Limited mobility often leaves these individuals feeling chilly, even in the warmest weather. She notes that a shawl is the perfect match for the person who is too frail to manage the sleeves of a sweater. The wheelchair bound patient often prefers the lap robe, while the bed bound individual enjoys the comfort of the afghan and the versatile character of the stole makes it suitable for many uses.
In addition to the physical warmth of the covers, there is also the spiritual warmth that comes along with them. Rembrandt exercises great care, in matching the patient to the cover. In addition to appropriate shape, she considers texture, color and pattern. As these patients are being cared for in their homes, a visit to the home quickly provides her with the patient’s preferences and a suitable cover is selected.
Although the Stitchers and patients never meet each other, there is a bond that forms between them. One member of the group explains that she prays that wherever her work goes, peace and joy go with it. Another indicates that while the knitting and crocheting give her an outlet to do something constructive, it is particularly meaningful because it is benefiting someone in need. All in the group agreed that while they enjoy knitting and crocheting, as well as each other’s company, the true significance of this exercise is the connection they feel with the recipients of their work, adding that the covers are made with love and sent with love.
As one woman concluded, “It feels good to help.”
The patients also experience the spiritual connection with the crafters and are always grateful that an unknown person has taken the time and expended the effort to provide them with these welcome Comfort Covers.
“I speak on behalf of our patients and the entire team at Noble Visiting Nurse and Hospice Services when I express heartfelt gratitude to the Sassy Stitchers and all who support their effort,” Rembrandt noted. “The Comfort Covers enhance the agency’s effort to fulfill our mission of providing quality compassionate care to patients in their homes.”
The Sassy Stitchers began about six years ago, when two people got together to exchange patterns and knit. It now numbers about a dozen active members. In the past six months they have produced sixty Comfort Covers. The group meets on Wednesday mornings at the Westfield Senior Center on Main Street. They will have a booth at Colonial Harvest Days in the fall. At that time they will be selling hand crafted items for the purpose of raising funds for their charitable projects. In the meantime, monetary donations or donations of yarn are gratefully accepted. Yarn must be 4-ply, non-woolen and washable. To make a donation or obtain more information, contact the Senior Center’s coordinator for this project, Carol Shannon, at 413-562-6435.
Noble Visiting Nurse and Hospice Services is in its 26th year of providing high quality home health and hospice care to residents of Western Massachusetts. The agency is Medicare and Medicaid certified and accepts private insurances and managed care plans. For additional information, please call 413-562-7049 or visit

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