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Milwaukee Seniors crochet more than 700 items for people fighting cancer

Posted at 5:23 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 06:23:05-04

Incredible blankets, cross stitch tableaus and cozy soft hats are just a few of the fine handicrafts produced by the Wilson Commons Fiber Arts Club.

It’s led by Ken Klockow, who picked up crocheting after observing as a child.

“My grandma taking the hook and a piece of yarn and creating something,” Ken says.

His skills have improved over the decades – from simple scarves to intricate doilies. He got so good he started to teach!

“The more I did it, the more I loved it,” Ken says. “And the people that I taught, I don’t know, they just picked up on it!”

Ken and his classes crochet for more than just themselves. Over the years he’s donated plenty of his creations as well. And he got another opportunity to do good when his son-in-law, Carl, was diagnosed with cancer.

“He got what I call a care package from this place called Phil’s Friends.”

Phil’s Friends, located outside Chicago, sends packages filled with hats, blankets, word searches and other goodies to cancer patients all over the country.

“Things to keep them busy but also warm,” says Ken.

Phil’s Friends reached out to Carl to see if he knew anyone who could donate hats and scarves for future care packages.

“And of course their hands went up right away and said, ‘mom and dad can do this!’” Ken recalls.

He gathered up his fiber arts group and they got to work – knitting and crocheting nearly 700 items to send to Phil’s Friends.

“People are just overwhelming, the kindness that they have in their hearts,” Ken says. “Even now to this day, the people here, every week that we meet, they bring a little bag of more hats, more hats and scarves and whatever they have.”

The club has already sent one batch to Phil’s friends. They’re almost ready to send their second batch, which is just as large.

Community relations manager Kaitlin Kelly says projects like this are so beneficial to her residents.

“Not only are they making something to then donate, but it’s a social outlet for them,” she says. “Physically, keeping their hands working, their fingers working. It definitely has multiple layers.”

It feels good to do good.

“There’s so much disgust in this world and so much turmoil,” Ken says. “To see the happiness that this gives to people, it’s heartwarming.”

So the real question – will there be a third batch?

“Oh yes, oh yes!” Ken says without hesitation. “This is not the end! When I have to stop doing this, that’ll be the end.”

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