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FOREST CITY | Waldorf University’s Knit Wits has been crocheting hats for the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts to celebrate American Heart Month during the month of February.

In the American Heart Association's Little Hats, Big Hearts program, knitters from all over the country crochet red hats for babies to raise awareness of congenital heart defects and what we can do to help prevent them.

For the Knit Wits, their first Little Hats, Big Hearts year was last year, when they made and received nearly 300 baby hats, according to Elizabeth DeYoung, Waldorf University reference and instruction librarian and director of Knit Wits.

DeYoung said Knit Wits started participating in the program because Library Director Derrick Burton saw DeYoung and the work-study students knitting and crocheting in the library and wanted to have them do something for a charity.

“We looked around, and this was in the late fall of two years ago, and this was coming up, so he was like, ‘Yeah, let’s give this one a shot,’” DeYoung said. “Just to do something good with all the yarn that we have, the obvious interest that existed for crafting with yarn here.”

So far, this year, Knit Wits has made and collected around 50 hats for the Little Hats, Big Hearts program. The collection week falls during Waldorf’s spring break, with the final day on Friday, March 8.

The library supplies the yarn, crochet hooks and the baby hat patterns for free for anyone who wants to crochet a hat for the Little Hats, Big Hearts program. Hats must be plain, red and made of cotton or acrylic yarn.

Knit Wits is a knitting and crochet group run by the library and was started years ago, but it only exists when someone in the library knows how to knit and crochet, so when someone who knows how to knit and crochet works at the library, they can revive Knit Wits, according to DeYoung. However, this aspect of the small knitting group makes it difficult to maintain, especially on a small campus with a small student population.

“Starting a group like this, or reviving a group like this, on campus is just hard because students come in here – they’re already students, they’re already busy – and a lot of people come here for sports or fine arts, and so they tend to not have a lot of extra time, and if they do have extra time, they don’t necessarily want to sit in a circle and play with yarn,” DeYoung said.

DeYoung said she is glad to have had a couple dedicated people in the group for the past two semesters and that the small group size allows her to work one-on-one more with her group members.

“It’d be cool to have more people, but at the same time this means that I’m not worrying about dividing my attention,” she said. “I can just sit down with someone and be like, ‘OK, here, you want to learn this thing. I can teach you this thing.’”

Knit Wits meets in the college library on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and anyone interested in anything to do with yarn – knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning included – can join the group, not just college students.

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