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Bloomfield Hills

January 29, 2013

Local knitters weave hope at annual cancer fundraiser

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The seventh annual Knit Michigan fundraiser is returning to Academy of the Sacred Heart on Saturday for some fiber fun to benefit local cancer centers.

The one-day event is held each February as a way to celebrate the fiber arts of knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving and more. The day includes a market of 13 Michigan fiber vendors selling everything from knitting and crocheting supplies to finished gift items. Guests can also bid on hundreds of goodies during the silent and live auctions, or try their luck at the many contests and raffles held throughout the day.

Among the most popular attractions are the classes offered by local fiber and craft experts. This year’s event will have 19 classes for guests to enjoy, from beginning crochet and beginning knitting to more advanced courses like broomstick lace and carding a perfect rolag. All classes begin at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m., and spaces must be reserved in advance by visiting www.knitmichigan.org.

Sally Lobaza, manager of The Knitting Room in Birmingham, was pleased to be a part of last year’s event and said she and her employees are excited to be back for the 2013 fundraiser.

“We’ll have a mini store in the marketplace, and we’re having fun right now figuring out what different projects we’ll be taking with us,” said Lobaza.

According to Joan Sheridan, owner of Heritage Spinning and Weaving in Lake Orion and also the executive director of Knit Michigan, visitors who stop in to the event will get much more than their fill of all things fiber. They’ll get the satisfaction of knowing they contributed to Knit Michigan, a group that has donated more than $125,000 to local organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and aiding patients and their families. The nonprofit has also created and donated more than 6,000 items to cancer patients, including chemo-caps, knit bears, breast cancer pillows and blankets used in infusion rooms.

“They can learn something about the fiber arts, but more importantly, they can support the cause, which is, very simply, helping cancer patients and their families.”

Sheridan said most people, even if they’ve never crocheted or knitted in their lives, have been touched by cancer in some way and can relate to Knit Michigan’s mission.

“We lost a customer last week that was a really wonderful and giving person who was a real cheerleader for Knit Michigan,”  she said of friend and former Orion Township Clerk Jill Bastian, who died earlier this month of cancer. “It’s those people in our lives that inspire us to help other people going through treatments.”

According to a statement from Knit Michigan, the organization hopes that this year’s event will raise $50,000 to be donated to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, Beaumont Hospital’s Rose Cancer Center, Genesys Health System, Gilda’s Club and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The early bird admission price for the Knit Michigan fundraiser Feb. 2 is $15, which allows access to the market before the crowds at 9 a.m. General admission, which begins at 10 a.m., is $10, though larger donations are welcome. Classes are $35, in addition to the admission fee and require pre-registration by Jan. 30. For more information, visit www.knitmichigan.org.

Academy of the Sacred Heart is located at 1250 Kensington Road in Bloomfield Hills.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.