She was inspired to continue her late mother's knitting project for babies with heart defects.
Linda Clark, a 70-year-old grandmother from Knoxville, Tennessee, has dedicated her spare time to knitting and crocheting hats and blankets for cancer patients, the elderly in senior living facilities and premature babies at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. Her passion began a decade ago when she found a preemie hat pattern and a basket of red yarn in her late mother's apartment in Phoenix. A note on a small card revealed that her mother had been making hats for premature babies with heart defects. Clark decided to continue her mother's project and started making and sending hats to society for babies with heart issues. She told USA TODAY, "I thought a part of her was with me while I was doing that."
Over the years, Clark has made hundreds of hats and blankets and in the past year, she began creating tiny graduation caps for babies leaving the NICU. She can make a preemie hat in about 20 minutes and likes to use different colors to make four or five sizes of hats. She has never charged money for her designs and has no plans to sell them. She wants to give back and do it out of the love of her heart. Clark, a retired missionary and teacher, said, "I enjoy keeping my hands busy." Her dedication to creating colorful and comfortable hats and blankets for those in need has brought joy to many.
Clark's passion for knitting and crocheting preemie hats began after her mother's passing when she found a red-yarn-filled basket and a preemie hat pattern in her mother's Phoenix apartment. "She was making it for the society for babies that had heart issues, so I took the yarn, made the hats and sent it to them," said Clark. Since then, the 70-year-old grandmother has been creating hats and blankets for various causes and organizations, including cancer patients, the elderly in senior living facilities and premature babies in East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. She can make a preemie hat in about 20 minutes and has never charged money for her designs.
Carrying on her mother's kindness led Linda Clark, 70, on her journey of knitting hundreds of hats for premature babies at a Tennessee hospital. https://t.co/UcCMSj1u85— Humankind (@humankind) March 5, 2023
Clark taught herself to knit and crochet while she and her husband worked as missionaries in Chile for 16 years. After finishing where her mother left off, she continued sending her creations to various groups, including a North Carolina organization that deals with cancer patients. She now sends her hats and blankets to East Tennessee Children's Hospital, where they provide comfort to families of premature infants. Clark aims to bring 50 to 75 hats to the hospital each month, working about six hours a day on a variety of colored hats for different seasons. She hopes her work helps parents and serves as a memory for those who have lost their babies. "I hope I'm making somebody happy, I hope I'm helping a parent deal with this," said Clark.
'Out of the love of my heart': Woman continues mother's legacy of knitting hats for babies: Carrying on her mother's kindness led Linda Clark, 70, on her journey of knitting hundreds of hats for premature babies at a Tennessee hospital. https://t.co/30puWH7Ta7 pic.twitter.com/73ZudkBewT— USA News (@1USNews) March 5, 2023
The Givens family, whose son Grady was born six weeks early and spent five weeks in the East Tennessee Children's NICU, benefited from Clark's generosity. Grady was diagnosed with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease, a rare disorder that can cause inflammation and tissue damage affecting the skin, joints and nervous system. Grady graduated from the NICU on December 22 while wearing a homemade cap knitted by Clark. "We are so grateful that someone put the time, effort, and creativity into doing something for us and for people they don't know, it means a lot to us," Katie Givens said.