Knitting enthusiasts around the world are donating handcrafted breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies. Soft and lightweight, the inserts offer a comfortable alternative to traditional breast forms. The Knitted Knockers, as they are known, also forge community among women who have survived breast cancer.
Plush and comfortable, the knitted prosthetics are easy to place inside of bras. They are also lighter than silicone or gel, the most common materials for breast forms, and feel cool on the skin. The knockers can be knit from a range of materials and are custom-made for each recipient in her exact size and preferred color. Some are simple and understated, while others are knitted in bright hues and patterns.
Recipients can choose from prostheses with nipples or without. Group coordinator Sarah Kirkish of the Knitted Knockers chapter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tells a story of giving one to a women at a county fair. “She was like, ‘Oh honey, I want one with the nipple because I haven’t had a nipple in 15 years.'”
Her reaction speaks to what volunteers call “the giggle factor.” Knitted Knockers can’t help but bring smiles. That sense of humor fosters openness around a subject that may embarrass some breast cancer survivors. Many volunteer knitters have direct experience with the illness, whether they have battled it themselves or stood by a loved one. Brenda Morris, a recipient from the group in Alberta, Canada, explains, “In this journey, we all need a chuckle.”
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
The Alberta chapter has donated over 500 prostheses to date. Volunteer knitter Pat Shaul says that the pattern isn’t hard, giving them a difficulty rating of four out of ten. “They’re easy if you’re comfortable knitting with four needles,” she adds. Most volunteers purchase their own yarn, and chapters raise donations to pay for shipping to the recipient. There are currently groups in over a dozen countries, including Canada, the U.S.A, England and Australia.
Those looking to join can find a local group on the Knitted Knockers website or directly download patterns to work solo.Whizzco