A woman who wanted to help her friend recover after a mastectomy has set up the first Northern Ireland branch of Knitted Knockers.
The group knits hand-made prostheses for women recovering from breast cancer. These fit into bras and are lighter and more comfortable than the traditional hospital alternatives.
Joanne Harris, who is from Dollingstown but is in the process of moving to Portadown, is also hoping to enlist the help of 100 knitters for a day-long knit-in, with each person committing to knitting one ‘knocker’ each.
She is holding an information session in the Seagoe Hotel on Monday evening, July 25 at 7pm where interested knitters can find out more.
Joanne who, up until recently hadn’t knitted in 35 years, became aware of the issue of uncomfortable prostheses after her friend Linda underwent a single mastectomy in December.
Said Joanne, “We were out shopping and she mentioned to me that the hospital prosthesis was heavy. I went home and started researching different options and I came across the Knitted Knockers Washington USA which was set up by an American woman called Barbara whose consultant gave her the knitting pattern.
“I emailed her and she asked me if I would set up a group in Northern Ireland. She has already listed us as a provider for Northern Ireland on her website.”
Joanne began by hunting out her knitting needles and creating her first prosthesis for Linda. She said, “It took me about a day because I was out of practice but a good knitter can make one in three to four hours.
“I asked Linda how it felt and she said, ‘I feel normal’ and she was grinning from ear to ear.”
Knitted Knockers are made of 100 per cent DK Cotton yarn filled with Poly-Fil. They are machine washable and, said Joanne, “look and feel like a real breast and can be moved and shaped”.
Joanne will be donating the first 100 balls of wool and needles in memory of her great-aunt Mary McMorran and other friends who have fought breast cancer.
She added, “One ball of wool will produce a minimum of two Knitted Knockers so from 100 balls we would be able to supply eight breast clinics with 24 Knitted Knockers each.
“The idea is that we will have enough sponsorship to buy another 100 balls of wool, needles etc in order to run another knit-in in another town.”
Any companies wishing to sponsor tea/scones and lunch for the knit-in should contact Joanne via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knitted Knockers can also be ordered free via the Facebook page - Knitted Knockers of Northern Ireland.