Woman warms heads, hearts with crochet
Toasty Noggins offers hats for infants and cancer patients
“If the creation and donation of a one-of-a-kind hat brings comfort and a smile to those fighting the fight of their lives, then I’m happy. We strive to make every beautiful noggin toasty warm, one hat at a time.”
— Louise Murphy
FRANKLIN — Using the gift of crochet, Louise Murphy is warming the hearts and heads of many.
Murphy, of Franklin, leads the Toasty Noggins chapter of Crochet for Cancer in Hamburg. Her motto is, “If the creation and donation of a one-of-a-kind hat brings comfort and a smile to those fighting the fight of their lives, then I’m happy. We strive to make every beautiful noggin toasty warm, one hat at a time.”
Murphy gets together with a group of woman at The Bodhi Tree in Franklin on Route 517 two times a month on Tuesday nights to crochet hats for people with cancer. The group has a coffee and chit chat for about two hours.
The simplest hat, a plain beanie, takes a little more than an hour to make. Once a month Murphy tags and bags the hats, steams them to remove any impurities and then individually wraps them.
Murphy also crochets hats for babies leaving the hospital, so that their heads are toasty warm.
She began that project a couple years ago when a teacher at the Hamburg School, where she works, told her that newborn babies leave University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Hospital without anything on their heads. She began teaching six sixth-graders at the school how to crochet and so began a once a week after school tradition.
Although, the girls moved on to the high school, some still come back to crochet. New students have also joined in.
Murphy is proud as she talks about the girls that she has taught.
“They are going to have the gift forever,” Murphy said.
Around the time that Murphy began making the baby hats, her husband was diagnosed with cancer, so she thought, “I can make cancer hats too.”
Murphy says she made the hats and donated some to the Sparta Wellness Center and to the other chapters of Crochet for Cancer in Kentucky. That’s when she decided to start the Crochet for Cancer chapter in Northern New Jersey.
Toasty Noggins also makes lap blankets because people tend to feel cold when they go through chemotherapy treatments. Murphy says she sends out around 150 hats each month.
“They go so fast, they need them,” Murphy said.
She recently sent out 175 hats, nine scarves and seven blankets.
“They went all over,” she says, to Hackettstown and Chilton.
Since her brother wrote a letter about her in the paper, she has gotten requests from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
“It doesn’t take long," she adds, “It’s a good thing.”
When Murphy first began making the hats, she didn’t know where she would send them, but it turned out that there was a definite need. Hospitals tell her, “Definitely, we can use them.”
Now people find her on the Toasty Noggins Facebook page or through word of mouth. Murphy says she made one hat for a woman that had a premature baby at St. Joseph’s Hospital. That woman told her that she knew of another baby that could use a hat. She also made one for a ventilator, dependent child.
“It put a smile on her face,” Murphy says. “It’s the care, the love behind it."
When she’s making it, she says that she is thinking, “some little boy’s going to wearing this hat. It’s going to be keeping his head warm.”
Murphy takes donations of finished products, yarn and supplies. It’s important that crocheters are not sick when making them and also that products for the most part come from pet free homes.
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