Stitch for Cancer donates handmade caps, items for patients in Maine, Rhode Island

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Roseanna St. Germain of Bar Harbor learned in 2011 that her grandmother, Darlene, had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. Knowing of the treatment regimen that awaited her, Darlene asked St. Germain to crochet a cap for her to wear during the period of chemotherapy.

“I thought to myself, if I can make her a hat, why can’t I make more and donate them to local cancer centers,” St. Germain said in an email interview. “The strength my grandmother had to fight her battle made me want to start something to send strength to others. So, I started Stitch for Cancer in January 2011.”

Word of St. Germain’s cap-making effort spread quickly. Her mother-in-law, Cheryl, who lives in Rhode Island made caps and sent them to Bar Harbor.

“My family and friends started helping,” St. Germain said. Soon, Cheryl’s co-workers wanted to make caps to donate to the cause. “And by word of mouth, strangers began helping.”

Because of the response from Cheryl and her co-workers, and family and friends in Rhode Island, St. Germain decided in January to start donating caps to the Norman and Rosalie Fain Health Centers at Miriam Hospital, the Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital, all in Rhode Island. Caps also are donated to CancerCare of Maine and the Raish Peavey Haskell Children’s Cancer and Treatment Center, both in Brewer.

“I have been crocheting since I was in fifth grade, when my mom taught me,” St. Germain said. “Almost 20 years now. I still have the blanket I started back then — though never finished. I love to create things with my hands. All types of crafting are fun, but crochet has always been my go-to.”

She also learned to sew recently and makes arm pillows for donation.

The Stitch for Cancer logo has unique meaning, St. Germain said.

“The lavender ribbon represents general cancer awareness, the pink letters represent breast cancer awareness and the blue yarn represents pancreatic cancer awareness,” she said. St. Germain said her husband lost an uncle to pancreatic cancer.

St. Germain suggested that those who want to knit or crochet caps to donate to Stitch for Cancer choose yarn or fabric in any fiber except wool, such as acrylic and polyester blends, cottons, or non-itchy animal fibers.

“We always encourage the use of the softer yarns, but we will accept anything,” St. Germain said. “We have Stitch for Cancer labels to attach to the items with information on how to care for the item, what it’s made of and the donor’s name and email address — both are optional — in case the recipient wants to send a thank you. It also makes it more personal knowing the name of the person who created the item. If someone wants to participate, all they need to do is crochet, knit, sew or purchase items of comfort to donate.”

In addition to caps, Stitch for Cancer also accepts and donates, scarves, shawls, lap blankets, arm pillows, mittens, headbands, socks and other items that might offer comfort to those undergoing cancer treatment.

Each month has a theme. St. Germain said, “May’s theme will be Flowers, so throughout April donors can create items and incorporate flowers in them. This is just for fun, it’s not a requirement for donated items.”

Donated items are collected each month and donated to cancer centers the last Friday of each month. Every item is tagged and photographed. St. Germain coordinates a Swap and Sell event each month at the Acadia Christian School in Trenton where donations of items may be made. She posts that date at the Stitch for Cancer Facebook page.

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Pine Tree Quilters Guild has announced the teachers and classes available for the Maine Quilts 2013 show Friday through Sunday, July 26-28. For information about the classes, entering quilts, exhibits or the show in general, visit

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email