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A Purl of a Project

March 15, 2006

Fran Simon

Knit one, purl two, knit one ... choose whatever yarn and pattern you like. The Crafty Ladies of the Tulane University Women's Association has a "Stitches of Hope" project they hope will catch your fancy. The group of female employees and spouses of Tulane employees is seeking handmade scarves that they will present as gifts to chemotherapy patients at the Tulane Cancer Center.


The leader of Crafty Ladies, April Brayfield, surrounded by handcrafted scarves for cancer patients, doubles as associate professor of sociology.

"It feels good to be knitting for a purpose," says April Brayfield, associate professor of sociology, who chairs the Crafty Ladies activity group. "Creating a scarf is quick, easy and accessible, even for novices, and the result will be something of comfort for a cancer patient. And this is a project that can unite the entire Tulane community--staff, faculty and students, uptown and downtown."

Brayfield, whose academic interests include gender, work and family issues, says America has seen a resurgence in needlework in recent years that is almost like a social movement. Needlecrafting has been even more popular since Hurricane Katrina disrupted the lives of so many women.

"We're doing hard work, renovating houses, working extra on our jobs and so forth," she says. "There isn't much time left over to relax or read a book. While we're creating things, letting our imaginations run wild, touching the textiles, we can catch up and discuss what's going on in our lives."

The scarves may be knit or crocheted, created individually or by groups. Would-be needlecrafters should choose a yarn that is soft, cheerful, comfortable and washable. Finished scarves should be 60 inches long and from three inches to six inches wide.

Place your finished scarf in a clean, zippered plastic bag and drop it off by May 1 to Gracibel Rickerfor, Newcomb Dean's Office, 112 Newcomb Hall; or Melanie Cross, Tulane Cancer Center Administrative Office, J. Bennett Johnston Health and Environmental Research Building, 1324 Tulane Ave., Suite A102, Mezzanine Level. The Crafty Ladies group meets the first Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m.

If you're interested in joining the group, contact Brayfield.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000