Bosom Buddies

Over the last few days, we've been purging our house to prepare for the arrival of family from Montana. After filling six contractor bags, donating 300 books to the library and packing up the wagon with goodies for the thrift shop, we can actually see the floor in our guest room. Heck, we even uncovered the desk and chair in the office.

But there was one thing we weren't quite sure what to do with: all of our leftover yarn. When the weather turns cool, The Maven becomes a mad knitter, which means we often have odd little bits of wool lying around the house. Lengths of cashmere, angora and merino are really too nice to throw away, but they add up fast and, frankly, they're fairly useless.

Unless you know about Knitted Knockers. Yes, you read that right: Knitted Knockers — a soft, handmade alternative to silicone prostheses for mastectomy patients. This brilliant idea is the brainchild of Chesley Flotten, who owns The Knitting Experience Cafe in Brunswick. Flotten was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer at the age of 28 and had a mastectomy. In 2006, as Flotten describes it, "a wonderful friend, Mary Ellen, presented me with the most thoughtful and joyful gift — a knitted boob!"

In 2007, Flotten chose to have a second mastectomy as a preventive measure, and when she went to the local hospital for a consultation, she showed off said knitted boob. It was a huge hit, and the doctors and hospital staff thought other breast cancer survivors might want one (or a pair) too while they awaited fitting for a prosthesis or reconstruction. So Flotten's knitting group got stitching. WABI-TV in Bangor picked up on the story — and so did CNN — and since then, knitters around the world have contributed to the effort.

If you're interested in knitting some up and donating them to the cause, visit the Knitted Knockers section of The Knitting Experience Web site for more information and links to several free patterns. It's quick, it's easy and you'll be helping women feel a little more comfortable while dealing with a diagnosis that is anything but.

This is truly the breast — we mean, best — idea ever.


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