Pioneers of Peace » Pioneers of Peace Walk Not Just Talk

"Purple Crying" hats to raise awareness for shaken baby syndrome. Bingham Creek Library

“Purple Crying” hats to raise awareness for shaken baby syndrome. -Bingham Creek Library

Pioneers of Peace is supporting Bingham Creek Library in their collection of purple hand knit or crocheted baby hats for the Purple Crying program designed to raise awareness for Shaken Baby Syndrome.

“Click for Babies” is a Utah organization that has received nationwide recognition for their campaign to educate new parents on a period of infant development called “purple crying.” During this normal stage of development a baby can cry for up to 5 hours and not respond to any attempt to comfort over the course of days. This is the time babies are at most risk of becoming victims of their caregiver’s frustration. By educating new parents while in the hospital along with the gift of a purple hat to remember, “Click for Babies” hopes to drastically reduce incidents of shaken baby syndrome.
Please join us in supporting this important cause. You can deliver your hats to Bingham Creek Library by September 24th or you can get them to me by Sept 23rd and I will be happy to deliver them.

Let’s get those needles clicking!





Greetings Everyone,

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. We’ve been road tripping the past couple of weeks which has given me plenty of time to knit.


Lake Knitting

Lake Knitting


I visited yarn stores in Richfield, Utah, West Yellowstone and Bozeman and Helena Montana. Truly I have never met a yarn shop I did not like, but I was reminded once again of how lucky we are to have so many EXCELLENT shops right here in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Knitters outside of the state of Utah; I suggest you organize a field trip. You could spend a week here visiting all of our wonderful yarn shops. We could have a party 🙂


Craft Around Corners Charity Knitting Group

Craft Around Corners Charity Knitting Group


Speaking of parties… Last month I had the pleasure of meeting some of the lovely ladies of Craft Around Corners at their favorite Salt Lake hangout, Tea Zaanti. These women led by Sandra Ronca a.k.a. Slouchybee on Ravelry, are super heroes in the compassionate knitting world. They spend much of their time knitting Sandra’s original toy patterns (found on Ravelry) for the University of Utah’s Burn Unit, but have recently turned their efforts towards knitting preemie hats and summer chemo hats. Kudos to you Craft Around Corners. We at Pioneers of Peace love you.


Hats knit by Betsy Slayton and Carol Sanders

Hats knit by Betsy Slayton and Carol Sanders


I will  be taking our last delivery of women’s summer chemo hats to Huntsman Cancer Institute on August 19th. Please gets your hats to me, or one of the other drop-off  locations by Thursday the 18th. There is still time to be a stranger on someone’s tender mercy list.  Last month I dropped off a baker’s dozen that were sure to touch at least that many hearts. Many thanks to all who contributed.

On this lovely Saturday afternoon, I find myself knitting one more colorful chemo hat and making mozzarella cheese. It can’t get better than this, but wait…yes it can. In the middle of all this creativity we had a gigantic rain storm, complete with lightening and thunder. My husband and I went out on the porch and watched it pour. There is nothing like the sound of rain during the storm and the heavenly aroma of sycamore trees after the storm.


Homemade mozzarella and chemo hats- a perfect combination don

Homemade mozzarella and chemo hats- a perfect combination don’t you think?


If you’re interested in making your own mozzarella check out this link 🙂  30 Minute Mozzarella with the Cheese Queen


Hats knit by Craft Around Corners

Hats knit by Craft Around Corners


Sending love your way,





Sending love your way,



Seungjoo wearing Saugeen Summer Lace Cloche by Ash Kearns


Pioneers of Peace is knitting women’s summer chemo hats for Huntsman Cancer Institute. Sandra Ronca, alias Slouchybee on Ravelry, and her charity knitting group Craft Around Corners contributed 5 beautiful hats a couple of weeks ago.  Betsy Slayton is busy putting the finishing touches on her original chemo cap pattern that will soon be available free to all who wish to knit one up for our cause or for someone they love.



Craft Around Corner’s Contribution


Ribbing and Lace Chemo Hats by Heidi Tucker. This pattern is free on Ravelry


Thoughts on knitting for people with cancer

The preemie hats were a lot of fun to knit and while I had a connection that inspired me… Cancer is personal.

Everyone either knows someone or has had cancer themselves. I share my life, my love, my everything with someone who was diagnosed almost six years ago with stage 3 prostate cancer.

From my journal dated November 15, 2010

On November 11th, I became a passenger on the “Cancer Train.” I didn’t book passage-rather I was swept aboard as it passed by. I find myself sitting in the seat next to my sweetheart who was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. There is a lot of fog and mist outside the windows and I don’t know where we are going. As my eyes adjust to the dark I become aware of a few things. 1. Though I feel like I’m alone-I know I am not. 2. I have to train myself to stay in the here and now for multiple reasons. a. I know I will only receive guidance in the here and now. b. The Spirit will be my companion in the here and now. c. If I let my imagination wander I will become lost in the forest. c. I need to stay focused so I can be fully present for Richard and my family. d. In the here and now, everything is as it should be. 3. I have a lot to learn about faith. 4. I need to breathe.

…and on December 30th, 2010

The train is doing donut circles in the forest-like a compass trying to settle into a direction.Where will it end up pointing? What will be our path? And where will it ultimately lead?

The feelings of powerlessness were overwhelming. 

Almost six years later, I have made reluctant friends with powerlessness. After many personal battles I have learned that control is an illusion and does not provide power. Sure, there are things to do that optimize the outcome and believe me, we did them, but the real power that was needed was the energy to keep going in the face of fear. Power does not equal control, it equals energy.

Reflecting back over those early terrifying years, there were many tender mercies and acts of kindness that kept us  “on track.”

There is a a sweet gentle power that accompanies acts of love.

I know because I kept a list of all the tender mercies we were the recipient of. From family to close friends, to clients/students, to strangers; each act that made our list longer was significant. Each act was like oxygen and to this day, reading over it gives me strength and brings a smile to my face.

Knitting for cancer patients also puts a smile on my face. It makes me feel empowered to make a difference and I am honored to be a stranger on someone’s list. My husband still has cancer and that’s not likely to change, but he is stable and feels healthier than ever. I have energy to lend and knitting positive energy into the bulk of those stitches that make up a hat is my way of sharing it.

How has cancer touched your life?

I will be taking the 8 hats I have to Huntsman Cancer Institute this Thursday but it’s not too late to contribute. I will take another batch in mid August. According to Huntsman, summer hats are best when they’re soft, cool, and have a brim. If you’re not into knitting, and would like to contribute, feel free to purchase hats that meet the soft, cool, brimmed requirements. Knitters, it’s fine to knit brimless hats. I think they would be lovely for evenings and air conditioned sleeping.

Drop-off locations remain the same. They are as follows:

Me-You know where to find me

Blazing Needles, 1365 South 1100 East SLC, Ut 84105

Unraveled Sheep, 9316 South 700 East Sandy, Ut 84070

Knitting Pretty, 1393 West 9000 South West Jordan, Ut 84088

If you plan on dropping them off at the yarn shops please indicate they are for Barbara Scoville and Pioneers of Peace.

Sending love your way,









An empty basket is a beautiful thing after it’s precious contents have found a home.

Last Thursday I delivered all of the preemie and baby hats that were generously hand-knit and donated, to Utah Valley Hospital.

I had originally intended to donate them to Primary Children’s Hospital, but learned on the day I was going to deliver them, that PCMC does not accept baby hats. What!!!??? Needless to say I learned the hard way that it’s important to call FIRST; knit second. I don’t know why they don’t accept baby hats but I heard through the grapevine that a local community group donated 500 hats. I was reminded of what a “novice” I am at this “compassionate knitting” thing  and worried about what those who thought they were donating to PCMC would think when they learned the hats went to Utah Valley Hospital.

Back to the drawing board I went,..

Thoughts about what originally motivated me to knit preemie hats in the first place came flooding back as I remembered my daughter’s cousin who had recently gone through the sad experience of losing her baby after having to deliver too early. I called Utah Valley Hospital who happily said they would love the hats.

Learning experiences continue to find me, like it or not.

When I arrived at the hospital I inquired at the information desk where I could find volunteer services. I was given directions that sounded like a maze, but eventually found myself at the correct door.

“Hello”, I said to the young man inside. “I would like to donate these hand knit preemie and baby hats.”  He replied saying, “Oh, okay. Will you fill out this form?” He took the bag of hats and I was left alone at the counter filling out a donation slip.

Even though there was not a line for what I wrote next, very carefully I inscribed

 In honor of …and her baby girl… 

The young man returned without the bag and accepted the donation slip. He casually said “Thanks” and I turned around and walked out the door.

This is not my first rodeo with staff members doing their job who kindly but coldly, receive a heartfelt donation with the same emotion of that of a bank teller.

In the past I have been shocked and hurt with what appears to be a lack of gratitude. I especially feel this way when I’ve organized a large effort with a lot of participants. I think my mama bear gets activated in behalf of all of the beautiful people with warm hearts who have given of their time, talent and resources, as well as those who have put themselves in the shoes of others in need, and who have really wanted to make a difference. 

This time was different. The donation became more sacred to me in the absence of a big display of gratitude from the middleman. The middleman’s job is simply to do their part in passing the torch onto the recipients. It’s like a big relay race, a RAGNAR, an olympic torch; we all do our part.

As I walked down the hall I texted my daughter and told her I just donated 37 hats to Utah Valley Hospital in honor of her cousin and her baby.



…And that’s what it’s all about. Job well done everyone who had a part in making mamas happy.


Sending love your way,


P.S. We are having a lot of fun knitting women’s summer chemo hats for Huntsman Cancer Institute who (I have confirmed) do accept Chemo hats 🙂


Preemie and Baby Hats for Local Hospitals


I am a “Compassionate Knitter” Newbie

Throughout my adult life I have heard stories about “Compassionate Knitting,” otherwise known as “Charity Knitting.” I’ve been touched by people’s kindness and their willingness to use their time to benefit others, but until recently I have never wanted to participate.

My own knitting has been primarily “me” focused. There are a number of reasons why.

1. My knitting time is very precious to me; there never is enough.

2. There are so many beautiful things I want to knit for myself; my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

3. The tactile experience of fine yarn is therapeutic to me. Compassionate knitting usually requires acrylic yarn that can stand a lot of abuse.

4. I knit several sweaters for my mother until I discovered she had no idea how much expense and work went into them. Although I’m sure she was grateful, her negative comments regarding  sleeve length and fit in general are what I remember.

5. The several projects I already have in progress compete with each other. They whisper, “Finish me,” “No finish me,” Me first, you spent so much money on me.”

6. I simply have not taken the time to deeply think about other’s suffering, and how my talent could ease their burden.

7. To be perfectly honest, I do think about suffering a lot. As a clinical social worker my life is immersed in suffering. Knitting is the counter balance, my creative renewal that I hold sacred.

Having said that, inspired by my friend Warren last Spring, I have become an initiate in the community of compassionate knitters.

Really quick…the back-story…

A couple of months ago Warren approached me while at our Friday morning knitting group, and asked  if I could find a home for several hats he had knit in an attempt to use up his stash. At the time I was in the middle of organizing a diaper drive for our local refugee population. I said sure and it was agreed that we would meet at our local gym where he would give them to me. The following Monday morning we met at 6:55am and I was given two grocery bags stuffed full of warm hand knit hats. They weren’t just physically warm; they were emotionally warm. When I got home and looked at them spread out on my kitchen table I felt the physical manifestation of kindness and charity. 


Warren’s Hats

Lesson #1

Acts of Kindness are Contagious Warren’s goodness made me want to be a better person. I immediately thought about 2 hats that have been on the needles for over 2 years. It wouldn’t take long to finish them and then I could make his pile even larger. My next thought was of my own stash and the fact that rather than sitting in a drawer it could be sitting on someone’s head keeping them warm. I finished knitting the two hats in a couple of days, which brings me to Lesson #2

Lesson #2

Compassionate Knitting isn’t as Time Consuming as I Thought it Would be. After completing the two hats, and feeling pretty good about “finishing something” I thought about other kinds of hats. My daughter’s cousin through marriage had sadly just lost a premature baby. Preemie Hats! After hearing all about the tragedy in this family, I had a desire to offer love and support for those going through such difficult times. I found a wonderful free pattern, went to the store and bought very soft baby yarn. Knitting preemie hats is like eating potato chips. They are so cute and fun to knit that I couldn’t just stop at one. They only take about half a day to knit. How do you spell immediate gratification?

IMG_4391Because they are so easy they are the perfect project to take with you when you are anticipating a wait. I love that I am doing something worthwhile during the time that I used to think was being wasted.

Lesson #3

Using up Stash is Good, but a Worthy Excuse to Buy Yarn is Better


Buying yarn brings me joy 🙂 Walking into rooms filled with fiber and color is like Shangri-La. The only problem is that I have enough yarn to keep me busy until I die. However, if I have a nobel purpose, I can justify additional purchases. I love chatting with shop owners and their staff about the perfect yarn choice for my compassionate projects and I feel really good about supporting our local yarn purveyors.

Lesson #4

Small Compassionate Knitting Projects Provide Opportunities to Learn New Techniques and Stitches

Interested in trying a new technique or stitch? A hat can double as a swatch. I learned how to cast off and then pick up purlwise to create a beautiful effect.


Women’s Summer Chemo Hat

Small projects are great opportunities to practice designing which can later be applied to larger projects.

Lesson #5

Compassionate Knitting Attracts People who Feel Empowered to Make a Difference

There is some controversy about whether compassionate knitting is truly helpful. Where do all of the hats, scarfs, mittens, blankets, socks, and dog sweaters go? While organizing POP’s Operation Love Bundles, I was specifically told not to contribute hand knit scarfs. Homeless youth prefer fleece. I have heard stories about the countless hats, scarves, and fleece blankets being warehoused at our local charitable distribution centers. Are compassionate knitters naive? Could their time and resources be put to more effective ways of relieving suffering? Or are they choosing to make their voice and their hearts heard through the clicking of their needles? I don’t have an answer.

What I do know is that I am currently participating in compassionate knitting because I like being connected to people who spend a portion of their time using their talent to make a difference in someone’s life. That’s an attribute I admire. It reinforces my belief that there is more good than bad.

Lesson #6

If You Ask, Some will Come and Some will Run

For close to 4 years now, I have been asking others to join me in charitable causes. Nothing is harder than asking people to give of their time and resources. It’s a boundary issue. Most will decline, but there are those who are looking for opportunities to make a difference. It is wonderful to see those individuals and groups rise to the surface and contribute. Even though I may not know them well, it feels like a joyous reunion with kindred spirits. Combine that feeling with knitting and it becomes intoxicating.

Lesson #7

Compassion and Gratitude go Hand in Hand

Warren told me he knits the cuff of his hats to match twice the length of his ears. Doing this provides a double cuff which maximizes the warmth the hat can provide. He wasn’t just using up his stash. Warren knows what it feels like to be outside in the cold all day. It was his job. He told me he used to knit hats for the men on his crew so they could better brave the winter.

When I knit preemie hats I wanted them to be soft and adorable. I imagine their mothers faces when they see their babies in the isolate wearing a strawberry on their head or a big beautiful flower.


Currently I’m knitting women’s summer chemo hats. I actually went to Sally’s Beauty Supply and bought a wig head so that I could block the hats as well as see how attractive they would be on a bald head.


I did some research and learned that hats with holes are not a good idea for the summer. Soft cottons and cotton acrylic blends are preferable. I gave each skein of yarn the neck and under the chin test for softness. I thought about cloches vs beanies, and brims to keep the sun off the face and the neck. I thought about hats to sleep in, learning that even summer nights could be chilly for a bald head on chemo drugs. Above all I wanted the hats I knitted to be beautiful because if I were sick that’s what I would want.

And that’s my point. “Compassionate knitting” has ignited my compassion. I took the time to put myself in someone else’s shoes. Of course I can’t know what a person with cancer is feeling, but I’m a little closer and if nothing else, in my own way I’m saying you’re not alone.

As I touch the suffering in the world in this small way I am reminded of what I have to be grateful for and savor those things a little bit more and therein lies the magic. I see the suffering and can say, “There but for the grace of God go I.”  For this round I’m safe, but I know it’s coming as it has and always will, and I hope I won’t be alone.

Lesson #8

Diversity Applies to Giving Also

There are as many ways to give as there are stars in the sky and they are all beautiful.

Lesson #9

Who is the Giver and Who is the Receiver? That is the Question

The answer: It is one continuous round. At it’s best, the lines are very hard to define and that’s what I’ve gotten caught up in. Right now, my love for knitting and giving have become a Venn diagram; the middle circle, where the two overlap is creating an energy that’s just feels really good. I am definitely on the “receiving end.”

Onesies hand knit by Sandra Ronca, alias Slouchybee on Ravelry

Onesies hand knit by Sandra Ronca, alias Slouchybee on Ravelry



In the next couple of days I will share with you yarn choices and patterns for summer women’s chemo hats If you are interested in contributing, I will be taking the completed projects to Huntsman Cancer Center the 1st of August.

Drop-off locations are:

Me-You know where to find me

Blazing Needles, 1365 South 1100 East SLC, Ut 84105

Unraveled Sheep, 9316 South 700 East Sandy, Ut 84070

Knitting Pretty, 1393 West 9000 South West Jordan, Ut 84088

Sending love your way,


Kudos to Sandra Ronca aka Sloucheybee on Ravelry and her charity knitting group "Craft Around Corners" Sandra is sporting her newly knit chemo hat.

Kudos to Sandra Ronca aka Sloucheybee on Ravelry and her charity knitting group “Craft Around Corners” Sandra is sporting her newly knit chemo hat.


  • Nancy Stallings - Barbara—Dear Friend! This morning I discovered your blog —am sitting her at my breakfast table and remembering our friendship, our knitting times together, working your patterns, etc……………..this blog and project are just beautiful and from your heart! If I close my eyes, I can imagine you speaking these words and I hear your energy, enthusiasm, wisdom and humor!
    I live in NC now – in 2010 I took a rather sudden retirement and moved “home” to NC to spend time with Daddy before he passed / “graduated”……..what a great new chapter in my life! We had about a year and a half before he passed. Now I live in a wonderful little house with an urban woods, delightful neighbors – and time to knit, needlepoint, etc. And may I say, the “welcome” mat is always out if you ever find yourself coming East!
    Your words have inspired me, given me moments of reminiscing about all of my precious knitting friends and network in Salt Lake – ‘hope you get this message and know that I will pass this along to my NC “Healing Hands” knitting group at my church………..big hugs, Dear Friend! nReplyCancel

    • - Nancy,
      How wonderful it is to hear from you. I think of you often and like you, reminisce about our wonderful Wednesday night knitting Your words are so kind. Hugs to you also.