Pain in hands doesn't stop hat maker

Staff writer

Janet Weathersbee has been crocheting since she was a little girl. Even though it can cause her excruciating pain, she still finds time to crochet for people she loves and complete strangers alike.

“I have been crocheting since I was 6,” she said. “My grandma taught me and I learned using thread.”

More recently, Weathersbee has been creating hats for friends, family members, and complete strangers who need them.

“I started making hats around two weeks ago for people, and while I was making them I thought and prayed for the person I was making them for,” she said.

She has sent hats all across the country from Alabama to California and even Florence, her hometown.

“Phoebe Janzen contacted me, about making a hat for Steve, who recently lost his hair from chemo,” she said. “She said she wanted something manly so his head didn’t get cold.”

Weathersbee and Janzen were classmates in Florence; he also coached Weathersbee’s children.

“It’s great,” Janzen said about the hat, which is made up of fall colors such as dark green and rusty orange.

Weathersbee said Phoebe is trading canned goods for the hat, but usually she does not accept payments for the hats unless it’s to reimburse her for yarn and shipping costs.

“It’s something I like to do,” Weathersbee said. “It’s not something I want to do to make money.”

Her favorite part about crocheting hats is imaging those she’s making them for wearing them.

“It’s a delight to make something for someone and imaging them wearing it and seeing that little sunshine it brings to someone’s life,” she said.

Weathersbee is considering taking her hats and turning it into a non-profit for people who need the warmth in their lives.

“It’s fun to do and be able to brighten people’s lives a bit,” she said. “The hats don’t take long to make.”

She has come up with the perfect name for her organization, not just because the hats bring cheer, but also for the bright colored yarn, she enjoys using.

“I would call it ‘Hats of Many Colors’.’’ she said. “It would also be a reference to Joseph and his multicolored coat from the Bible.”

She said if she were to create an organization, she would recruit people like her that enjoy crocheting and want to help people in need. They would also be able to produce hats when Weathersbee could not because of muscle pain.

Weathersbee suffers from fibromyalgia, diabetes, and panniculitis, which produce excruciating pain in her hand muscles.

“Some days it’s excruciating to even have the yarn rub against my hand,” she said. “So I do what I can when I can and take every day as it comes. Good days are a gift. Crocheting helps me mentally and helps work the light pain out of my stiff hands.”

Weathersbee said she also enjoys creating hats for her family, especially her 3-year-old granddaughter who lives with her.

“She’s my model,” Weathersbee. “She has a hat for every day of the week and most times when I’m making a new hat she says, ‘Grandma, I think I need a hat like that’.”

Her favorite hat is a Duck Dynasty-inspired camouflage hat she created for her grandson.

“It has a gray beard attached to it,” she said. “He really loves it and looks so cute in it.”

She also used to create threaded crochet pictures, christening outfits, and other items for church charity auctions, including Valley United Methodist Church in Marion.

“I can’t do a lot of that stuff anymore because it hurts so much to do,” she said. “With hats the yarn is bigger and easier to work with and it still allows me to do what I love.”

 

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